My teaching style… does it work? should I change it? a comparison with other teaching modalities

learning-styles-posterSummary: In this article I examine different teaching styles in the area of spirituality, consciousness and transformation, and I explain why I teach the way I teach.

I got an email from a student of mine yesterday. I quote the whole letter in the footnotes... 1

I have been obsessing over it for the past hour or so: it feels hurtful, it feels like she says that I am wrong to teach the way I teach.

Her argument that Scientology teaches the way she suggests that I teach sounds really compelling, after all they got her to a respectable low vibration of 130... with a lot of what she says they did well. This sentence was tongue in cheek, if you haven't noticed. 130 is misery.

Her vibration is 200 now. Not very high, but she got herself off the street level hustle and bustle...

I have given a lot of thought and consideration to my teaching style. I have participated in lots of modalities, and astutely assessed their style.

Let's examine the style that the student advocates:

The Share your victories style

I don't know Scientology, they always appalled me... But I participated in Landmark Education and its forerunner, Werner Erhard and Associates for 26 years.

Every Landmark seminar starts with "sharing", meaning that you should talk about your successes. And people do. 4-5 people share in a 100 person seminar.

The rest of them feels like the ones sharing got it, and they didn't... they get into the feeling that the sharers (almost always the same 4-5 people) are special, and they are wrong in their assessment.

Sharing without acknowledging source, the source of a result, the source of a breakthrough is worse that not having had that. It is akin to sharing a mystical experience... the problem with it is that you can't duplicate it, and another person cannot follow suit. No map, because the sharer doesn't really know. It happened, it was an accident.

Learning vs. Unlearning

Teaching, real teaching, does not attempt to teach knowledge: it teaches the student to think, to evaluate, to reason, to be independent thinker. Given the environment we live in, this is more time teaching to "un-learn" than to learn... Unlearn what's comfortable, unlearn what's familiar, unlearn all the knowledge that makes them delusional about life.

It's a dance of learning and unlearning... not always graceful

People need maps, but there are not maps in the area of spirituality or consciousness. There are only signs and omens... things to stay away from, and things to strive for.

That is why I am teaching the Carrot and Stick workshop to 5-6 brave people: it works out a new technology using those two types of guides: the no's and the yes's...

If I told you that the way to get from New York to Seattle is to smell every rose on the way, you probably would never get to Seattle, and probably you'd never get out of New York State...

On the other hand, If I told you to go West, stay south of the border with Canada, but just slightly, then the chances of you getting to Seattle or darn close to it would be 100%.

West is the direction, and the border is what to stay away from, meaning: don't cross it, don't stray from it.

The first example with all the roses is the teaching method of Scientology (according to my student) and of the Landmark seminars (the courses are more like my style, but they are lead by senior leaders with more training and courage than seminar leaders).

 

the gardener style of teachingThe Gardener Style of Teaching

My style is also the style of a gardener: I mercilessly yank out weeds, even if they are pretty. Weeds are invasive species: left there they took over the field and kill what you wanted to grow. And so are your unproductive habits of thinking and behavior that keep you miserable.

If you can't take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, I say... this is not for everyone. Surgery requires the surgeon to be more committed to your well-being than to your comfort in the moment.

the teaching style like a surgeonThat is to say: my teaching style is also the style of the surgeon.

The teaching style of a Landmark Seminar, and a Scientology group is caressing your cancerous growth... so you feel better about it.

I said no to my student. Just now...

By the way, sharing your result is a valid move, and I want you to do it. But only if you are willing to be helped figure out what was the source of the result. And that can be painful... because most results you have are probably not more significant than you found a nice smelling rose... but you are still in New York State.

My upsight: what did I learn from this incident?

Now, back to the beginning: I was killing myself over this email... I felt doomed, and hurt. Then I decided to look at that whole scenario from the Witness perspective: so I went outside of myself, and looked... What I saw was a person who was looking like a beaten dog, tails between her legs... and maybe even making high pitch complaining noises. It was funny as hell, given that I saw that the source of the distress was some words... ha-ha, very funny. I also saw/heard that the mind says: "you need to do something about it! If you don't, then this is how the rest of life will look! you are doomed forever!" Now, that was even funnier than the look of the scene... Yeah, the mind always says that every moment thereon will be the same, always. And it's never true. The student may snap out of it, or not, but I am not doomed, unless I decide to be doomed...

Great upsight. Got me right out of the misery, and the anger, and the indignation, and the how dare you, and the "why don't YOU lead this class if you are so smart..." reactive move. I laughed and wrote this article. To the point, no drama, not a rebuttal, though the words on her vibration may sound like a stab... it isn't. They are facts and they are there to illustrate something.

Your opinions are welcome, please comment below.

Notice: If you send me an email, you risk it being published and analyzed in front of thousands of readers: without your name, of course. Or you can send me money and I'll read and maybe even answer your email... You've been warned... lol

Footnotes

  1. Sophie -

    Would you consider trying a one-day-a-week separate new experimental coaching class in which you assume the best about the students and encourage them to keep working hard and acknowledge the improvements you see in them and give them a little time once in a while to tell the improvements they see in themselves? (a class that) doesn't use abusing, berating, insulting and assuming the worst about the students?

    As I envision it, the new experimental class would be as meaty as the current coaching calls are. And the fact that it would be acknowledging the things that are right about the students doesn't mean it would be a wimpy, let-them-get-away-with-anything class. Like you do with the current coaching, in the experimental class you would demand that students be on time and do the work and be prepared if they want to stay in the class.

    teaching-stylesAdvantages of trying the experimental coaching class along with continuing the current coaching classes:
    (1) You could compare the actual results and know for sure which approach gets the best results.
    (2) You might attract and keep more students with the experimental approach, which will give the world more chances of having people who are becoming expanding human beings.
    (3) It will be a different challenge for you and give you more opportunities to work on your Soul Correction and practice your new capacities.
    (4) From my own personal viewpoint, I would love being in the experimental class. I worked hard and made huge gains in Scientology and its approach is more like the experimental class approach so I know that approach works for me.

    I haven't been around your teachings long, but from listening to past class recordings, it appears that you had about 40 to 50 active students a couple years ago but only about 10 active students now. Maybe it's time to try a few experiments to reverse the tide?

    What do you think?

    Thank you -

    More: If you aren't able to see any improvements in your students to acknowledge, then I guess you could listen to the improvements they share in the class and acknowledge them for those. But I know you've coached a lot of people over many years and, from my experience with you, you get results, so I think you have seen many things your students could be acknowledged for.

    I know from my own experience there have been coaching sessions you've done that are like the experimental approach I describe. Especially when the student is confronting something that's extremely painful for them.

Author: Sophie Benshitta Maven

award winning architect, magazine publisher, transformational and spiritual coach and teacher, self declared Avatar

2 thoughts on “My teaching style… does it work? should I change it? a comparison with other teaching modalities”

  1. While I was reading this post, I got a hilarious picture of me trying to lead one of your coaching sessions: “OK now, everyone gather around in a circle and join hands and let’s sing Kumbaya” 🙂

  2. Sophie, you know I have complained a lot in the recent past about your teaching style and other related issues. My advice is: don’t take any advice. Your teaching method is truly holistic, and it takes some time for people to really see how you work and where you are coming from. Those who are easily offended and super-sensitive may not have what it takes to make the journey with you.

    Reformed Sissy

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