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Are you crazy?/Are you stupid? Flip side of the Wheaton Eco scale?  RSS feed

 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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Some thought compost.

In listening to Paul's podcasts, he's mentioned several times that if a person is more than 3-5 levels higher on the "Wheaton Eco Scale" than the person they're talking about permaculture with, that person will think they are crazy.

I have an interest in learning theory, and there's a phenomenon that often occurs when a person has a much higher level of knowledge than another person where they can't remember a time when they didn't know certain facts and therefore assume that everyone knows those facts. It can be one contributing factor towards children beginning to hate school (for those that do) because they're made to feel stupid with the "How can you not know that? Everyone knows that!"

Another bit of brain droppings, learning is memory and one way to think of memory is like a web. The more connections to a particular memory, the easier it is to retrieve because there's more ways to get to that memory. Accessing the memory more often makes a stronger thread/path to the memory. Someone who has a lot of knowledge about plants, for instance, can usually pick up new knowledge about plants relatively easily because there a lot of associated knowledge bits to attach the new memory to. Someone who doesn't is likely to make slow going of it until a point where they have enough base knowledge to attach new things to so that their learning starts accelerating.

Last bit, if you tell something to someone 3 times and they still don't get it, you probably need to break it down into simpler components.

Just some things I think about. Maybe I'm crazy...or stupid...or just plain human.
 
Deb Rebel
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You need more chocolate, and sleep.

A parallel is PBL and PBI .. partly baked logic and partly baked ideas...

no I can't remember any good ones for that right now either. Been having one of those weeks.  But it sounds logical or worse, like a good idea. When framed it sounds halfways plausible... but isn't.
 
Jarret Hynd
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Assuming you made this topic in relation to learning techniques and memory retention, I'd say that some of your assumptions are a bit too presumptuous, though I think I understand what you hinting at.

Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:I have an interest in learning theory, and there's a phenomenon that often occurs when a person has a much higher level of knowledge than another person where they can't remember a time when they didn't know certain facts and therefore assume that everyone knows those facts.

This is likely only to occur with people of "higher knowledge" who either are inexperienced at sharing their knowledge or are not around people with limited knowledge very much - they are an inexperienced teacher basically.

A counter-point to your statement would be that Teachers are generally able to understand that the audience they are addressing doesn't know certain facts and teach the lesson according to that variable. Another example would be Customer Support that troubleshoots basic problems of bewildered customers on a daily basis.  

I do agree with your premise, just not as a regularly occurring phenomenon, as I've met some employers who expected "common-sense". And when I asked how I was supposed to know what common-sense was, I was told that "everyone knows this". I still think this was more to do with them being inexperienced teachers rather than a psychological flaw in humans or learning.

Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:Someone who has a lot of knowledge about plants, for instance, can usually pick up new knowledge about plants relatively easily because there a lot of associated knowledge bits to attach the new memory to. Someone who doesn't is likely to make slow going of it until a point where they have enough base knowledge to attach new things to so that their learning starts accelerating.

I think it's more about how One correlates the knowledge being taught, plants in this case, to someone who has little or no experience on that subject. A recent example: I recently tried to explain to a mechanic how computers work internally(hardware). I compared it to a car's combustion engine, and although he didn't fully understand the process, he did pick up on much more than I expected because of being able to "web-out" from his already vast knowledge of cars.

Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:Last bit, if you tell something to someone 3 times and they still don't get it, you probably need to break it down into simpler components. 

I would say that telling someone how to do something multiple times has less impact than giving instructions once, then allowing the person to perform the task and make mistakes, and then correct the person on why the mistake occurred; this creates a more memorable learning experience. I have tried breaking things down into what I call "lowest common denominator" ideas, and yet some people still have trouble with new concepts until they actually perform the task.




 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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Deb Rebel wrote:You need more chocolate, and sleep.

Sleep would be good...and I wouldn't turn down chocolate.
 
Todd Parr
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Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:

I have an interest in learning theory, and there's a phenomenon that often occurs when a person has a much higher level of knowledge than another person where they can't remember a time when they didn't know certain facts and therefore assume that everyone knows those facts. It can be one contributing factor towards children beginning to hate school (for those that do) because they're made to feel stupid with the "How can you not know that? Everyone knows that!"


In my own experience, the people that do that usually only have a superficial "higher level of knowledge".  You see this very often in the world of IT.  People that have some basic knowledge of IT will use technical terms that they have a passing knowledge of to impress people.  If the person being "taught" has questions that begin to probe a little deeper, the "teacher" will begin to get defensive and fall into the type of verbal disrespect you are talking about.  A person that has very in-depth knowledge of a subject, any subject, can explain a concept from their area of expertise in terms easily understood by the layman, using analogies and common terms.  People don't normally get defensive if they are asked about a subject that they understand.  They get defensive if they are questioned about something that they don't understand as well they implied, largely because they don't have good answers to the questions being asked, and are about to be "exposed".
 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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Jarret Hynd wrote:This is likely only to occur with people of "higher knowledge" who either are inexperienced at sharing their knowledge or are not around people with limited knowledge very much - they are an inexperienced teacher basically.

