Aristotle and Our Role as Educators

It is often disparagingly said that “those who can, do and those who can’t, teach”.

While we all know of cases which unfortunately reflect this sentiment, it is however a distortion of the original quote from Aristotle, who said that “Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach”.

This is perhaps a useful reminder that all of us involved in rehabilitation, training or coaching wear the hat of an educator if we choose to really step up into our roles. Providing information and taking people through exercises is the limit for those who solely posses knowledge. However, when understanding is achieved, it is almost impossible to resist wanting to share this insight, to see the spark in someone’s eyes as they gain a new perspective, and to support the empowerment that comes as they gain tools not just for now, but for the rest of their lives.

The educator is not simply a transmitter of knowledge. To educate takes remarkable skill, as is obvious to all of us who had a teacher who inspired us, and one from whom we learned little. Passion and creativity fuel the process, as the educator strives to find new ways to light the lamps of understanding.

All of this comes with a warning though — to educate effectively we must hang our egos on the coat rack on the way in. To teach is to be humbled on a regular basis!

So today, why don’t we experiment with subtly shifting our identities and embracing our roles as educators? For some it will come naturally, and for others it may be a bit uncomfortable, but for all of us it provides an audit of our personal and professional confidence and our commitment to our clients.

JEMS Teaching Assistant Lena Sunden
illustrating the focus and engagement of educators
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