To Teach, You First Need to Understand: The Fifth Habit in Perspective

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Understand First

To Teach, You First Need to Understand: The Fifth Habit in Perspective

Roberto Castro teaches Physical Ed at Coronado International School. By the very nature of his subject matter, discipline is no doubt very important – both as a matter of class course and as something he may wish to teach his students.

But how?

Younger students are not known for their ability to sit still or follow instructions. So how can Castro get results?

By understanding first before trying to be understood.

Covey’s fifth habit teaches us that harmony in all interactions comes from taking the time to truly understand the people you are engaging with before trying to have them understand you.

For Castro, this is especially true with the smaller children, because to him there is really no way to convey meaning to them without first taking the time to see the world through their young eyes. “It’s not about making the task easier for them,” he explains, “but rather giving them a sense of consistency and trying to make it fun.”

As for the older students, understanding them is vital because they are most likely experiencing important growth as individuals, so their thought process is more complex. Castro assures that with them, understanding first helps to later convey the healthy benefits of what they are doing.

In Coronado International School, we believe in taking the time to understand first. We do not believe in reaction, but response. We teach, but we learn as well, as Castro well puts it:

“The key is to always be open to learn new things, because you learn something every day. By learning, I find new ways to communicate with my students and that makes all the difference.”

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