What to Do When the Training Day is Over and the “Real Work” Begins
You’ve just completed a train-the-trainer day with lots of great information to use and new instructional strategies to experiment with. So how do you keep from falling back into traditional, lecture-based methods of instruction?
Here are 4 suggestions to boost your own confidence while you become comfortable with learner-friendly, brain-based teaching and training:
1. TAKE BABY STEPS. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” and neither are effective, exciting, memorable courses. Experiment with one idea, one instructional strategy, or one learning activity at a time until you’re comfortable with it. Then choose another one, and then another, until you can easily use a variety of ideas and activities. You won’t use them all in the same training, but now you will have lots of comfortable options to choose from each time you teach or train others.
2. INSERT THE NEW INTO THE OLD. You don’t have to change what is already working well, nor do you have to change the lesson plans, slide templates, or content that you’ve been assigned to teach. Just insert one learner-friendly, brain-based “review/revisit” activity into your lesson plan about every 10 – 20 minutes. The activity only needs to last a minute or two. Think “Pair-Share, Shout-Out, Quick-Write, Quick-Draw, Stand-Stretch-Speak, Sit-Stretch-Think” – well, you get the idea.
3. TELL THEM WHY. Give learners the brain-based reason for why you are including this different instructional strategy or learning activity. They need to know there is a logical reason for doing it, other than just having a good time. And, in telling them the “why” behind the “what” and “how,” you are mastering the brain science that you learned about.
4. GIVE YOURSELF A PAT-ON-THE-BACK. You are changing traditional, deeply-ingrained paradigms about teaching and learning. This takes time. More importantly, moving away from traditional methods of instruction takes courage – and lots of it! Kind of like swimming against an ocean current, you need to “keep on keeping on” while you explain what you’re doing to your learners, your bosses, your colleagues, and anyone interested in more effective ways of instructing others. And don’t forget to give yourself a pat-on-the-back for having the courage, discipline, and focus to do all this while also doing your job! Welcome to the “real work” of effective classroom instruction!