Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who has worked for NATO and United Nations. We got talking about learning skills and how rules of thumb which explain methods can help you in easily remembering a process to learn something. In his line of work, the method ‘See one, do one, teach one’ is used. This is a very good method to remember when you want to learn a skill yourself, and to remember when you are teaching someone else a skill.
The first part of this rule is see one. The way to read this is that when you want to learn a skill, it is good to see someone else executing the skill first. Obviously you want the other to be an expert or master in the skill.
The ’see one’ part is all about training your brain to remember what the skill is. Analyze what is going on, and why. Make notes if needed, and think up mnemonics if you can for the hard-to-remember bits. Remember to ask questions!
The next step is to get your feet wet. Simply executing the skill. Preferable under the watchful eye of the expert or master that you had been observing while ’seeing one’. In this stage it is about getting yourself used to executing the skill. In the beginning this is usually hard (depending on the skill of course), but in time the skill gets easier to execute.
The idea is that your practicing leads your subconscious to take over the execution of the skill. Once this happens, you no longer have to consciously think about all the aspects that you observed while ’seeing one’. The skill becomes natural to you.
You have truly mastered a skill when you can teach others the skill. This involves you showing and explaining the skill to others (the ’see one’ phase for your pupil). Answer all the questions your pupil has patiently.
Then it is time to let your pupil ‘do one’ for himself. Watch the process, but don’t give directions. You should only help when help is asked, and even then you must be aware not to give the answer plainly. Asking a question which allows your pupil to discover the answer themselves is a much better learning tactic.