Teachable Moments

For the past few days, I’ve read the term “teachable moment” several times on various articles online. It’s a fairly old concept in education theory but a very new one for me even if I’ve worked for education advocacy projects before. I’m not sure if it’s wholly the same with “learning moment”, but I prefer the term “teachable moment” because it sounds so much wiser and full of hope, at least for me.

“Teachable moment” is a concept that was popularized by Robert Havighurst, a professor, educator and physicist. It refers to those opportunities wherein  learning about something becomes easy.

We have so many “teachable moments” in life, and we should take advantage of those opportunities so we can reflect and learn about life, or help others in doing so.  Some of the best teachable moments I’ve had occurred outside the formal school setting.

This is important for managers and anyone whose means of living involves leading people. A few years back, my bosses  and older workmates took opportunities like meetings and long drives home as teachable moments. As we were about to take our seats for a meeting in a restaurant, one boss taught me the prescribed seating arrangement when going on dates. Another boss told me the importance of having savings early as we discussed my future goals. An older workmate told me that when I marry, my husband and I should consider buying a home first before buying a vehicle, when I hitched with him for a ride home. It has been years since I’ve heard all those, and the lessons stayed with me. I thank all of them for the lessons they taught me.

As leaders, you can take meetings and activities like conventions, symposia and project activations as opportunities to share lessons to your team. You can also take certain moments like the ones I shared above to share other non-work yet useful lessons in life.

Couples should also view certain experiences like big arguments or external challenges (such as a family or work-related problem, or even something as trivial as getting lost in the parking lot) as teachable moments to make themselves wiser and their relationships stronger.

This is most important for parents and elder siblings out there, who double as mentors to their kin. Kids are inquisitive, so parents and elder siblings can take the moment and enlighten them even on  issues like sex and sexuality, war and conflicts, crimes and safety using age-appropriate language.

Thanks for sharing your time with me by reading my post! How about you? Is there any particular teachable moment you can remember that you would want to share?


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2 responses to “Teachable Moments

  1. This is the first time I’ve read something about “Teachable Moments” and it is pretty nice I should say. I think each and everyone’s “teachable meter” varies, I mean, I bet other people would not take a comedy tv series as something educational even if it is over-flowing with satire and all. I myself love analyzing Adventure Time, they got a full load of life symbolism flying in all of their episodes!



  2. Hi Rhea,

    Thanks for the compliment. =) You’re right in saying that “teachability” varies from person to person. =) Incidentally, satire is very, very timely for us from the Philippines now. I think education and society’s character (liberal, conservative, or a mix of both) helps in forming a person’s “teachability” or “teachable meter”.

    I also like watching Adventure Time – I marvel at how they could think of and execute such original and sometimes mind-boggling episodes. I also love how it looks. One of the episodes I watched recently (the one with Finn and Jake going into some Thief Town) really struck me. It reminded me so much of our politics.


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