Many of you know that I like to ask questions. Doesn’t matter if it’s on the computer or face to face. If I don’t understand, I ask questions. If the answer doesn’t make sense, I ask another question. I’ll ask as many questions as needed for me to understand. Once I understand, then I can choose to agree or disagree or see how this new information fits in with whatever I think I already know. This may or may not lead to more questions. In any event, I think you get the picture.
For the first time ever, I was chastised for asking questions at a learning seminar. Another person that attended the seminar came up to me 2 days later in the security line of the airport and mentioned to me how upset they were with my questions and interuptions. It was mentioned to me that they had spent good money on this class and I had diminished it with all my questions. They said I was being deliberately antagonistic. I was shocked. I eventually apologized for how they felt and then introduced myself as I didn’t know who they were till then.
I bring this story up because there has been a consistent topic that arises online about whether or not it is professional to correct or even question another professional. In this particular case(at the seminar), there was no correcting that was needed but rather just me trying to get an understanding. It is also different than some peoples concerns because I was asking questions of the person while they were there. It wasn’t just simply a discussion of a video or an article about information presented by someone that wasn’t able to defend themselves, if needed. For some, that makes a difference and I would agree with that to a point. I try to make it a point to ask the person that presented the information if I have questions or concerns about it.
The thing that drives me is my duty. My duty as a teaching professional is to the student. My duty is not to other instructors. My duty is to the information and to try and get the most factual and accurate information I can. My duty (Our Duty) is to advance the correctness of the body of information that all golf professionals have access to so that we can all make students better. I think this duty is very important and sometimes lost amongst the image retention that is so pervasive in this industry. It is not about the teachers. It is about the students. It’s about getting right the things that are possible to get right. After that, preference abounds and that’s great but lets at least be ok with the idea that we should all work toward correct info whenever possible.
I understand that some would rather not rock the boat. I understand that it can appear disrespectful to correct another professionals information. The problem is that silence has already proven in the past to cause more problems than not.
Not too long ago, the PGA of America used to teach a set of Ball Flight Laws during its educational program that were found later to be incorrect. I know for a fact that there were people that thought this information was correct many, many years ago. Was there enough noise/questioning to bring attention to this information so that it would be studied more fully? Clearly there wasn’t enough outward questioning for at least a few years. Only recently has enough noise been made and now that information has been updated. How many students were hurt by the lack of open discussion on this one topic alone? Was it professional to not rock the boat and at the same time set back golf instruction for years? Hurt students for years? It might have been professional not to question but look at the cost.
That being said, I do also believe strongly that their is an appropriate way of advancing information when dealing with individuals. I do not believe that discussion of information should be engagement free. I believe it should be between the individuals involved and I proceed under those beliefs with my behavior. It’s one of the main reason I prefer twitter. One to one interaction. A bunch of current online friendships began with the phrase “I humbly suggest you look into this for more information……” I have tried to not be one to comment on material without the comment being directed at the person that produced the material or to the person that showed me the material.
Each of us will decide what is the correct path for each of us to take. Do we question or do we wait and see. Do we worry about being perceived as a jerk for always asking? I’ll admit that I worry about it often but apparently that hasn’t stopped me. : ) I do it because I want to know and I want my students to get the best information I have access to at that point in time. I hope you all feel the same duty as well.
If this struck a cord with you please share it and thanks for reading.