Gettin’ Skewled

Observe and Report

This month we get to frolic in our memories of school days.  Thanks to HeadMaster Robert Davis (Blog | @SQLSoldier), we are entreated to a little detention while we figure out how we best learn.  I don’t have any idea how to learn in detention so I skipped out and headed to a more convenient place to think about learning.  I won’t share that location since I don’t want the truant officers showing up to haul me back to detention hall.

We were given a whole lot of restriction on this topic.  I am going to take a much broader approach with the topic since the topic applies to so many facets of being a SQL professional.  I will try to entreat each of the options that were listed out in the TSQL2SDAY invite by Robert Davis.

  1. How do you learn?
  2. How do you teach?
  3. What are you learning or teaching?
  4. Coup de gras post – Learn something new and Tell us about it.

I will try to answer each of these topics through one common theme with two principles “Observe and Report.”

How do you learn?

For me, learning actually comes in a lot of ways.  I think the most prevalent is through observing others.  Frankly, the term observing could be taken rather broadly or more acutely.  I think of observe more literally in the sense that I witness something and pay close attention to it.  At least I try to pay close attention.

Some times I may see something that appears like it is a good thing to know, but only witnessed it from a cursory perspective.  When that happens, I try to re-encounter the event so I can observe it more specifically.

When there is close attention to detail for such an event, it sticks just a little better.  To make the learning more permanent, one needs to practice that observation.  (It is starting to sound a little like the scientific process here.)  After I have observed such an event that requires my attention, I will try to implement it in some fashion.  Reproduce whatever it was supposed to be learned.  This will breed a higher level of consistency as well as knowledge permanence.  To bring us to the next level and internalize the learning even further, one must teach the principle or at least share it so somebody else can learn.

How do you teach?

The answer to this question is simple – It Depends.  The situation should help to determine the method.  Sometimes it may just require that a demonstration be performed.  Others may require explaining the lesson to be learned in various forms.  While yet others may require that some hands-on time be done.

I was taught that you don’t truly know the topic until you have taught it.  It is when you teach or share with somebody else that you internalize the lesson the most.  That isn’t to say that you know the topic perfectly and can answer any and all questions on the topic.

Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.  ~John Cotton Dana

As an IT professional / DBA, it is imperative that one learn all the time.  When one gives back by teaching others what s/he has learned – one learns considerable more and also becomes more respected.  The skills that pertain to being a DBA become more apparent and one is able to perform the duties associated with the job more easily.

What am I learning or teaching?

Now the questions start to get a bit harder.  It is a bit harder, in that most of what I learn professionally these days I try to share what I learn on my blog – at least what I learn professionally.  A lot of what I am learning lately is merely along the lines of troubleshooting Windows 7 to make things work as they should.  There have been quite a few nuances learned.  Now if only I could learn how to fix the USB keyboard bug in Win 7.

One of the best things I learned recently involved playtime with my children.  This is one of those things that can be learned over and over again.  It involves the little things that can help bond a relationship between parent and child.  A little game of hide and seek with one child soon turned into a rambunctious festival with my three youngest children and wife.  We played hide-n-seek for hours inside the house.  The kids were the  seekers all day and the adults hid.  It was a lot of fun and we got to teach the kids what family is about.  They enjoyed it and I hope they will do the same with their children some day.

I would also like to add that I am learning how much more important it is to Observe and Report.  These particular principles apply in so many facets of life.  Whether it be family, religion, politics or business – there is always a requirement that Observations be made and that you Report back to somebody about something.  Reporting is such a key component of everyday life and is often-times over-looked.  The method for reporting is not as important as the fact that it be done.  Reporting could be as simple as recounting a story to a friend or family member.  Reporting can often times be used as the method to teach or vice-versa.  Take the play time example I shared.  I will write that in my journal and then read some day in the future.  That will spark a memory and then I will talk with my children about it and spark a memory for them.  This story will serve as a form of report (as will the journal and blog entry now) that can be used many times over to teach this lesson.

Coup de Gras

There are learning opportunities everywhere.  A very recent reminder of this was a business lesson I just learned from the NBA.  Many may of heard of the recent backlash by the owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers concerning recent free-agent signings.  The lesson is that emotions can get the better of people in certain circumstances but we must learn to reign them in and behave professionally when in public.  Despite the belittlement and lack of integrity by one side, the other was able to maintain a good amount of integrity.

I am learning that learning is not just formalized education in a classroom or in specific settings.  There are things to be learned from all aspects of life.  This can be learned if only a little observation is used.  When you learn something, return and report what you have learned to a friend, family member, co-worker or somebody that could use it.

6 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. Great read. I agree with your last points. Learn something new, report on it. In fact share it in a blog. Everyone has something to share.

  2. Hi Jason,

    The T-SQL Tuesday logo should link to the originating blog post.

    Thanks!
    Adam

  3. Jason Brimhall says:

    I know, I had pasted the link but WordPress choked on me and I missed it. Thanks – it should be updated properly now.

  4. Gethyn Ellis says:

    Nice post, I agree learning opportunities are everywhere and we should embrace them all.

  5. […] Brimhall (@sqlrnnr): Gettin’ Skewled            …talked about how he teaches and how he […]

  6. […] the lines of my entry for TSQL Tuesday this month where I talked about the necessity to Observe and Report, I had to go back and learn how the old DTS package worked to ensure I could make it work in the […]

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