LEARNING EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Ancient Wisdom - A Teaching Story - Teaching a Donkey How to Read
Dear Reader, here is one of my favourite teaching stories:
TEACHING A DONKEY HOW TO READ
A wise man, a renowned teacher, once publicly vowed that he would eradicate illiteracy and he would teach everyone to read.
Some mischievous boys brought a donkey to the teacher and asked him if he could teach the donkey to read.
The wise teacher stunned the students by taking up the challenge and said, “Give me the donkey for a month and I will teach it to read.”
The teacher went home and began to train his donkey to read.
At first he put the donkey into the stable and gave him no food for some days.
Then he found a thick book and put some food between the pages.
In the beginning the teacher turned the pages and gave the donkey the food between the pages.
After a while the donkey learnt to turn the pages with his tongue to find and eat the food by itself.
Each time when the donkey finished the book and found no more food between the pages it would bray: “Eee aah... Eee aah...Eee aah...”
Then the teacher would reward the donkey with some food.
Three days before the one month period was over the teacher stopped feeding the donkey.
For three full days he did not feed the donkey.
The poor starved and famished donkey, after fasting for three days without a morsel of food, was voraciously hungry.
On the fateful day when the whole school assembled to see the miracle of the donkey reading.
The wise teacher brought the ravenously hungry donkey onto the stage.
He asked for a big book and put it in front of the donkey.
The hungry donkey turned the first page of the book with its tongue and when it could not find any food the donkey brayed: “Eee aah... Eee aah...”
Then the donkey turned one more page, and again not finding any food, it cried: “Eee aah... Eee aah...”
The famished donkey kept turning the pages of the book one by one with its tongue and when it could not find any food between the pages its braying grew louder and louder and soon the hapless donkey was turning the pages and shrieking in a loud voice: “Eee aah... Eee aah...” till it reached a crescendo.
Proud of his achievement the wise teacher gave a said to the gathering: “You all have seen that the donkey has turned the pages of the book and he read it.”
One of the naughty students asked: “But we could not understand anything.”
The wise teacher replied: “Of course you could not understand what the donkey said because it was in donkey language. If you want to understand what the donkey speaks you have to learn donkey language. Come to me for tuition in the evening. I will teach you donkey language.”
Moral of the Story:
If you want to communicate with a “donkey”, you have to learn “donkey language”.
When you communicate, for every message there is a sender and a receiver. For example, when you talk to the donkey, you are the sender and the donkey is the receiver, and when the donkey talks to you the donkey becomes the sender and you become the receiver. The sender and the receiver will perceive, experience, and interpret things differently. You cannot take for granted that the receiver will perceive the message the same way as the sender intended it. That is why for effective communication, it is important that the sender and the receiver “speak the same language” and understand each other.
I always remember this story while “talking” to my pet dog Sherry. In fact, not only have I learnt her “dog language” but I have taught her my “human language” too. This helps us communicate effectively. Yes, I will tell you how to do it sometime later in my blog.