A counter-point to your statement would be that Teachers are generally able to understand that the audience they are addressing doesn't know certain facts and teach the lesson according to that variable. Another example would be Customer Support that troubleshoots basic problems of bewildered customers on a daily basis.  

I do agree with your premise, just not as a regularly occurring phenomenon, as I've met some employers who expected "common-sense". And when I asked how I was supposed to know what common-sense was, I was told that "everyone knows this". I still think this was more to do with them being inexperienced teachers rather than a psychological flaw in humans or learning.

I probably should not have used children and school as my example, but I see this quite a bit in other arenas when people are teaching. Your point about "This is likely only to occur with people of 'higher knowledge' who either are inexperienced at sharing their knowledge or are not around people with limited knowledge very much" is a big part of it.

Jarret Hynd wrote:I think it's more about how One correlates the knowledge being taught, plants in this case, to someone who has little or no experience on that subject. A recent example: I recently tried to explain to a mechanic how computers work internally(hardware). I compared it to a car's combustion engine, and although he didn't fully understand the process, he did pick up on much more than I expected because of being able to "web-out" from his already vast knowledge of cars.

Great example! That can be a wonderful way to teach when the teacher knows enough about the person they're teaching and enough about something they have expertise in to make those correlations.

Jarret Hynd wrote:
Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:Last bit, if you tell something to someone 3 times and they still don't get it, you probably need to break it down into simpler components. 

I would say that telling someone how to do something multiple times has less impact than giving instructions once, then allowing the person to perform the task and make mistakes, and then correct the person on why the mistake occurred; this creates a more memorable learning experience. I have tried breaking things down into what I call "lowest common denominator" ideas, and yet some people still have trouble with new concepts until they actually perform the task.

I misstated that, thanks for catching it. I should have said if someone tries something unsuccessfully 3 times and they still don't get it you probably need to break it down into simpler components. The "3 times" is just a ballpark. It partly depends on how inclined the person is to continue trying until they get it right and how easily they get frustrated. Generally I believe learning is faster and easier if it's broken down into little, manageable, bite sized chunks that the person can grasp reasonably easily. Those little chunks can quickly build up and tend to not burn the learner out. Personally, I prefer make suggestions on how to improve more than point out mistakes.

Example:
A friend of mine had been trying to teach a beginner dragon squats for about 20 minutes at practice. I didn't know how to do them myself, but I had the beginner and my friend (the expert) stand side-by-side and watched both of them. I made perhaps a half dozen minor suggestions of "try this", "try this", "try this" for little improvements that brought what the beginner was doing closer to what the expert was doing and in about 5 minutes the beginner could do them. As a bonus, I think I could probably do them if my knees would oblige, just from having "taught" them because I was so focused and engaged in figuring out how to help the beginner get it. All of the "try this" suggestions were single small tweaks.
 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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Todd Parr wrote:
Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:

I have an interest in learning theory, and there's a phenomenon that often occurs when a person has a much higher level of knowledge than another person where they can't remember a time when they didn't know certain facts and therefore assume that everyone knows those facts. It can be one contributing factor towards children beginning to hate school (for those that do) because they're made to feel stupid with the "How can you not know that? Everyone knows that!"


In my own experience, the people that do that usually only have a superficial "higher level of knowledge".  You see this very often in the world of IT.  People that have some basic knowledge of IT will use technical terms that they have a passing knowledge of to impress people.  If the person being "taught" has questions that begin to probe a little deeper, the "teacher" will begin to get defensive and fall into the type of verbal disrespect you are talking about.  A person that has very in-depth knowledge of a subject, any subject, can explain a concept from their area of expertise in terms easily understood by the layman, using analogies and common terms.  People don't normally get defensive if they are asked about a subject that they understand.  They get defensive if they are questioned about something that they don't understand as well they implied, largely because they don't have good answers to the questions being asked, and are about to be "exposed".

The people I'm thinking of don't get defensive per se (frustrated yes, defensive no), they just can't understand how someone can't get something because it's so basic (to them). I know two people who have a high level of martial arts knowledge, one of them used to be an MMA coach and the other has been doing combat style martial arts since he was 7 (he's in his 50s now). They're both fine with people who have a reasonably high level of competence in martial arts, or just body movement, already but below a certain level they have problems. They've also both had many students with high levels of kinesthetic intelligence or experience that can learn from the way they teach. I've had both of them tell me a variant of "You can't break it down into little pieces. It's all one smooth motion." However, when I break it down so the students can do the bits and then put it back together into that smooth motion, the students get it. Actually, one of them has started coming around to having me help teach in these situations even though I'm no kind of expert in martial arts. I think the problem is they learned some of this stuff as children and it's so deeply ingrained that they don't know how to break it down.

