Thursday, May 13, 2010

Scream for your supper.

I recently taught a class for our department entitled "Adult Learning". The class was a part of a week long course called "General Instructor School" and is required before anyone can present official teaching for the department.

"Adult learning" is supposed to provide some of the theory behind how adults learn, generational differences in learning, basic communication theory, and so forth. If it sounds interesting to you, then there is probably something wrong with you.

I was given four hours, from 1pm to 5pm, to present the provided material. Nothing like the after lunch time slot to present some of the most compelling material around. But, I think I made it work.

I got the critiques from the course, and most of the students agreed that I not only made it work, they were glad that I was selected to teach this topic. Oh, except for one. One person let me know that they couldn't stand my style, thought I didn't take the subject matter serious enough and was thoroughly distracted by my presentation making it so they couldn't learn anything.

Well, thanks for having me. I did notice that their handwriting slanted to the left. Doesn't that indicate an angry person? Or, maybe they were just angry that they had to sit through my class.

I did get some useful criticisms, pointing out some mannerisms and habits that could stand to be cleaned up before I present again. You have to appreciate people that will give useful criticisms. Even more than those that just mark the reviews as being outstanding and then don't say what you did that was either good or bad.

In addition to the provided course material, I did try to drive in the point that telling does not equal teaching. Too many times, I have seen people get up and say something and expect that that is the same as teaching someone a concept. I totally disagree.

I also let them know that I thought Powerpoint™ does not equal teaching. As the saying goes, Power Corrupts, Powerpoint™ Corrupts Absolutely. I compared it to the Wilhelm Scream, which is a great effect, but is so overused that it can lose it's effectiveness.

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