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I’ve often been suspicious about what “understanding” means especially when a teenager repeatedly asserts “yes I do get it” . Somehow it’s those times I ask for echoing back just what they “get” that usually proves that the teenager did indeed “understand” and it’s those times that I don’t bother for clarification that proves they didn’t “get it” at all (or maybe it’s something to do with articulating it that makes the penny drop!).. anyway recently I was amused when I saw the penny drop over what having a “strong core” means.

For many months during training for sports and school PE the idea of “core” strength has been about. The teenagers have come home and talked about it, joked with their friends about it and have suggested a competition to get a “6 pack” (although technically these are external muscles not core muscles). I assumed that “core” was roughly “understood” – but I was wrong.

I was asked why the stomach goes in when you lie down and said it probably had something to do with your core muscles -maybe they were strong, or maybe they were weak. The teenager was straight into it: what are your core muscles? The penny had dropped!

I scratched my head over what all those months of “core” talk had really meant to them but before I could say anything they disappeared to do an Internet search to find out more. (NB I should follow up what they “understood” from that round of comprehension!)


Posted anonymously, 21st October 2016


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  • Yes, sometimes people think they understand, but don’t.

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