(Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Discussions relating to the classical guitar which don't fit elsewhere.
Jussi
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:26 pm
Location: Devon, UK

(Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by Jussi » Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:38 pm

Hello!

Not really sure if this is a question, but here’s something I’ve noticed which some of you may have come across. Firstly, I’m not a music teacher, just an enthusiast! But I am an avid learner, and I suspect I’m good company here on that front. As such, when I come across some idea about music (perhaps from my teacher or from elsewhere) the way I tend to understand and digest it is to re-explain it to myself in a way that makes sense of it to me, essentially to repeatedly teach it to myself in as many ways as I can think of. I find this a really useful method to help me retain and contextualise new ideas (it’s related to a notion that’s often attributed to Einstein, I’ve no idea if he actually said it, that you haven’t really understood something unless you could explain it to your grandmother. Though I’m sure my grandmother’s very grateful that I’ve not taken this too literally…).

The trouble comes when I’m speaking to others (other musicians in particular) and I find that many concepts are ‘stored’ in my brain so to speak in a sort of pedagogical tone and sometimes it's hard to avoid expressing them in that same tone. I see this as a problem on two fronts: one is simply social, this teacher-ly way of speaking can come across in the wrong way in a casual conversation, I don’t want to be that guy giving the rather tiresome impression of a lecture rather than a chat. I think (hope!) that I usually manage to avoid that though.

The second is a little more concerning, that speaking in a pedagogical way gives the impression of great confidence in what I’m saying, when in fact I may be quite unsure and the seeming certainty is just an artefact of the language I’ve used to encode a concept for myself. I’m sure I’ve fallen afoul of that when responding to people on here.

I’m mostly able to navigate these differences without any problem, I just catch myself from time to time and try to put it right. It’s just something that I’ve noticed and might apply to others who spend a lot of time learning and studying things (or teaching for that matter), like you good folks! Any thoughts on bridging that gap between useful pedagogical language and appropriate humility? My background is in science where the language of uncertainty is a more prominent part of the ‘dialect’, but when it comes to music, as I mentioned, my working solution is just to be aware of it and try to catch myself.

Cheers,
Jussi

musicbyandy

Re: (Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by musicbyandy » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:27 pm

Jussi wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:38 pm
Hello!

Any thoughts on bridging that gap between useful pedagogical language and appropriate humility?
I would say that I regularly fail to bridge this gap and others have told me that this failure is a principle reason why I don't have any social contact apart from work, these message boards and other message boards like this one. Others have suggested that I seek professional help. You could seek professional help.

Lovemyguitar
Posts: 3493
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:50 pm
Location: Canada

Re: (Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by Lovemyguitar » Tue Feb 12, 2019 6:29 pm

Jussi wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:38 pm
...Any thoughts on bridging that gap between useful pedagogical language and appropriate humility?...
I think that I share your tendencies when it comes to understanding things for myself and in expressing them to others, and I too, am aware that I sometimes seem to be giving "lectures" when I am telling people about something (I have also been a university teacher by profession, so it comes somewhat naturally to me to be thorough and comprehensive when I talk about and explain things to others). Perhaps simply adding qualifiers to your comments -- such as "from what I've read/heard", or "I could be wrong, but I think that....", etc., may remove some of the authoritativeness from your discussions (even if you know that you're right :wink: ).

And maybe, you shouldn't worry so much about being "that guy", because like-minded people often appreciate that sort of discussion, enjoying the depth and knowledge that another person wishes to share. If somebody just throws an idea out without any background discussion, I always want to ask them where they got the idea, and why they would think that, and if they can't explain or they clearly haven't thought about it in any depth nor do they seem to understand it in any depth, then I have no interest in hearing what they have to say. I'll take an informed lecture any day to someone pulling unsupported ideas out of thin air.

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Lawler
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Joined: Sun Mar 31, 2013 12:36 am

Re: (Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by Lawler » Tue Feb 12, 2019 8:16 pm

I think you're worrying too much.

IME people like talking to someone artistic who is passionate about what they do even if that person doesn't express it perfectly.

Jussi
Posts: 34
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:26 pm
Location: Devon, UK

Re: (Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by Jussi » Fri Feb 15, 2019 12:50 pm

Thanks for your thoughts all. Yes, no doubt I'm overthinking things! Just to be clear, I don't consider this a significant problem for myself or anyone else, I essentially see it as just a quirk of enthusiasts. Still, it's something I try to be mindful of so I thought I'd share.
Lawler, that's a nice perspective, I couldn't agree more - I know I enjoy talking to passionate people whatever their interests!
All the best,
Jussi

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Frank Nordberg
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Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 10:24 pm
Location: Bodø, Norway

Re: (Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by Frank Nordberg » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:25 pm

Jussi wrote:
Tue Feb 12, 2019 3:38 pm
I see this as a problem on two fronts: one is simply social, this teacher-ly way of speaking can come across in the wrong way in a casual conversation, I don’t want to be that guy giving the rather tiresome impression of a lecture rather than a chat.
There is one essential teacher-ly trick that won't help making it more casual of course but certainly give the conversation a positive slant: always start by talking about what's good!

This is one of several tricks good teachers use to make the student open for advice and unlike the other techniques it also works in casual conversation. You're still likely to come off as rather nerdy but in a nice way.

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Mike Atkinson
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Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2017 8:27 pm
Location: New Hampshire, USA

Re: (Avoiding) Speaking like a teacher

Post by Mike Atkinson » Fri Feb 15, 2019 6:12 pm

I'm perfectly fine with people thinking I'm a jerk.
Even if I am just trying to make myself clearly understood.
Although, it happens so much, (my degree is in music education, and I have worked my whole life as a corporate trainer), I presume that I am both a good measure of making myself clearly understood and a bit of a jerk.
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