DRMacIver's Notebook

Everything is a teachable moment

Everything is a teachable moment

Previously I have written blog posts about:

Except that's not what any of these are about.

They're actually about:

Each of them are of course about both these things: Something happened, and by looking at what happened you can learn something generalisable about it.

Typically of course, you don't actually see a single thing and get the general insight, you acquire the general insight after seeing many different things, but often a specific example is exactly what you need to explain the point, possibly to someone else, possibly to yourself.

The important feature of these generalisations is that by doing this you learn beyond the specific circumstances you encounter and experience the world richly, letting you draw on your past experience more effectively in novel situations.

One way of looking at mathematics is that it's about taking a look at an argument and paring it down to its bare essentials and generalising it. Trying to take something hyper specific and turn it into a simple reusable principle that can be applied, by asking what about the problem actually matters.

Our interactions with the world are like this too. Everything is a teachable moment, all you have to do is look at it through the right lens and use it to teach something.