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Those who can, do; those who can't, teach. -George Bernard Shaw

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by 96tbird, Feb 22, 2014.

  1. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    A very interesting concept. Is there truth in it? In this case I tend to see much truth, repeatedly across the profession.

    The modern day literary proverb. Post up your favorites for fun and discourse.
  2. Those who can, do; those who can't, teach; those who can't teach, criticise.
  3. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007
    nobody has the ability to do both?
  4. nutdog

    nutdog when I'm a good dog they sometimes throw me a bone Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    in the dog house
    I've done and taught. Teaching is harder.
  5. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    I think it's untrue. You need a deep understanding of any subject to teach with any real affect.

    Also, teaching is it's own ability, separate from whatever subject is actually being taught.
  6. Hi.

    That's my experience as well.

    I've heard that same proverb over and over again, fortunately that hasn't been true with my teachers.

  7. "Thinking is a bluntness; skill is a mindless sharpness."

  8. Dale D Dilly

    Dale D Dilly Monster

    Jul 1, 2008
    Depends on the field and what you mean by "do." If do means the actual craft, then any good teacher is going to be fully capable of doing before they ever develop as a teacher. If "do" means making a living solely by their craft, then lots of bass teachers, for example, can't do it.

    There's a huge difference between being competent (or even brilliant) and being able to make your living doing something when it comes to the arts and entertainment. The former is about skill and hard work, the latter is largely about a set of marketing and networking skills that plenty of very talented people just don't have.

    All IMO.
  9. Unrepresented

    Unrepresented Something Borderline Offensive

    Jul 1, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Being able to teach a skill improves your own mastery of it. I improve my volleyball game every time I try and teach a new player how to do the basics.
  10. DerHoggz

    DerHoggz I like cats :| Banned

    Feb 13, 2009
    Western Pennsylvania
    Paging Tituscrow, paging Tituscrow. Dude knows his stuff, and teaches!

    I'm studying physics, I'm very good at it, and would not be able to teach it. I have a hard enough time helping others while studying.
  11. knumbskull


    Jul 28, 2007
    It's one of those sayings that's never sat right with me TBH... it hints at a certain anti-intellectual agenda. And I know people who are teachers who are incredibly capable and knowledgable :)
  12. +1
  13. I thought this saying was reserved for high school gym teachers, athletic coaches, stuff like that.

    Anyway, obviously a silly cliché and not one of Mr. Shaw's finer moments.
  14. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Not true at research universities. There it's the other way around...those on faculty CAN do...but they sometimes can't teach.

    Many people are not aware that teaching at a university requires no study or training at all in HOW to teach. They learn via OJT and some of them, frankly, should never be turned loose in a classroom. Others are wonderful, even inspirational, teachers.

    I've been at research universities for 34 years, and I've seen faculty fall into all categories. I do what I teach about, and I teach both online and face to face. But my MA and PhD both include work in Adult Education...so I have no excuse when I screw up, as I'm supposed to know what I'm doing.

    K-12 teachers? Those people are saints. They do get training in how to teach, but with all the BS agendas we've laid on them, it's a wonder they ever get a chance to deal with actual teaching. I have immense respect for K-12 teachers.
  15. 96tbird

    96tbird PLEASE STAND BY Supporting Member

    Well it's a line from a play. I doubt that it was his sentiment.

    It seems more of a case in that is how it might appear. I rephrase my OP that it SEEMS true in many cases. In reality I know it can't be true.

    This stems from my past profession where I acted in a fiduciary capacity to quite a number of teachers. No matter how I laid it out before them, they all resisted proper, generally accepted advice and guidance even though they came seeking it. Each one couldn't accept that the choices they made were actually harmful to their wealth.

    People from other professions lacked this resistance. It was all so very confusing why this should be. Every time I hear that quote my puzzlement is piqued again.
  16. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    The Shaw quote is actually a pretty lame over-generalisation, as generally bandied about. Lots of people who are good at a variety of things would never make an effective teacher. On the other hand, some of them do. And every GOOD teacher knows their stuff.

    Maybe the quote should have read "Those who can, do, and some of them also teach, with big variations in quality. Some of those who can't, teach ineffectively." But then it probably wouldn't have sounded glib or smug enough in the context for which it was written.
  17. 1958Bassman


    Oct 20, 2007
    And, according to the first professor I had in college, "...and those who can't teach, teach teachers".
  18. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Ha. I've heard that so many times. It's what I do for a living. :D
  19. Very much in agreement.
  20. ZenG


    Dec 13, 2013
    Near the fridge
    Woody Allen said that :-

    "Those who can :do, those that can't:teach, those that can't teach, teach gym."

    I think there is a modicum of truth to it....how many times have you seen where a person started out in something with high aspirations.....then failed to achieve their goals....then decided to teach it instead.

    But it's a bit of a blanket statement........there's lots of people out there that DID make it as pros....and then later decided to teach the up-and -comers with great success.

    On the other hand I dislike teachers who strictly focus
    on perceived "correctness" in the creative arts.

    This goes for critics too.........anybody can criticize.....and they do.

    If the world had listened to all the "correctness" critics....half of the world's great works would never have seen the light of day.