The Value in Being Concise

Remember how hard it was to fill an entire notebook page when you had that report about a President in grade school? Or the speech in high school that had to last 3 minutes! 

“What topic in academia could possibly be so interesting that I need to talk for three minutes!?” I asked my teacher Ms. Powers.

Now, in life and teaching, I can’t seem to shut up. There isn’t enough time to say (or blog) all I want to tell you!

It’s a real struggle for a teacher; because, given enough time I could explain all of the U.S. History these kids need to know. EVEN if they just arrived from Mexico last summer and speak only a little English. The problem is I only get 50 minutes per day, five days a week, and 180 days per year (many of which are consumed by testing, but I won’t get into that here).

I need to be concise!

Concise (adj.) – giving a lot of information clearly and in a few words; brief but comprehensive

I was reading blogs for a while before I started one of my own, and nothing aggravated me more than a catchy title that lured me in to reading a post the length of a book chapter (if that is you, know that if I wanted to read a book chapter I would pick up one of the 36 books I own and want to read!). But seriously, it is one reason that I have made a commitment to myself to keep my posts around 500 words.

Twitter is great because no matter what limit I put on myself, I’m only allowed 140 characters. I feel like Solomon writing Proverbs when I think of a good one!

And in teaching, obviously being concise is of utmost importance as I explained above.

However, the REAL value in being concise is not for the receiver, but for the communicator. The REAL reason I limit myself here is to challenge myself to pack a lot of punch in as few words as possible.

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it to a six-year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” Those words are a challenge to all of humanity to learn and to grow in understanding before we go spouting our mouths off.

If we cannot be concise (clear, comprehensive, and brief) while explaining a topic, then we need to go back and learn it again ourselves.



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3 responses to “The Value in Being Concise

  1. I know what you mean! I can write a twelve page research paper, no problem. Ask me to write a three page paper and it’s like you’ve asked me to do the impossible. Conciseness is something everyone needs to work on. Great post!

  2. I understand your struggles! A few years ago I realized the power of my silence. Now, I force myself to wait for responses and I keep track of who responds. The students earn participation points for correct answers or supporting their opinions. Now, I think I need to bring in a six year old to check the understanding. Thanks for the idea! Great posts!

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