Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Writing proverb

I came across this lovely Chinese proverb today:

I hear and I forget;
I see and I remember;
I write and I understand.

Not only does it sum up one of the fascinating concepts of writing - that the more you write about something, the more you get to grips with its complexities - but it also emphasises the differences in learning methods between China and the west. According to my tai chi tutor, in the west we're very dependent on hearing - on a teacher explaining something to us. But in China most learning takes the form of 'watch me, copy me', which is very sight-based, and there's much less explanation. Presumably the Chinese find it harder to remember something that they've only heard, not seen, whereas we find it harder to learn something we've watched.

In other news, I was Very Peeved this morning when the cashier in the building society asked me if I was at least five years older than I actually am. I know she was trying to save me money but ouch! I've always looked younger than my age and honestly thought I still did but she obviously thought not. I'm reaching for the face cream as I type, and busy booking appointments at hairdresser for new hair style and opticians for new specs. Vain? Me?

And wasn't yesterday the Official Gloomiest Day of the Year, or some such? I know a few years ago someone worked out that there was one Monday towards the end of January when Christmas and New Year were a distant memory, the weather was crap, the days were still short, and the next holiday seemed like a lifetime away. If so, yesterday certainly made the grade!

1 comment:

Bill Kirton said...

Thanks for the proverb, Fiona. It illustrates very neatly a point I always make to students about their writing - until you can write a thought down or at least articulate it, you don't really understand it.

Interestingly, I've dealt with quite a few Chinese students and one of the things I noticed about them was that their natural tendency to, as you say, 'watch me, copy me' tends to make them reluctant to offer opinions of their own because I was the 'teacher' and therefore I knew more than they did. It was hard work convincing them that their own views were legitimate.