Kit_L

Dave and Kit Coffee Shop Conversation #3

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The auspicious third episode. Please share widely! Thanks to Vi and Michael for assisting on the camera side.

https://vimeo.com/kitlaughlin/dwklcoffeeconversation3

Podcast version:

https://s3-ap-southeast-2.amazonaws.com/kl-podcasts/Dave-and-Kit-Coffee-Shop-Conversation3.mp3

Comments welcome, as always.

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I stayed up far too late looking at this latest episode and drinking fermented grape juice!  The discussion @c.5:00  included some very interesting thoughts about how to approach pupil/teacher relationship; especially for this student whose trust is seldom easily or completely given, and who often has the inner dialogue going on about staying open.

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I 'accidentally' drank a whole bottle of "fermented grape juice" of the Cab Sav variety whilst checking the edit last night - it seemed to improve the dialogue immensely. The portion ~5:00 you mention; I remember my teacher at the time saying 'K is very impressed with how open you are' and I was thinking it all sounded a bit too much like new age bullshit, and that this stretching better make me lift kettlbells and hit heavy bag better. Very amusing, in retrospect.

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I 'accidentally' drank a whole bottle of "fermented grape juice" of the Cab Sav variety whilst checking the edit last night - it seemed to improve the dialogue immensely. The portion ~5:00 you mention; I remember my teacher at the time saying 'K is very impressed with how open you are' and I was thinking it all sounded a bit too much like new age bullshit, and that this stretching better make me lift kettlbells and hit heavy bag better. Very amusing, in retrospect.

 

At the end of the day my experience is Kit  willingly shares his wisdom if you are interested in listening, if you subscribe completely or just a little bit, is up to you and anything is a start.  Perhaps he is also just a dab hand at reverse psychology too!

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especially for this student whose trust is seldom easily or completely given, and who often has the inner dialogue going on about staying open.

 

On that note. I find you a pleasure to work with. Some well thought out questions behind the rational of what I prescribe then you throw yourself into it 100% . 

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On that note. I find you a pleasure to work with. Some well thought out questions behind the rational of what I prescribe then you throw yourself into it 100% . 

 

Too nice!  Seriously, the other comment in the session I totally agree with is the value of intuition.  When I said my objective was a "Strength and mobility program to improve posterior chain recruitment and scapular/shoulder function" and you just said "OK great!" I intuited correctly we could be on the same wavelength.

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Appreciate the new release! If I can ask for one thing for the audio version (which I download and listen to), can you bring microphones closer to your faces or speak louder or make the sound of the final edit at least 50% louder. I put my iPod on 100% volume and yet i can barely hear what you are saying, and that at home in the quiet environment. I find I cannot listen to these conversations when I am out and about because the street noise almost completely covers whatever sounds I can hear in my eye phones. Thank you!!

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Downloading the podcast now; will analyse and get back to you here.

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Olga and others: please download the revised version of the podcast and report back. Cheers, KL

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Sorry, but I don't seem to be able to download anything using the new link. I tried links posted here and on the Facebook.

 

Update: got the fixed link, thanks!

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A comment about the subject of 'being a good student', which holds completely for 'being a good teacher', I feel.

 

Two key capacities are necessary: capacity to listen, and capacity to hear – these are related but different, IMO.

 

Capacity to listen means that when someone is speaking to you, you are quiet – you are not also talking. 

 

Capacity to hear means that, once you have listened to what the other person has said, your focus is on processing that information, thinking about what was said to you – you are not focussed on comparing and contrasting to what you (think you) already know. This is very similar, I would say, to Dave's requirement to 'being open' to the teaching.

 

When one is teaching, listening to your students, and hearing them, are essential. One of my favourite quotes, from Jospeh Joubert, encapsulates this perfectly – "To teach is to learn twice".

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Olga, Kit has fixed the link to the podcast (at top of this thread).

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Capacity to hear means that, once you have listened to what the other person has said, your focus is on processing that information, thinking about what was said to you – you are not focussed on comparing and contrasting to what you (think you) already know.

I would argue that the former is impossible to do without the latter. You can't understand a piece of information without being able to related to other data. In fact, I think that this connection with other data is precisely what understanding is.

Perhaps a better way to put it would be to say that you should not immediately favour your currently held opinions over the opinion presented by the teacher, try to understand why your teacher holds this opinion, and examine how this opinion relates to other opinions you or your teacher holds.

