Learning by watching
There are different ways to learn. The best way is probably learning by doing. You can’t learn how to cook an omelet without breaking eggs yourself.
But doing is not the only way to learn. We can also learn by listening. To a professor giving a lecture, to an expert giving a talk, or to the voice in your head when you’re reading a book (yes, I consider reading a form of listening).
A third way to learn is by watching. I don’t mean watching as in watching a TED talk (to me that falls in the category of listening), but watching as in observing.
Looking at someone else doing the thing you want to learn. Paying attention to what they are doing really well, or what they are struggling with. We can watch a skilled expert, giving instructions and demonstrating how it’s done. But we can also look at someone who is still in the process of learning. Sometimes watching a fellow student who is only a few steps ahead can be more motivating than an expert.
In the past weeks I’ve been watching my daughter learn the front and back crawl, as part of her swimming lessons. I never learned it as a kid, only the breaststroke.
Seeing my daughter doing her best to “catch the candies in the water” (as they apparently are taught by the instructor) doesn’t just make me proud, it also makes me want to jump in the pool with her!
She has inspired me to want to learn the front crawl myself. So I signed up for a 6-lesson course, which starts tomorrow. I will bring my swimming shorts, my goggles, and my good spirit. But mostly I will bring my full attention and watch how it’s done.