Not only is Rush’s “Show Me Don’t Tell Me” one of my favorite songs of all time, both in lyrics and music, but it is a motto I live by as an educator, parent and role-model. Words often don’t get the results I expect, sometimes better but more often not. That’s why I show students what I want, not tell them and vice versa.
When teaching children, I read a paragraph the way I want them to read it. I don’t tell them how I want it.
When I’m with my sons I behave (mostly), which is why they behave (mostly). Model good behavior, and sometimes let loose and model acceptable crazy behavior and they will, too. Don’t say “go crazy”, because their “crazy” and your “crazy” are different.
Don’t stop showing when teaching adults. Show them how you want an activity done, along with instructions if necessary to make it feel more academic.
I saw a subject lines in an online learning email thread that read “Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Assignment 3 Instructions”. The teacher was trying to clarify details of the assignment. Just show the student! Telling her isn’t working!
Why am I telling you all this? Good question.