“I don’t know why you’d need 5 steps for something so small and so common sense as packing a box. If I were going to teach it, I’d just say “now I’m going to show you how to pack a box”. I’d show you and expect you to get it. At the first mistake It’s on you for not paying attention, because I’ve done my part by showing you. If you don’t care you are better off gone. I don’t need you anyhow – everyone is replaceable. I’ll just find one else.” From a business owner I know.
This attitude among those who teach anything is why learning is so embarrassing for most adults. In fact, this person is not a teacher, but a show-off who diminishes those he teaches. Adults should not have to be subjected to this nonsense. – From a trainer I worked with.
The best course design can be ruined by the following general barriers to learning. I invite you to look at the barriers that you may be putting on your learners. When you use any of the following teaching strategies, either intentionally or unintentionally, you make it more difficult for your participants learn from you. These strategies take the joy out of learning for your students, be they 20 years old or 80 years old. Not only do they take the joy away, they decrease the learner retention and interest. They convince your student that they are the problem because they just can’t get what you are asking them for. No course design will compensate for your attitude towards your students, however the course design I will teach you will put you and them on an equal footing, sharing power will increase the learning 10 fold.
Ultimately, it is not what you teach, but how you teach.
As Teachers and Trainers:
When you don’t acknowledge your learner’s successes you make them feel that they are not good enough.
When you don’t reward your learners for trying something new you discourage them from trying again.
When you constantly dump bucket after bucket of new information on a learner before you have indicated if what they are doing is correct, they become quickly confused and frustrated.
When you keep saying the same thing over and over with the same results, putting it up to the student to magically “get it” you make it so much harder than it needs to be.
When you offer general words rather than specific feedback, you keep learners guessing.
When you say “You should know better than that by now” you are belittling and embarrassing them.
You create stress when blame learners for not doing what you are telling them to do.
You leave your students in the dark when you are never satisfied with what they have done but have never told them the “game plan” or whole picture.
Footnote: I’m not speaking of the big things here, but of small things that make a difference. As a recent example, in computer language, CSS scares me. For those who don’t know, CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. They are the “glue that holds the pieces of a website together. In the past, whenever I’ve attempted to add to them on my own I have watched my website literally come apart. So I have some fear about them. I appreciate my IT expert because he teaches me how to do things so I can do them the next time on my own. Recently he told me to add a “container” to CSS. I looked at where he wanted me to add the container and I didn’t see a drop down or “add to” button. I asked him about it and he told me to go back and read his instructions. I did. I followed them word for word. I still didn’t see a place to add the a container. I stressed out. I felt stupid. And then I got brave. I looked at where I thought it might go and I typed in the word container. AND IT WORKED!.
There are 2 morals to this story.
When Teaching, it’s good to be precise with our words. If he had told me in the first place to go to x and write in the word container, I would have without stress. It was the word “add” rather than the word, “type” that confused me for days.
With enough instruction it is best to allow the learner to do it themselves, building not only competence but confidence as well.