Learning and Teaching


One of the hats I wear is as a Clinical Professor of Medicine with the Department of Family Practice at the University of Saskatchewan. In this role I host final year medical students at my office for a two week rotation of teaching family medicine. Over the course of a year, I will usually have between five and eight students. It`s something I enjoy and it gives back to my profession.

I benefit as well. One of the things all doctors do and are required to do is carry out continued medical education. Our governing bodies recognize that when you teach you also learn, and accordingly, I receive learning credits for the time spent teaching these medical students.

The Saskatoon branch of His Imprint recently held their annual spring writer`s conference. A couple months ago one of the organizing committee contacted me in a bit of a desperate panic. The person in charge had stepped down and nothing had been arranged. Would I teach a workshop? After some thought and prayer, I agreed. Would I do two? (I said they were desperate!) In the end I did take both workshops and it was a great experience. I’m sure that I learned just as much if not more than those who attended.

I think it all goes to disprove the old saying, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t teach.” The path is not a divergent one. You don’t do or teach. You do both and by doing both you get better at both. Those who do learn to teach better and those who teach learn to do better.

This all came together in my mind this morning at church. Our associate pastor was speaking and he shared about how the concept of knowing was so different for the ancient Greeks and the ancient Hebrews. For the Greek, to know meant to have considered, discussed and learned about the conceptual nature of something. For the Hebrew, it meant to have experienced it. The Greek would say he knew about sailing just by having read a book, looked at pictures and discussed it. The Hebrew would only say he knew about sailing if he had actually done it.

You can learn all about something, like medicine or writing, by reading lots and studying hard. But you don’t know medicine or writing until you start to practice it. The two types of knowing come together and suddenly you are a doctor or a writer. And having obtained this knowledge you can now sharpen and enhance it even more by teaching about it.

The most important form of this knowledge in our entire lives is in our relationship with God. We can have heard about God since we were children. We can go to Sunday School every weekend. We can read books and attend classes. We can even graduate with degrees in theology and religion. But if we have not experienced God, experienced Jesus, we do not know Him. The head knowledge helps. But it is the heart knowledge that is most vital.

Why don’t you get to know Him?

You won’t be disappointed.

This entry was posted in Life, Life and Medicine, Medicine, Writing, Writing essentials. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Learning and Teaching

  1. Great post Kevin, meaningful all the way through. The workshops of Saturday were great too.

  2. Kevin,
    It was good to meet you at the His Imprint conference. I agree with what you’ve shared here. To really learn something, we have to practice it. Teaching definitely helps us figure out what we really know and where we need to go back to the drawing board.
    May we all continue to learn and grow in our walk with God so that our writing can inspire and encourage others to follow Him as well.

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