A Great Book on Teaching

I search of good books on adult education that I feel that I found "The Book". It's perfect for teaching motion picture skills and any other skill by a knowledgeable professional with no academic training in education. The first 20 pages alone of this book are worth its price. I have added a few things that I feel apply to motion picture training.

"How to Run Seminars and Workshops" by Robert L. Jolles a "Xerox Corporation's Trainer of Trainers" A review.

Insure a good environment with no distractions. Its best if the trainees are captive.

During the first few hours trainees are getting used to the environment and may not be listening.

Use the experience that the trainees already have to attach new material to what they already know. Use examples of simpler everyday processes. Evaluating the existing skill level is difficult and there will be different levels of skill levels in the trainees.

Present your material in a logical order. Always ask yourself if you are presenting more information than is necessary to understand a point.

Only refer to material already covered and none yet to be taught. If you think you need to refer to future material you have a problem with your order of presentation. Go through your presentation and see what material is dependent upon what earlier information. Is anything missing?

Three ways to promote involvement

1.Morale: Breaks, entertainment, variety, jokes, comradeship,

2.Stimulate interest. Avoid useless or irrelevant theory. Present only what is needed to do the job.

3.Involve students in activities. Design tasks for them to perform. It will increase retention.

What people HEAR they forget. What people SEE they remember. What people DO they learn.

Tell trainees what they will gain from the training. W.I.F.M. What's in it for me.

Divide "Nice to Know" from "Need to Know". Repeat the "Need to Knows"

Get trainees to use new terms. Ask often, "What do you call that?"

Try to avoid embarrassment and surprises. Tell trainees what you expect; tests, reading assignments, to take notes or not, punctuality, house rules, how they will be graded and WHO will get their grade results.

Don't give pop quizzes. (Groan) Set up a schedule for quizzes. Explain your reasons for giving quizzes, for grades or evaluation. "So I can tell how well we are doing" is better than, "your future is dependent on this test". Avoid long, difficult quizzes that will embarrass or discourage trainees.

They have to feel they are doing well. Your enthusiasm will help motivate.

Grades are much less relevant to adults. Job success is more important.

Studies show that sight is much more effective than sound as a learning method. Make your presentations as visual as possible. Reinforce it with sound.

"If you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing."

More advanced trainees will feel that they already know the beginning material and will tune out.

Explain the benefits of "refreshing the basics and clarifying terms". "So we can all talk the same language."

Many will have skills without having learned them formally in standardized terms. They have to be brought up to speed with a "review" of the basics. A review will be better accepted than "starting at the beginning". "Let's do a review of the basics. If any of the terms I use are confusing and you want more clarification, please stop me before I kill again, ...I mean get too far ahead."

Mr. Jolles talks about dealing with Different Types of Trainees. Here are a few.

THE LONER; one who doesn't interact. If you assign seats, with name tags, friends and outgoing people will be separated and the loner will be less likely to be left alone. If you create teams to do projects, you can assign groups of 4 and the loner will always be in a "group". If roles are rotated the loner will be forced to interact.

THE QUIET ONE; who never asks questions. Don't pick on him or ask too tough or too easy questions. Ask ones he can answer. Reward him for the right answer. "Draw him out." Try to find the quiet ones before they feel left out and give up. Quiet ones usually open up in smaller groups of 4 or 5. Another reason to create small group projects.

THE AMIABLE ONE; agrees with everything you say, is eager, but is not learning much. You must teach problem solving; using different unrelated information to solve a problem. They must connect material together, not just repeat it. Also ask opinion problems that require thought to answer.

Mr. Jolles also identifies the problem trainees and explains how to handle them.

THE WHIZ KID; shows all he knows, can undermine your own credibility and not listen to what you are presenting. Tough problem solving questions can reign them in. Ask them questions about things that you know they were NOT listening to. Here is where a little embarrassment is justified.

THE CLASS ROOM, the first day.

Arrive early to get organized. Organize, assign seats with name tags, if you use them, arrange teaching aids and WAIT OUTSIDE. Let them socialize freely without your presence. Jolles even plays music. For a small group you might greet each one at the door. We as trainers don't recall our fears and emotions of our first training session.

8:00 SHOW TIME. Do "house keeping"; explain breaks, lunch, rest rooms, phones, messages, etc. "Lets get to know each other." Each one gives name, background, what you want to learn. Trainer should make notes of their wants.

See how THEIR WANTS fit into your own plan. Then explain what they are to expect. If they feel you are responding to their needs, they will be much more attentive.

Do not pass out your lesson plan until you have integrated their wants into your plan.

Make sure that you have read the course description that they have signed up to take. The write-up in the catalog may have been "tuned" to attract more trainees and not what you have proposed to teach.

If you want to know more, get this great little book.

© Copyright 1999-2004 Ron Dexter. All Rights Reserved.