I think it's like telling someone how to walk. If someone has never seen a child learn how to walk, or had to re-learn to walk after not being able to for some reason, it can be very hard for them to break it down. Also, some people seem to get hung up on the person learning doing it all correctly all at once. "Keep your eye on the ball, bend your knees slightly, keep your back straight, etc., etc., etc.). Focus on one thing at a time and I believe most learners will put the whole together faster.
 
Thyri Gullinvargr
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Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:Actually, one of them has started coming around to having me help teach in these situations even though I'm no kind of expert in martial arts.

By the way, I can only do this because I have an expert there that I can use as a template for how a move is supposed to be done. At that, I have to have them slow things waaaaaay down to be able to teach it successfully. The "coming around" part is about breaking it down, and since they have problems with that past a certain point they have me help sometimes.
 
David Livingston
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Actually I had the same issues learning some Irish Dance steps . The teachers I had were great dancers but could not break the steps down enough particularly when you are fighting gravity as well
One step I learned with my eyes closed and the knowledge that I had to finish on the left foot and it had to sound like just so,  I cannot describe it to you I just know it's "right "

David
 
Todd Parr
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Thyri Gullinvargr wrote:
The people I'm thinking of don't get defensive per se (frustrated yes, defensive no), they just can't understand how someone can't get something because it's so basic (to them). I know two people who have a high level of martial arts knowledge, one of them used to be an MMA coach and the other has been doing combat style martial arts since he was 7 (he's in his 50s now). They're both fine with people who have a reasonably high level of competence in martial arts, or just body movement, already but below a certain level they have problems. They've also both had many students with high levels of kinesthetic intelligence or experience that can learn from the way they teach. I've had both of them tell me a variant of "You can't break it down into little pieces. It's all one smooth motion." However, when I break it down so the students can do the bits and then put it back together into that smooth motion, the students get it. Actually, one of them has started coming around to having me help teach in these situations even though I'm no kind of expert in martial arts. I think the problem is they learned some of this stuff as children and it's so deeply ingrained that they don't know how to break it down.

I think it's like telling someone how to walk. If someone has never seen a child learn how to walk, or had to re-learn to walk after not being able to for some reason, it can be very hard for them to break it down. Also, some people seem to get hung up on the person learning doing it all correctly all at once. "Keep your eye on the ball, bend your knees slightly, keep your back straight, etc., etc., etc.). Focus on one thing at a time and I believe most learners will put the whole together faster.


That's a good point, and I can relate.  I trained boxing and combat sports for many years and I have seen the same thing many times.  There is a great difference between and great athlete, and a great teacher.  Some of the greatest boxing trainers in the world have never fought.  Never.  But they trained world champions how to fight.  By the same token, there are fantastic athletes that simply don't know how they do what they do.  It came naturally to them and they never really had to "learn" it.  They can't break it down, because they didn't learn it in baby steps, they learned it "all at once".  I find it all fairly fascinating.
 
Travis Johnson
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I have run into this issue before on the Permiculture aspect of things. I grew up on a farm where my Grandparents were 100% self-sufficient. Then one day as I was eating lunch at a shipyard where 2 co-workers were homesteaders and talking about livestock, one mentioned how they just learned his cows required salt in their diet. I was shocked...everyone knew that!

This was my "oh yeah moment"...no, not everyone knows this kind of stuff. I was fortunate to grow up with this, learned from a person eager to pass it on to the next-generation, and thus learned. Then the Commissioner of Agriculture in Maine challenged a group of us experienced farmers last year to share, and so my presence on this forum is to do what he asked...share what I do know.

Now when I was a welder I was asked by almost every employer to work with new employees to help them along because unlike some "teachers", I remembered where I started from. Remembered the mistakes and how I corrected them. Arrogant people make poor teachers, and that is one of the reasons why as I write my up and coming farming book, I have boxes dispersed throughout the text called FAILS. I want people to know the mistakes I made along the way so that they do not follow them! Yes it opens myself up to ridicule, and is humbling, but it also will make me a better teacher.

I am convinced that if people checked their arrogance at the door, and conveyed more honesty...including their mistakes...we would be in a much better place...in the real world and on here both.

As for theology; that is personally one area I see as being a mistake, and where we will probably always disagree. I see far too much talking about permiculture theology, and and not enough doing. It is also a reason I seldom discuss what I PLAN to do as 15 out of every 1 person will tell me why it cannot be done in 3 paragraphs and lengthy explanation. There might be some benefit to that as something might be caught that was not fully thought out, but for the most part it becomes a hindrance rather then a help. Instead I just think it through, then do it and post after the project afterwards telling my mistakes along the way.
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