I just ran across an article in the Tech Volumes from 1951. It appears right after Dianetic Auditors Bulletin Volume 2 No. 1 July 1951 Education and the Auditor and right before Dianetic Auditors Bulletin Volume 2 No. 2 August 1951 An Essay on Management. It’s on page 131 of volume 1 my 1976 red volumes. This issue is so good, that I’ve taken the time to transcribe it here, in full. My commentary follows.
If one wishes a subject to be taught with maximal effectiveness, he should
1, Present it in its most interesting form.
(a) Demonstrate its general use in life.
(b) Demonstrate it specific use to the student in life.
2. Present it in its simplest form (but not necessarily its most elementary).
(a) Gauge its terms to the understanding of the student.
(b) Use terms of greater complexity only as understanding progresses.
3. Teach it with minimal altitude (prestige).
(a) Do not assume importance merely because of a knowledge of the subject.
(b) Do not diminish the stature of the student or his own prestige because he does not know the subject.
(c) Stress that importance resides only in individual skill in using the subject and, as to the instructor, assume prestige only by the ability to use it and by no artificial caste system.
4. Present each step of the subject in its most fundamental form with minimal material derived therefrom by the instructor.
(a) Insist only upon definite knowledge of axioms and theories.
(b) Coax into action the student’s mind to derive and establish all data which can be derived or established from the axioms or theories.
(c) Apply the derivations as action insofar as the class facilities permit, coordinating data with reality.
5. Stress the values of data.
(a) Inculcate the individual necessity to evaluate axioms and theories in relative importance to each other and to question the validity of every axiom or theory.
(b) Stress the necessity of individual evaluation of every datum in its relationship to other data.
6. Form patterns of computation in the individual with regard only to their usefulness.
7. Teach where data can be found or how it can be derived, not the recording of data.
8. Be prepared, as an instructor, to learn from the students.
9. Treat subjects as variables of expanding use which may be altered at individual will. Teach the stability of knowledge as resident only in the student’s ability to apply knowledge or alter what he knows for new application.
10. Stress the right of the individual to select only what he desires to know, to use any knowledge as he wishes, that he himself owns what he has learned.
This is advice from the Master himself, someone who has taught all kinds of subjects in all kinds of environments across this planet. Listen to his lectures, and you will hear these principles in action. I can echo the above, as I’ve been called upon to teach a variety of subjects over the years, and the above advice is as solid as it gets. I’ve also, like everyone else, been a student of many subjects down through the decades. My favorite subject in school, mathematics, when taught under these dictums, was a joy to learn. Conversely, my least favorite subject in school, history, was never taught with the above in mind, and was agony to sit through.
Several points stick out and appear repeatedly throughout the above.
- Don’t assume altitude simply because you know more about the subject than the student does. This is a chronic failing of university professors. It is also, apparently, the source of professors’ need for teaching assistants. They simply can’t be bothered with the confusions of actual students.
- Teach from basic principles in such a way that the student can derive subsidiary data. The result of failure to do this is a student who can perhaps follow memorized instructions, but can’t think with the data. He also cannot adapt what he knows to suit new or changing conditions. He’s a robot or automaton on the subject, and never the master of it.
- Stress that the student owns what he knows. In our case, the data, once conveyed, doesn’t belong to LRH. It belongs to the student. It is his to use freely in life. LRH may be the Source of the data, but it belongs to the student.
If you ever wonder about my approach to this blog, or other places where you see my contributions, know that the above is what I try to do. I am in the process of teaching, particularly here. And the above is how I go about it.