20

In German, in the context of knowledge transfer from one person to another (or to a group) you can say

Du hast mich gut abgeholt. (literally translated You picked me up well)

This sentence means that the "teacher" taught the subject at exactly the right level of knowledge, so the "student" was neither overwhelmed by the topic, nor did they already know everything they were taught.

So basically, if the student had 50% knowledge of a subject and the teacher started teaching at 25%, it would not fit the sentence. Neither would it fit if that teacher started teaching at 75%. I hope you understand what I mean.

How would you express this in English so that everyone understands? I know of the phrase picked up where I left off, but that doesn't fit well for the topic of one person teaching another.

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    At just the right level works in the U.S. – Richard Kayser Sep 28 '16 at 13:49
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    Can you clarify if the speaker in your sentence is the teacher or the student? Cheers – Spagirl Sep 28 '16 at 14:02
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    @FlorianPeschka Ah, I had thought it might be the other way round. In British English a teacher might congratulate a student for 'picking things up well' meaning they understood the teaching. In reverse? The student might tell the teacher that they had 'pitched it just right/at the right level'. – Spagirl Sep 28 '16 at 14:13
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    It would be primarily from the point of view of the students, but finding the right level might involve an iterative process between the students and teacher, e.g., if the teacher is inexperienced or unfamiliar with the capabilities of the students. The teacher might, in some cases, need feedback to find the right level. – Richard Kayser Sep 28 '16 at 14:32
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    @Spagirl I was short on time this morning and didn't notice your "Cheers". Cheers! Hope all is well. – Richard Kayser Sep 29 '16 at 5:48

10 Answers 10

14

You could use the word meet (in the sense of connection or joining), as in "You met me at my level."

  • I honestly feel like this is the best one. It's very simple to understand and you can use it in almost any context. All other answers are also great, but to me this is the closest translation that doesn't sound too convoluted. – Florian Peschka Sep 29 '16 at 6:37
23

I'd suggest variations on Pitch, such as the phrases Pitched it well or pitched it just right/at the right level

  1. (tr) to aim or fix (something) at a particular level, position, style, etc: if you advertise privately you may pitch the price too low.

In your example sentence it might be translated as 'you pitched the class just right for me'.

As per Kevin's comment, this would seem to be primarily a British-English usage.

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    Just as a counter point, I am a native American English speaker and I would not know for sure what you meant by "you pitched the class just right for me". I would probably guess what you meant, but it wouldn't sound natural or idiomatic to me. – Kevin Wells Sep 28 '16 at 22:08
  • Cheers Kevin. I've edited to clarify. – Spagirl Sep 29 '16 at 0:41
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    +1 Definitely the right word (from my BrE point of view). I do feel that the example sentence would be improved by adding the word level though: "you pitched the class at just the right level for me". – AndyT Sep 29 '16 at 10:31
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    @AndyT Do you know? I thought I had that in, but it was in my comment. Thanks for the input, I've edited to include. – Spagirl Sep 29 '16 at 13:03
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    @PapaPoule Since Brits apparently use it more than Americans, that it may have its origins in cricket rather than baseball, though I had assumed baseball myself originally. At any rate, Brits would be so unlikely, generally, to praise a teachers pitching of a class that I think I'll hold off on any further embellishments :) – Spagirl Sep 29 '16 at 14:45
9

I would say it was "right at my level."

You have "high level" explanations; "overviews" - like a picture of a building. You have "detailed" level, where you have the pipes and walls, such as a blueprint provides.

But when you look for an apartment, you want a floor plan of one residence. That would be "an appropriate level" of detail.

4

Following up belatedly on my initial comment on this post (no time this morning to draft an actual answer), how about at just the right level?

At just the right level means not at too high a level, so that many students don't learn anything. It also means at not too low a level, so that many students don't learn as much as they could ... and should.

One should consider at just the right level from the perspective of the students. After all, learning is about the students, not the teacher. That is, what matters is that the students, not the teacher, think the information was presented at just the right level. It wouldn't mean anything from an educational point of view for the teacher to think that all the information was presented at just the right level, only to have many, most, or all of the students strongly disagree.

Imagine surveying the students by asking them to respond to the following statement, with the possible answers being "Strongly Agree", "Somewhat Agree", "Neither Agree Nor Disagree", "Somewhat Disagree", and "Strongly Disagree": "The information in this course was presented at a level conducive to my learning the material." (NOTE: I may not have worded this statement in the best possible way; wording survey questions is tricky. I am using it solely for illustrative purposes.)

