We Learn By Doing What Others Say Can’t Be Done

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. Until we get our hands in the clay, there is no way a new masterpiece can be formed. All works of creation require effort by able and willing hands.

We Learn By Doing

Colleges and Universities have profited greatly from the most vulnerable: our Children. Higher “education” is big business. Literally, the focus is on the money available to these institutions via student loans. Our young people are encouraged to be Debtors before even beginning their careers and professions.

The result of all this hubris? Answer: educated idiots! We have lost what at one time not long ago was defined as “common sense.” Now, Ignorance is the norm, with a large portion of society working for Cents. Yes, that’s right, slaving — in servitude to a Banker — for pennies on the dollar.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

Benjamin Franklin (1706 – 1790)

Those are the choices: Tell, Teach, or Involve. Professors everywhere are coy to assure us they are Teachers. Of all professions, teaching is a noble cause. Yet, the matter at hand is that seldom do we find skilled Teachers in our classrooms.


Because those who can, do — and those who can’t, teach. Similar to politicians, the modern “teacher” is simply a clanging cymbal and noisy gong. In other words, ALL talk, and NO action. However, we know (for a fact) actions speak so much louder than words.

Much of our speech is a matter of semantics — the meaning of words. What is the true definition of a Teacher?

We have surveyed the Universities’ (isolated from reality) campus bubbles of propaganda to observe the clueless claiming to be professors of knowledge and wisdom. If that were true, society would abound with successful, peaceful, and happy citizens. Evidently, we’ve been sold a defective bill-of-goods.


Sometimes, at a loss for words to describe something, the exasperated will exclaim, “I’ll know it when I see it.” So, rather than attempt to define the qualities of an educator, mentor, and trainer, let’s find an individual who, by their life, practiced what they preached: Coach John Wooden.

Before he was a coach, John Wooden was a teacher. Later in life, after a successful crusade as a coach, he simply wanted to be remembered as a teacher. As a coach, what was the quality of his teaching? Answer: he won ten National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) national championships in a 12-year period as head coach for the UCLA Bruins, including a record seven in a row.

We just might learn something if we examine his teaching method. The measure of genius is the ability to make the complex, simple. For an effective Teacher, five words summarize the Steps to Success:

  • Explanation
  • Demonstration
  • Imitation
  • Correction (if necessary)
  • Repetition

Five words all ending in …ion. Let’s examine the magic of simple.

ImitationAsk Questions and Give Best Effort
Correction (if necessary)Nothing works quite right the first time!
RepetitionCreate New Habits and Muscle Memory
Wooden on Leadership

Amateurs and Professionals

Amateurs & Professionals

Amateurs practice something until they can get it right, while Professionals practice something until they can’t get it wrong. By any measure, Coach John Wooden was a master at the game of basketball and life.

So, WHY is our public educational system so dysfunctional? Same answer as to what causes most misfortune: untoward focus on power and money. Or, to simplify further and to summarize in one word: EGO.

College and university professors are so full of themselves they refuse to acknowledge (the fact) they only fulfill Step 1 of the formula for successful teaching, as presented in the table above.

Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.

We Learn By Doing

Until we get our hands in the clay, there is no way (in heck) a new masterpiece can be formed. All works of creation require effort by able and willing hands. Any notion to the contrary is more of that “bubble propaganda” and will cause more long-term grief than short-term pleasure.

We’re familiar with the expression, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop.” When the teachers in public schools fail to appropriately engage their young audiences, kids are labeled as ADHD, drugged, and shunned.

As the parent of a daughter and son, I have a story to share. Lindsey played the game and was the model of a good student. Ryan not so much. From the time he could get his hands on something, it was coming apart. He wanted and needed to understand what made it tick. And, usually, he could put it back together.

Following in the footsteps of his Grandpa Jim, many times the “thing” was better after re-creation than before. So, by the time Ryan reached 4th grade, he was simply doing what he came into this world to do — make it better.

Soon after school started, we were called into the classroom for a discussion of his misbehavior. The consensus of his teacher and the administration was that Ryan was ADHD and drugs would “fix” his condition.

I assured all stakeholders that was NOT an option. In fact, my comment was, “Engage my son in meaningful activities and you will be surprised at the results.” I’m always amused at the ignorance of Universal Principles — in this case Cause and Effect. The problem was not Ryan; the problem was EGO.

After furrowed brows and tight lips, the “educators” agreed. Ryan survived 4th grade and the teacher marveled at his “changed” demeanor and performance. Today, Lindsey and Ryan are both very successful in their adventures.

I’m not the only “wingnut” of the belief we must consider going “back to the future” with our educational theory and practice.

An Educator’s Perspective

When we play the game of Academia, we are simply going where others have gone — before. Seeking the approval and acceptance of those in authority gives credence to the false belief that others have the power to grant acknowledgment or destroy the dreams of the inspired.

Those who have matured beyond being overly concerned about what others think are the Trailblazers. They go where no one has dared go before — sometimes to places where even angels fear to tread. However, they are the ones who will make the discoveries crucial to the progress of humankind.

Safe Rut or Risky Adventure?

In other words, and by using the game of hockey as a metaphor of life, you can sit in a classroom and be told how to skate to where the puck is. Or you can get on the ice with a seasoned professional and master the art of skating to where the puck will be. The first choice is traditional and safe; the second option is unconventional and scary as heck.

Speaking of which, if you choose an adventure, brace yourself. Because, guaranteed, YOU will encounter a lifetime of terror walls and failure trenches. Resistance (terror walls) will be between you and your goal. Make it over the wall and you’re guaranteed to be met with mistakes (failure trenches) on the other side. Remember, “Nothing works quite right the first time.”

Problems are nothing more than opportunities in disguise. And if we breakdown the word “mistake” we can build dreams into reality by understanding a “mis-take” is defined as a target miss on the shots we take.

Whether a basketball player or an archer, goals and bullseyes are only possible by taking a shot. Forget the naysayers; instead, focus on YOU and your actions.

It Couldn’t Be Done

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done
But he with a chuckle replied
That “maybe it couldn’t,” but he would be one
Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
On his face. If he worried, he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it!

Somebody scoffed: “Oh, you’ll never do that;
At least no one ever has done it;”
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat
And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
There are thousands to prophesy failure,
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle in with a bit of a grin,
Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start in to sing as you tackle the thing
That “cannot be done,” and you’ll do it.

Edgar Albert Guest

Do It

Only YOU sit at the controls of your life, to idle around in the harbor or to throttle up and make some waves toward the destination of your choice.

No one else has the right or responsibility to chart a course for your life. And, guaranteed, no one else can learn the lessons important for your success. The professors with all their blather want you to believe they have the answers to life’s questions. They don’t.

In fact, great educators, mentors, and coaches are careful not to steal your learning. Instead they are disciplined to follow ALL five Steps of effective teaching.

We Learn By Doing

When the Student is ready the Teacher will appear.

My hope is YOU will just set your mind to it and DO IT!

Ben Franklin - Tell Teach Involve Me

Author: Kim Foard

My mission is to guide YOU to personal and business success, according to the vision that YOU establish for us. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.