Because I Said So!
Most children will reach a stage where they ask one simple question, over and over again; Why?
"Betty, go brush your teeth."
"Because it’s time for bed."
"Why?" And you know how the rest of that story goes.
This might be frustrating to a parent or teacher but truly, these kids have the right idea. If you are being asked to do something, then it stands to reason that the person asking you should be able to answer that one simple question. Otherwise, you may not be sure that you should, or that you want to, do whatever they are asking you to do.
In the case of the previously mentioned child, it might be tempting to say "because I said so", hoping that, if delivered in the proper tone, it might bring the exchange to a close. However, as adult professionals, we are highly unlikely to be satisfied with an answer of "because I said so", even if it is only implied.
When teaching and learning the ins and outs of a complex software program the ‘why’ is so often just as import as the 'how'.
It might also be the case that, if the 'why' of something is explained, then one might see the logic in repeating the task, without being asked, the next time they are presented with the same scenario. In other words they might have LEARNED what needs to be done.
As an instructor for Epicor ERP I will admit that sometimes the entire and exact ‘why’ may be a little over my head. It’s possible you could hear me say something like, "when you do [this], some really cool process, written into code by some really smart developer, happens somewhere unseen and then, voila! [this] happens!". I am not a developer. I do not write code. Thankfully Epicor has many people who do that very well and so they do not have to depend on me to know these things. The good news for me is that most of my students are perfectly happy with an answer like that. They don’t have a desire to know what all the bits and bytes are doing in there, they just need to know that, in order to get this result, I need to do this process, or, if I don’t want this thing to happen then I need to do these things in a certain order.
Telling my students the story behind the steps they are doing, and showing them what the result of those steps are, is a part of my job that is most satisfying because that is when I see my teaching become their learning.
I enjoy teaching. Why? Well, one reason is because I love seeing the "ah ha" moment happen for a student. At that moment we are both successful.
Posted by Julie Slivensky, Epicor University Team