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The branch of a tree does not simply appear from thin air. It builds from a bud.
Great teachers make branches from buds. They are capable of dissecting what students already know in order to build new knowledge from the foundation of existing knowledge. They ask the right questions that promote the right discussion. Gauging the foundation, they provide the environment for upwards growth at the right pace and progression. They provide scaffolding to new knowledge and set up a future generation to take over where we left off.
The skill of scaffolding requires a personal in-depth mastery of the material, as well as the ability to manipulate and communicate it. Teachers use the feedback provided by student responses to assess what the learners know and what they do not. Individual and group learning plans develop from there.
Intuitively, the evolution of our species depends on enough teachers having this skill. If knowledge of the early telephone is not passed on through generations, we do not have mobile technology today. The world’s greatest leaps take time and are measured in steps. This is true in business, where the longest lasting companies maintain greatness over consecutive different leaders.
Leaders must either be great teachers, or surround themselves by great ones. If not, the overall strategy dies with a leader, and you know what happens next.
What scaffolding are you building?
Will your work end with you?
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