Are you the font (of all knowledge) at the front?

IMG_0022A discussion about learning styles has sparked off another train of thought about learning and the role of the facilitator. There are some questions around technical and knowledge heavy training/learning that have sprung to  mind.

  • Can you facilitate when you have to give a lot of information?
  • Does it all rely on you, knowing your stuff?
  • Is lecture/presentation the only option?

So here are some of my thoughts…..

    • Facilitate means to “make easier” so even as a lecturer, you can always make the learning easier for your learners. Use memory techniques to aid retention. Watch this short video for some ideas:
  • You need to know your stuff but you also need to know, more than that……how to inspire learners to learn more. Leave some questions unanswered and challenge them to find the answers. Get them to guess…pose thought-provoking questions. If you just talk, their minds can wander anywhere…but if you ask a question, the brain just has to look for an answer, even if it does not know it. Be wary of asking too many rhetorical questions though…that can be a  switch off…
  • To “present” new knowledge here are some alternatives to lecturing or “presenting”: book research, online research, teach back, an activity where they guess the structure/process/model from the components given, jigsaw, quiz and there are more….

For me the key thing is, that even if you have to present a lot of information….seeing yourself as the font of all knowledge puts a lot of pressure on you and no shared responsibility with the learner. Open them up to the possibility that the quality of the learning experience is down to them, you and also anyone else that supports them (manager, tutor etc).

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3 thoughts on “Are you the font (of all knowledge) at the front?

  1. leximckee says:

    Reblogged this on Metamorphosis Transformational Blog with Lex McKee and commented:
    Food for thought… good food!

  2. leximckee says:

    Love this! I remember a humorous turning point in my relationship with my partner. She asked me a question and I said, “I don’t know!” She said, “You’re supposed to know everything!”
    It was an interesting belief she had, and one that I could have had a lot of fun with, but I find that not knowing everything is massively liberating.
    As an Entertrainer (a form of trainer that believes in the power of entrainment to engage, even entertain learners), I know that how I am with a group really affects their learning. I am definitely NOT the font of all knowledge and have no wish to be (we have Auntie Google for that and Sister Wikipedia!) but I am comfortable in my own skin.
    That congruent authenticity gives me freedom to broadcast to my learners: “You are OK – right now. And you can be yourselves. And together we can learn and create something better.”
    That was a clumsy way of saying that the trainer does need a sense of presence to inspire confidence, but that presence comes from emotional intelligence not necessary subject matter expertise.

    • Yes interesting …. I think it is only when we are confident in our own skins as facilitators/trainers that we can let go and allow our learners to learn more for themselves. That is precisely when we move from training to inspiring others to learn…. I (in my humble opinion) believe that.

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