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Show, Don’t tell

January 6, 2010

I was inspired yesterday by my 8 year old who brought home this book from the library and immediately began reading and deciphering for herself.  We have a 9 month old Golden Retriever named Cassie, who is a lovely dog, but my youngest child hadn’t been able to figure out how to connect with her.  When she brought home “How to talk to your dog”, she seemed to finally find a way to read the dog’s cues and communicate her message a bit better, way more than my typical mom nagging (“don’t do that to the dog, she doesn’t understand”).   For example, one page shows pictures of the dog’s facial expressions and explains them, another how the dog holds its tail and what it means.  My daughter has spent hours givng us a play-by-play (“Cassie is happy and confident”, “she’s feeling good”) and practising (“I am boss”).   By the way, her facial expression in the photo is anxious, according to page 15.  No surprise there!

When I saw this book, it reminded me that those of us who help people learn, should follow the same rules.  Less tell, more show.  I love people and sources that emphasize the visual element of learning and how much more powerful learning is through pictures/images alone, or contextualizing the message.  Here are some of my favorite “show-ers” that would agree!

Now, I’ve got to get working on creating more visuals, using less words.  Should I call it Mothers who don’t nag?

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