Learning and Teaching
Having a couple kids around, I spend a lot of time being a parent and some time thinking about being a parent. While in general having been a kid is of limited use, occasionally I remember bits and pieces of my childhood to good effect. Teaching new concepts and skills is one area where it is real hard to find the right balance between showing and guiding. I am reminded of my dad's attempt to teach me how to drive, and his initial approach just to let me discover the physics of driving on my own. After taking me out into the middle of nowhere (where another car was only seen once every ten or fifteen minutes), he handed the car over to me and we got moving down the road. He then decided to let me make a turn.
"How slow do I need to go to make the turn?" I asked.
"Just make the turn and see," he suggested.
I'm not sure what he was thinking I would do, but I decided to see if a toyota pickup could make a hard right turn at about 40MPH. Needless to say this was not a smooth maneuver. Luckily there was flat level dirt beyond the other side of the road so I was eventually able to get the truck back on pavement without incident.
After re-calibrating my leeway, I was able to get further information in response to my questions and I managed to pass my driving test a couple of years later without any serious damage to the truck. (All the damage I inflicted to the truck came later on after I got my license.