Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wow, How, Now -- Gordon Dryden's legacy and something for every student to remember

What will you be remembered for?

I think my contribution will be this blog post (for people outside New Zealand).  "Steve McCrea?  Isn't he the teacher who wrote about Gordon Dryden?"

New Zealand has a national treasure:  Gordon Dryden.   Look at the comments in the email that I received from him.

a)  Learn touch typing (ten-finger typing).  Here's a free course
Another course          Here's another

b)  Use Wow, How, Now in presentations and you'll find success.

c)  Sing the Kaizen song.

here's the email I received from Gordon (who replied to some comments I gave him about lectures).
My comments are in red and Gordon's replies are in black

Chapter 12 of Neil Postman's book Teaching as a Subversive Activity turned me into a radical.   

My favor comment from that book.  The purpose of education is to develop a built-in crap detector

I stopped lecturing.   Fortunately, Mario Llorente persuaded me that for SOME students, a short lecture can ignite something that "learning by discovery" might not.   So I sense your rejection of the traditional lecture format and I'm with you.  

I am NOT opposed to a great lecture.  But a great lecture must now cater to the new understanding that everyone learns in a different ways.

Thus “global presenters”, such as the present writer (generally summarizing great new breakthroughs from around the world,  will get their message understood more easily if they present each point, and demonstrate every point, in a different learning and presentation style:

  • With a videoclip – to show the example.
  • With a video tutorial — to show how your audience can actually put the lesson into practice.
  • With an interactive animation or graphic.
  • With a song.
  • With a dance.
  • With a photo or painting.
  • With  a cartoon.
  • With a believable personal story.
  • Don’t write — telegraph: present information so it can be easily grasped.

That is the reason why I have found my “As easy as 1 2 3”  or “as simple as 1 2 3” model is a good format  to present and summarize great ideas: either one idea or ten:

  1. WOW:  The big new idea or concept.
  2. HOW:  A clip or graphic to show the idea in practice.
  3. NOW:  A short illustrated tutorial (How to get from now to wow) so that students can  follow it.

Let me give just one example of this concept: the Japanese Kaizen principle: how to create by making continuous improvements, one small step at a time.

My great Australian colleague, Glenn Capelli, came up with a simple Wow! to demonstrate that by music and song:

“Kaizen is a little bit, little bit,
Kaizen is a little bit, a little bit each day”
Sung to a popular children’s song.

He used it first at a weekend conference of the Western Australia Police Force.

On Monday the Commissioner of Police rang him and said: “Capelli, I’ve got to complain to you about the examples you used on Saturday.”

“But why?” said Capelli.  “Every participant filled in their evaluation form and said it was great.”

“I know,” said the Commissioner, “but how to I get the entire Perth police to stop singing that “Kaizen” song on their beat.”

Steve:   I'm going to inspire my students to learn to touch type  (I assume that you use ten fingers when you type?) so that some of them will turn into rapid-response email users like you. 

I learnt to touch –type  before I turned 16 – and soared up to 80 words a minute in two months.  It is the most useful skill I ever learned.

I hope you agree.  "Wow, How, Now" is Gordon Dryden's legacy.

A Google search revealed the following links.

  1. NENE PARK ACADEMY - Assessment: Wow-How-Now › ... › Assessment: Wow-How-Now
    Assessment: Wow-How-Now. Students have been WOW'ed by the newly introduced marking and feedback policy which is now in full swing at the school.
  2. LUXHAIR™ Interview | Featured in Beauty Launchpad
    Sep 1, 2012 – Wow, How, Now Hair! Beauty Launchpad Magazine provided its trade professional readers the exciting news of the launch of LUXHAIR™ ...
  3. NOW!!!!WOW!!!!HOW!!!!!NOW!!!!!!WOW!!!! - YouTube
    Jun 23, 2010 - Uploaded by miking193
    HOW!!!!!NOW!!!!WOW!!!!HOW!!!!!NOW!!!!!!WOW!!!! miking193. Subscribe Subscribed Unsubscribe. Loading icon ...
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  5. Hair Styles Video | Hair Extensions and Wigs: Wow, How, Now Hair ...
    VIDEO: Hair Extensions and Wigs: Wow, How, Now Hair! 5668 “Hair is like an accessory; don't look at it as an old-school wig,” says The View co-host Sherri ...
  6. And wow how now wow – Scenario by A Tribe Called Quest
    And wow how now wow. from A Tribe Called Quest (Ft. Leaders of the New School) – Scenario Lyrics on Rap Genius. Meaning. Charlie showing off his flow ...
  7. Play on Records: Wow How Now Wow How Now Brown Cow
    May 30, 2012 – I can't believe I'm on my fortieth record already. This is pretty intense, yet I'm excited that I've stayed committed to listening to my vinyl and ...
  8. And wow how now wow how now Brown cow Photos | Myspace
    Browse And wow how now wow how now Brown cow's photo albums, comment, share and tag on Myspace. Social entertainment powered by the passions of ...
  9. Verbal Ping Pong | Brian Walter
    Create surprise and interest the second you open your mouth; Reveal what you do in an engaging Wow, How, Now sequence; Connect with a dialogue instead ...

I was introduced to Wow, How, Now by Gordon.   This document can be read on   

1 comment:

  1. ummm... there's evidence that once every student has acquired a common core of knowledge (having overcome high school), they all have about the same level to understand a lecture. In such stages, learning styles become less important.

    Most of what there's in any good lecture, is the lecturer. The teacher bases upon some ethos to impact the learner's mind. If the instructor has become a center-piece, great-to-emulate image, the lecture will create the impact and generate the necessary motivation.

    If any one human being would meet the celebrity of whom one is a fan, I doubt such person would forget any point of that hypothetical conversation. When the teacher becomes the students center, then he can teach lectures whenever he feels like.

    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

    --- A comment by Mario Llorente, posted by