The Teacher Tip

Don Graves Monday: Friends Who Disagree

March 13, 2017

Adapted from Teaching Day By Day by Donald Graves


Rob, my psychiatrist friend, is interested in everything from computers, quantum physics, cycling, and Eastern religions to cosmology. Everyone needs a good friend who is sincerely interested in learning yet isn’t afraid to ask demanding questions.

One day, as we walked up a road, Rob asked, “Are you enjoying the sound of authority in your voice?” I could listen back several lines and indeed my tone was, “I’m the authority on this matter.” Facts speak for themselves or they don’t. I didn’t need to add the authoritative tone.

I do the same with Rob. He frequently arranges his thinking in hierarchies from elemental predatory behaviors to considerate mentoring. The structures have been developed over many years with his clients. When I’m lost I say, “Rob, please give me an example of that. I know you can’t share data about your patients but give me a ‘for instance.’”

What we do share is a love of learning and that love allows us to challenge our ambiguities and displays of authority. Learners are not afraid to disagree and give good feedback for tone or the need for a solid example.

 To learn more about Teaching Day By Day, please click here


The Heinemann Teacher Tip app is a free download.