(Image:There were an unbelievable amount of holes just like this all throughout the building. We scraped all of them back and patched them. There's an art to making them blend in.)
Clearly I'm not a parent or a teacher because any parent/teacher reading this will think this is the most obvious learning ever.
So... It turns out, if you give a task to someone who has never done that task before, you need to do at least two things.
ONE: Show them how to do it.
Just describing it isn't good enough. You actually need to model it for them. You literally physically show them how it's done. Then watch them try the activity and correct them until everyone is satisfied with the quality.
TWO: Inspect their work after it's done and provide feedback
When they say it's done, don't just just take their word for it. Go and inspect their work. Take a critical look and let them know where it needs further work. Take it a step further and explain to them what you're looking for when inspecting their work... hopefully it's the same as what you said before they started. Bonus points if you can have them show how it's up to your standard.
I tried skipping these steps, and it doesn't work. I tried just doing step two, and all it does is result in frustration for everyone. I've found that if I spend extra time on step one, the job actually goes faster and step two is very, very easy.
The scary part is when you've spent a significant amount of time on step one and they're still not up to your standard. That's when decision time comes in: Spend more time training (either from you or someone else)? Lower your standard? Have someone else do it? These are not easy questions.