Can I teach you Everything I Know?

Everything I know

Many years ago I remem­ber teach­ing a class where one attendee asked “are you going to teach us every­thing you know?” Can I teach you every­thing I know? There is quite a question.

I didn’t think much about it at the time but do recall my response was less than sat­is­fac­to­ry, caus­ing me to think about that ques­tion much over the years. I am cur­rent­ly prepar­ing a course for a client and of course the ques­tion about teach­ing every­thing I know keeps rebound­ing in my brain. Teach­ing every­thing I know is quite a chal­lenge. I have often asked myself whether it is pos­si­ble. What do you think?


Is it Possible to Teach Everything I Know?

choices-to-be-madeThe answer is sure­ly a sim­ple “no!” There are very good rea­sons the answer is no. To learn every­thing I know you must have:

  • Sim­i­lar experiences.
  • Almost iden­ti­cal knowledge.
  • The same approach to work.
  • Sim­i­lar hopes and dreams; and
  • prob­a­bly worked for the same organ­i­sa­tions I did.

It is sure­ly impos­si­ble for you to know every­thing I do, or have expe­ri­enced the same things. Besides, I will learn some­thing from the expe­ri­ence of teach­ing you. Every per­son will learn accord­ing to their past expe­ri­ences. Two peo­ple learn­ing the same mate­r­i­al will assim­i­late it very dif­fer­ent­ly.


Different Experiences, Different Goals, Common Ground

The fact that two peo­ple have dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences, dif­fer­ent desires etc. means that they will approach a com­mon prob­lem in a slight­ly dif­fer­ent way. There are few things we do in life where there is only one method to get the job done, it is like open­ing a door — the han­dle can be on the left or the right side. It may be twist­ed left or right. Each works well, but some­times the right open­ing door­way is sim­ply wrong as it blocks the path for its user.

Logic and discussionWith most process­es we per­form there are more than two ways to achieve the same result. Mary’s pref­er­ence for method A is no more or less valid than John’s pref­er­ence for method B. Because Mary and John per­form the same action dif­fer­ent­ly they have dif­fer­ent expe­ri­ences how­ev­er they will achieve the same result. Their log­ic for each course of action can­not be fault­ed either.

Because of these slight dif­fer­ences in approach it is clear­ly dif­fi­cult for me to teach you every­thing I know because you will approach spe­cif­ic prob­lems dif­fer­ent­ly than I do. This is true even though we are work­ing on com­mon goals.


Time/Space Conquers All

It stands to rea­son that it will take both time and space to teach every­thing I know. When writ­ing an arti­cle with 1,000 words it stands to rea­son that I can­not put every­thing I know about even the most pre­cise sub­ject into that sin­gle con­tri­bu­tion. The same would be true even for 10,000, or even 500,000 words to put it all into writ­ing or even two hun­dred years in which to teach it.

The same can be true of time. In bygone days when a mas­ter would take on a stu­dent and teach them over their life­time they could still not impart all their knowl­edge. This was so for Pla­to and the things he learned from Socrates, or what Pla­to passed on to his pupils through his life. Pla­to would have also learned inde­pen­dent of his master.

Peo­ple live finite lives which of course makes it impos­si­ble for me to teach any­one every­thing I know.



Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as thanks for look­ing at the ques­tion of teach­ing every­thing I know.. Images includ­ed here are from roy­al­ty free pub­lic domain image col­lec­tions, pho­tographs from Pix­abay, car­toons are cour­tesy Green Street.
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