KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid

anneOh, the memories!

Yes, I know! Kiss was a rock band that began their road to fame in the mid to late 70s. They were renowned for their face paint and stage outfits. Their performances touted elaborate displays of fire breathing, blood spitting, smoking guitars, shooting rockets, levitating drums and pyrotechnics. WOW! Who doesn’t remember those shows? kiss

Now that I am finished with “memory lane,” it’s time to focus on another KISS that focuses on teaching. “Keep It Simple Stupid” (KISS) is often seen in print. What does it actually mean, and how can one use it in the educational arena?

I reminisce by going back to a simpler life I had growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky. “Simple” then did not equate to easy, but it did mean that I found pleasure in everyday things. (Notice that one of our premises for learning is also “pleasure”? How clever of us!) The pleasure in learning team is completely sold on the idea that pleasurable classroom practices are essential for learning. “Simple” in the classroom does not mean easy, but it does require that we make that environment fun or pleasurable.

woman-computer-drawing1I have been working for about an hour-and-a-half this morning to gather statistics and information for my psychology class to help drive home a point about caregiving, with a special emphasis on the father’s role in this daunting task. Okay, so I have all of this wonderful information. Will it serve the purpose I had in mind, or will only serve as a vessel for confusion?

Hmm, I may have to reconsider this. Am I really making this simple, or am I causing a derailment of the concept in general? I am by nature an “informavor.” I will spend hours sifting through information sites to help me understand a certain concept. “Google” is my middle name. How do I feel after this marathon search? Well, to be perfectly honest, I sometimes think, “Why did I do all of this? I know very little more now that when I started. All I do know is that my head is now spinning!”

Does your idea of teaching or learning revolve around making sure that students are bombarded with every morsel of information you can provide? Would it be a better learning environment if you were to specify the main facts in the subject and use simple examples to drive those points home?Einstein-simple-quote I ask this because one of my students last week referred to my stories. From some of my earlier posts, you know that I have a reputation for telling stories. The student said that no matter how many times I chase down a rabbit hole in my lecture, the examples always make the information clear.
Maybe we need to look for those obvious rabbit holes. Happy hunting!


One comment on “KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid

  1. Brian Leslie Coatney says:

    It takes some thought to decide on how many details to use. I like this post. It makes me think how sometimes, a concept needs to be delivered in its skeleton form without many details and then filled in with more support. Other times, what seems like an excess of details might be useful in getting the reader (or listener) to awaken to the forest for the trees. Yet other times, the presenter wants the reader or listener to have an interest whetted that will lead to self-searching for the details that substantiate or fail to substantiate the concept. I will say that one of the most loathsome things in education is the presenter who races through too much material and does not allow for digestion of enough of it. I flee from the mania of “I’ve got to get through all of this.”

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