Archive for January 20th, 2009

Teaching What You Know

Sharon January 20th, 2009

In Medical School, the rule of training is pretty simple.  Watch one.  Do one.  Teach one.  While this is probably something of an exaggeration when describing mastering the more intricate brain surgeries, it gets down to the fact that becoming an expert at even quite difficult things is really often a matter of simply getting down and doing it.

I think this model is probably a pretty good one for getting food storage and preservation out on the public table – ok, you’ve read me.  Maybe you’ve tried your hand at building a reserve, at canning, at making cheese or storing root vegetables.  Guess what?  There’s still another step.  Time to start teaching.

Now the simplest way to begin teaching is the person to person model – “Ok, I’m still new at it myself, but hey, I’ll teach you to make sauerkraut.”  When your friends and neighbors want to know about your new skills, you can offer to share them.  You don’t have to have mastered every intricacy, you don’t have to have it perfect.  All you have to do is know a little more than the person who is asking. 

But there’s more.  My goal is by the end of the class to put up a large number of printable handouts that can be used when you teach your own food storage and preservation classes.  Because the leadership your community needs may be yours – again, you don’t have to know everything, just enough to offer something – perhaps to help people get started with beginner food security or to introduce the concept of preserving your own to local food eaters who want to continue going through the cold or dry seasons.

The handouts will be set up and linked too later on, but I think it is important to realize that all of what we’re learning – not least me – can and should be transmitted to others on the “Read one.  Try one.  Teach one” model.  We can’t wait until each of us perfected our experience, and feels ready to teach. 

 Sharon