Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teaching - Loving It When A Plan Comes Together

Well it’s been another evening teaching session and it’s been a good one. The wife reminded me last week that for anonymity purposes especially seeing as though I’ve not asked permission from anyone that I do not divulge info that might implicate others with the experiences I’ve had. Fair enough. Should any of those who are on the course happen to come by this blog, they’ll know who I’m referring to and I’d like to think I’m not breaking confidences by the things I share here.

It’s a bit tricky at the moment getting into the momentum of the learning process again especially in the course of a working week. I’m slowly picking up some things and the class sessions have been good so far. What I’ve liked about them is how we’ve been able to share in the lessons and it’s not about monologue and just listening to the tutor drone on and on, but plenty of room for conversation and interaction and engagement with the issues. Not just from me as well but from the cool small group of people who are also on the course.

I love learning in small groups, there’s something about different personalities that stimulates interest in learning. It doesn’t always work because of some of the tensions in relationships, but when you get the right mix of people and give it time it is some of the best experiences in life.

There was quite a lot I took from tonight’s session and there’s so much I could mention here. For example how I heard the saddest thing about how the system can wreck people’s dreams. Or looking at the purpose of teaching as to whether it’s there to make a crucial difference in the lives of people or just help churn out more productive contributors to economic development. (Indeed are the two incompatible?) That topic reminded me of the first in this series of reports on the learning experience that I posted a couple of weeks back. Also remind me to blog about why I have a problem with the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.

The main thing that stuck out about today’s session that I wanted to cover in this review was the importance of having a lesson plan. Last week we were looking at aims and objectives as well as touching on teaching styles. Until this week the full force of how important it is to have an aim and a set of objectives didn’t really hit home. As we explored the issue further the whole principle of starting with the aim in mind made so much sense to me that it explained a lot more than teaching.

What particularly rang so true for me looking at some of the ingredients going into planning and wonderful teaching experiences (on both sides of the experience) is the level of preparation and flexibility in it all. It was not about getting something done to tick a box, but there was such a natural flow to the learning and it reminded me of Col. Hannibal Smith’s famous phrase in the A-Team on how he loves it when a plan comes together.

That’s how the learning deal should be for all parties concerned. The sharing of a few brief moments in time when certain elements come together and we leave having gone through something that has at least stimulated our approach to something, even if all the objectives have not been met, but something close to the aim has been realised in the journey of the learner through the session.

That takes planning – that takes the hard work of putting stuff together, but then not being too rigid about it and having that level of flexibility to roll with the punches and land a few of your own and end up having had a good fight over it all. So I raise my proverbial and indeed metaphorical hat off to those who have taught me over the years and have displayed those qualities both in the formal and informal learning area. It’s not easy at all, but for the outcomes and changed lives, it is more than worthwhile.

For His Name's Sake



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