Another aspect I think is really important in learning is skepticism. Not in the "reject everything that sounds dissimilar from what you know"-sense, but in the sense that guides you to ask precisely those questions that help you understand the material better. In my classes I rarely, if ever, try to blindly accept what the teacher is saying. I'm always trying to poke holes and constructing examples where what is being explained would not work, and often seeing why my holes are not holes and my examples are faulty. If I can't see it, I'll ask, and occassionally the lecturer will have missed a condition or explanation. This interaction with the material is what drives learning for me and if I don't do it, I simply don't understand the material.

I guess that ties in with Dave's comments about being completely immersed but not completely subservient.

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Phi,

 

I do not think what you write is in contradiction to what Olivia wrote—but suggest that the process you describe yourself as engaging in as you learn does not occur at the same time as actually listening. What you describe is the 'meta-thought': the thinking about thinking that happens (IMHO) necessarily after the receipt of 'new' information, even if this is an infinitesimally short period (the Tibetans say we create about 60 new thoughts a second; having watched my own thoughts for countless hours, this seems about right)... And I put 'new' in inverted commas because if it is 'old' (in the sense I was talking about in the talk above, when your internal response is "I know that" as you hear something), again learning cannot occur.

 

I have witnessed incapacity to hear on workshops hundreds of times—these are the students whose paradigms are crashing into another paradigm as one speaks, and who literally cannot take a new (new to that receptive context) at these times—and as a result, they literally do not have the capacity to hear in that moment because the receiving mind is in rebellion. Their faces and bodies react against this; it is visible and tangible. The taking in of anything actually new cannot happen in these moments, because the listening system is in revolt.

 

Let me put this another way: cast your mind back to the last time you realised that you have had had some deeply held idea replaced by a new one—unless this replaces, or substantially enlarges the context of what you thought you knew, nothing new has been learned.

 

And this is not to argue for blind, unquestioning subservience, either—another thing the mind does continuously is be bicameral: "it it's not this, it must be that". Not true, ever (there are always more than two options); this dualism is hardwired into the mind, though, at a pre-verbal, pre-cognition level: it is literally the first movement the mind makes. No: what I am arguing for is much subtler than this (and where the Eastern perspective on the student–teacher relationship fails both the student and the teacher). I am arguing for the development of the capacity to have the mind wide open to the receipt of the genuinely new in the moment of the receipt of that information, and then this set of ideas be processed (what you describe) at a later time, explicitly. This takes self discipline—explicitly "self discipline"  requires the changing of a habit

 

This is 'capacity to hear': the deliberate suspension of the innate tendency to hear > position > contrast > compare > reject (in the favour of one's most deeply held beliefs about how the world works) so that one might learn something new. If you can't, this is sure—you will not.

 

What Olivia is talking about is an attitude, a mental orientation, to the possibility of having held beliefs overturned. What you are talking about is something different, but related, I believe. 

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Perhaps a better way to put it would be to say that you should not immediately favour your currently held opinions over the opinion presented by the teacher,

 

 

When I wrote "you are not focussed on comparing and contrasting to what you (think you) already know", the key word is 'focussed'. I'm referring to those students whose first reaction is 'but, but, but'! – the word is formed on their mouth before they have even finished listening. My point is about the intention and attitude that the student brings – a habit I've noticed in many students where they're thinking about what possible 'but' could they raise rather than hearing what the teacher says. There's no inherent problem with the 'buts', either: sometimes these questions bring out excellent teaching points. 

 

One further remark about context: I teach stretching (and Monkey Gym) classes and workshops, so – in very broad terms – instruction in how to 'do' physical things. I've observed that often (not always) it's the students who ask the 'buts' habitually who have the most difficulty with doing the work, and also feeling (absolutely key in stretching) during the doing.

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Sometimes I strikes me how 'Westernised' are the discussions here on this forum. In a culture where I live now, this conversation about what a good student or a good teacher is would have hardly taken place. The students over here are told to listen and do as they are told*.

 

My life took me across different cultures and so far it looked like that:

- growing up in the Soviet Union, as a student: Listen to teachers and do as told

- grad studies and working as junior staff in Western Europe: listen to teachers and bosses and use their input (and support), but ultimately decide for yourself what course of action to take/concepts to adopt

- last long stint of living in Asia (Hong Kong), as an (expat) boss and later a teacher: tell them precisely what to do - and to think!  :o  - because they do not want to learn to think for themselves.

 

Just to add another dimension to the discussion :D

 

*That eliminates the issue of motivating a student to do ballistic stretching every morning at specified time and in specified quantity.

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I very much enjoyed these videos, are you planning to record more?

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