Yesterday I was a part of a training to help teachers understand interactivity. It was interesting to be in that position after writing a post about supporting reluctant teachers. I am always looking for ways to be better so I took notes to reflect and also to share with others. The list that follows is a result of that.
1. Gauge the room
Know about where each teacher feels that they stand. Also, learn what their burning questions are. This can be done easily using a tool such as Padlet. I like the idea that responses can be posted anonymously and can be categorized visually with the group. Either way, use the participant responses to drive what you do. It is their training, after all, and we need to meet their needs. I’m not saying that training only covers their responses. We will always have a “must teach” list. We just need to understand that sometimes, participants have a “must learn” list too.
2. Be Flexible & Understanding
Not every person that you train will be tech savvy, even when they think that they are. When you plan a session above beginner, you need to always plan for beginner. There will always be at least one who will struggle with navigating around the technology. Don’t get frustrated because the fact of the matter is that they showed up and that was probably a win…a HUGE one. We need to be supportive and encouraging because the worst thing that can happen is sending that teacher back to a place of fear. It is crippling. This means that you may need to slow down or re-word certain ideas. Either way, leave no teacher behind. Just a tip…If you have participants who are willing to sit beside those lost teachers to be of support, that does help. Make your training a community and it starts with YOU.
3. Remind and Model How to Save Work
It broke my heart to see a teacher, who had been taking notes using the technology, lose everything because she hit the “X” and did not save. It may seem like a no-brainer to us, but this one act may be the difference for many of your participants. It is a thing of autopilot for those that are tech-savvy to check saving features or just understanding the idea of saving. We cannot assume that people know this. Always ask.
4. Create a BackChannel or a Channel for Questions…Poll the room to choose
The parking lot is an excellent idea. However, how many times do we leave without having all questions answered. It would be nice to use twitter, but what about those who are not yet in tuned with this medium? I’ve been in sessions where todaysmeet worked brilliantly. I’ve also been in sessions where it was as quiet as a mouse. What if we asked those that we train what is easiest for them? Creating an edmodo group takes all of 2 minutes. Todaysmeet is as quick as a click of a button. Ask, explain what it is for and give learners an avenue to connect and ask more. In addition, it creates a sort of support which is great when you are training outside of your district.
5. Walk the Room and Actively Engage
Unless you are doing an informational session, it is always best to “stay in the power zone” during training. If you can walk the room, you can better gauge where learners are. You can ask and answer questions on the fly. You also become more approachable and helpful. I’m not saying to look over the shoulders of those that you are teaching but be aware of where your training needs to go. Eyes and actions will tell you whether or not participants are with you even when their voices do not. I understand that doing this can be a difficult task, but the time it takes to set up your mobility can be time saved in the end from capturing confusion as it occurs.
These were the ideas captured from my reflection. I’m quite sure that there are others and I welcome your ideas as we are all here to support each other along our journey of being better educators.