The higher the score on this statement, all other things being equal, the closer the teacher is to presenting the information at just the right level.

Of course, there will always be a distribution of responses to such a statement. For example, some students may strongly disagree, either because they considered the level too high or they considered the level too low. It's hard, if not impossible, to achieve perfection when teaching large groups, but there is still an "at just the right level" for the group as a whole.

3

It was appropriate for me [or my knowledge etc.]

I would use the adjective appropriate to describe how well a subject fits your knowledge level.

adj. Suitable for a particular person, condition, occasion, or place; fitting.

(Free Dictionary)

The dictionary's definition also uses suitable (or alternatively well-suited) which could both work.

2

In the U.S., some books, magazines, and newspapers are sometime described in terms of the comparable school grade reading level, for example one might hear "Dick and Jane is suitable to a first-grade reading level" or "USA Today is typically written at a tenth-grade reading level."

As a reference, this article from Plain Language at Work Newsletter rates several publications based on reading level.

The concept has migrated to become a bit of a tongue-in-cheek idiom. If I ask someone about a complex topic where I don't have much background, I might end by saying, "... but explain it to me at a third-grade reading level" whereas if I do have some background, I might change that to "... feel free to use a twelfth-grade reading level."

Bringing this to your case, the student could say to the teacher, "You taught me at exactly the right grade of reading level."

2

I might suggest the phrase, "in your wheelhouse."

"[I]n someone's wheelhouse" refers to something being within one's areas of competency, like command of a ship is within a ship captain's abilities.

Source.

in one’s wheelhouse, a. Baseball. (of a pitch) within the zone that is most advantageous for a batter to hit a home run. b. within one’s area of expertise or interest: There are some subjects that are in your wheelhouse and some that are not.

Source.

2

Layman's Terms

From Wikipedia:

Plain English (or layman's terms) is a style of communication that uses easy to understand, plain language with an emphasis on clarity, brevity, and avoidance of overly complex vocabulary. It is commonly used in relation to official government or business communication. The goal is to write or speak in a way that is easily understood by the target audience. It is clear and straightforward, concise, free of clichés and needless technical jargon, and appropriate to the audience's developmental or educational level and their familiarity with the topic.

1

From the world of Instructional Design we speak of performing an audience analysis and then MAPPING or MATCHING the level of the content to the audience's ability to receive and parse that content based on language skills, background and other previous learning.

"Mapping the content to the audience."

Dick, Carey & Carey: The Systematic Design of Instruction

Mager, Preparing Instructional objectives

-1

English has no equivalent, probably because students in the US and UK don't feel it's appropriate to compliment their teachers on their teaching. It would seem to suggest that such an accomplishment is abnormal, and therefore be an implicit criticism of the rest of their teaching, as well as those of their professional peers. See back-handed compliment.

However, if it's appropriate, then a reference to the tale of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" is understood in AmE (tongue-in-cheek), such as "I really appreciated your Goldilocks teaching technique on [that subject] today, Professor."

  • I don't know why the was downvoted. it is accutate: students in the us do not sat this. they ways of complementing a teacher, but this is not one of them. or at least, there is no idiomatic equivalent . – user175542 Sep 28 '16 at 23:18
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    I did not downvote, but would like to comment anyway - the question uses teacher and student merely to make it easier to understand who is who in thsi situation. This must not necessarily be a teaching context in the traditional sense. I might just as well be a buddy of yours explaining something to you. – Florian Peschka Sep 29 '16 at 6:34
  • Likewise I haven't downvoted, but I wonder if part of the reason for them is the statement that 'Goldilocks teaching' would be universally understood. For what it's worth, I've not heard 'Goldilocks' used to describe something as 'just right' in British English. (Personally I'd use Goldilocks to describe a burglar who complained about the quality of his loot. :D ) – Spagirl Sep 29 '16 at 9:41
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    @Spagirl Thanks for the feedback. Although I lived in England for 7 years, I'll take your word for it. I've used (and heard) the expression in AmE, and while it's not common, when it was used there were no questions about its meaning. – jaxter Sep 29 '16 at 17:52
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    @FlorianPeschka I don't have a ready answer for the non-teacher-student context. It might be more likely in AmE to take one of these routes: [Explainer is too verbose: Explainee says, "Whoa, too much information!" or "Boil it down for me."] [Explanation is too complex: Explainee says, "Sorry, bro, over my head," or simply waves hand up over face and top of head, implying something flying by.] [Explanation is just right: Explainee says, "Gotcha." Probably not more than that.] – jaxter Sep 29 '16 at 17:57

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