Bringing Your Expertise

By Michelle Mclean

I was recently given a crash course in how to use iMovie. I wasn’t a particularly willing student but my teacher was patient, encouraging and affirming. She sensed my discomfort and gently guided me. That teacher was my eight-year-old daughter.

Creating a friendly environment for me to learn in, came naturally to her. I felt safe in her hands – safe enough to try and safe enough to fail. After a short time, we had made a little film with editing and effects that I was quite proud of!

Throughout the tutorial, my daughter maintained an attitude of exploration. She delighted in finding and figuring out new things in the app, whilst showing me the bits that she already knew. She bought her expertise without being an expert.

Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise.”

Denis Waitley – Author

I’ve observed this in other children, patiently explaining to others how something works. They do so without judgement and with an open mind. When they realise there’s something they don’t know, they delight in the discovery rather than be embarrassed at a lack of knowledge.

I think that there is a lesson here for the adults, particularly those of us with responsibility for teaching, mentoring and coaching others. When we consider ourselves an expert, we can close ourselves off from learning. Keeping a disposition of discovery can make us better learners and better teachers. – MM

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