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November 19, 2018

Teaching and training - an affection for slower learners


If you're a slow learner, I like you. And there's no use thinking that you're fooling me - I can tell. No, I'm not a mind-reader, but I wouldn't have been successful at teaching and training if I didn't recognize it. I see you.

After I started teaching, and looking at my class, I could tell the fast learners from the slow learners. The medium learners were there, too, but there weren't very many of them. My classes always went to extremes. And of course there was another category: the non-learners - they were the ones that, no matter what, they weren't ever going to learn. They were very different from slow learners. The non-learners didn't listen, they didn't try, they often didn't even show up for class. But the slow learners were doing the most precious thing in the world: they were learning. They weren't doing it as fast as the fast learners, of course, but they were doing it. And for them I would them give everything I've got. I would spend extra time with them in the computer labs, I would create web pages just for them to help explain something.

The fast learners really didn't need much from me other than to be shown how to do something, for me to get out of the way, answer a question or two, and provide encouragement. And that gave me a lot of time to help the slow learners. And it didn't matter to me at all how slow, or quick, someone learned something, all that mattered is that they learned. And I saw it happen. It's wonderful.

Although I usually describe myself as a fast learner, I've been a slow learner. And when I've been there, I've really appreciated people who were patient with me. And I was anxious to show them that I was doing the best that I could, working hard, staying with it. And I know that it was appreciated by my teachers, and now I know why.

So here's what I say to the slow learners of the world: Bravo! Keep doing what you're doing, one step at a time. If you have setbacks, get back when you can. Learning stuff will feel very difficult to you, and you may feel stupid. But I know that you're not, and there are people like me who have a particular affection for you.

You can do this!

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