Imagine this scenario:
You spend the larger part of your one-hour lecture slowly and painstakingly explaining partial differentiation (or some other important but abstract concept you have to teach), and your students seem to get it.
Come the following week, only the 2 nerds in the front row seem to recall anything. The concept was as sticky as Teflon for everyone else.
Familiar? I’m sure most teachers have experienced this, and many of them have cracked their heads trying to concoct with stories or analogies or illustrations just to make a concept more sticky – I’ve spent countless hours doing it myself.
Well, looks like help is on the way, with the book Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
As of now, this book isn’t out yet, but you can (and should) read the introduction, which is really compelling.
The introduction talks about the 6 principles of sticky ideas (which I won’t elaborate on):
It helps that the 6 principles spell out ‘SUCCES’ – corny, but helpful – and these principals are a good gauge on how sticky the concept will be.
I like the part on the Curse of Knowledge as well:
This is the Curse of Knowledge. Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. Our knowledge has “cursed” us. And it becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we can’t readily re-create our listeners’ state of mind.
Teachers are definitely “cursed” cursed by their knowledge!
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book.