philosophy of teaching | Learning | John Dewey

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Philosophy of Training Jeff Thomas Introduction I had a moment of clarity a few months during my first job as an instructor when I was training Microsoft Word. There was a lot of material to cover with the new users, so I wrote all the topics on a chalkboard and mentioned that we would cover them through the next two days. I made a point of marking each topic with a checkmark as we finished each one. I successfully got through all the material. That should not have bee
  Philosophy of Training Je Thomas  Introduction I had a moment of clarity a few months during my rst job as an instructor when I was training Microsoft Word. There was a lot of material to coer with the new users! so I wrote all the topics on a chal board and mentioned that we would coer them through the ne#t two days. I made a point of mar ing each topic with a chec mar as we nished each one. I successfully got through all the material. That should not hae been my denition of success.I receied my student ealuations once the course concluded. While the scores indicated that the training went well! the comments belied otherwise. There were people who were frustrated at the speed with which we moed through the material $some blamed themseles%. &thers felt the speed was ne! but felt the e#ercises weren't appropriate for their position. (ome users who felt that other material should hae been included. The ealuations eectiely forced me to re)ealuate myself  . Philosophy of Training  There are three primary ta e)aways from that e#perience that are core to myphilosophy today*+% Training sessions are a safe space for discovery and discussion. ,limate building is something I'e long considered an  important component of successful training. -roc ett $/+0% mentions the importance of a 1safe space where learners can e#plore and try on dierent perspecties2 $p. 34%. Maintaining such an open! friendly enironment is deeply important to me. 5en with topics as straightforward as software functionalities! there is still trepidation and een resistance. Performing mail merges! formatting nested tables! building tables of contents 6 these are comple#! multi)step! and intimidating word functions. Proiding the time and room to allow students to be actie learners that access the software with moc documents frees them to clic around! ma e mista es! and generate errors without fear of transgression. Proiding demonstration seres as a model that they can follow and allows for 7uestions as we go throughthe material. 8ewey $+934% discussed the concept of freedom and by e#tension! the inhibiting nature of rote! controlled learning. &f all the comments I receied in those ealuations! the ones where students blamed themseles for their inability to eep up with the class were probably the most disheartening. :ot only did their comments indicate that theydid not learn! they were possibly disincentii;ed to try another course. <urther! it added unnecessary an#iety to the classroom atmosphere. Itwas a critical learning e#perience for me. 8iscussion became a crucial component to ma e sure eeryone was clear about the functionality of the software.  % Let the students dictate the material.  (tudents in that initial course indicated that they had left the session learning things they might not nd applicable to their job. I redoubled my eorts to support a generatie strategy as to how and why my students would use certain features within the software. I reali;ed my courses should be more job)focused than just merely point)and)clic classes. -uilding on that! in this past year! I'e been most informed by 8ewey's $+934% thoughts on the criteria of e#perience 6 that e#periences sere to buildon one another ) a building bloc proided today becomes a recollection for the ne#t building bloc of tomorrow. This idea does not mean the training sessions become a free)for)all completely directed by the learner! but that their shared e#periences inform me as to what tools in the software will be most salient to them. In practice! I engagestudents by as ing them what their job functions re7uire! what their own objecties are! and what their familiarity with the software is. =ather than use the preset lesson plan from which I had preiously steadfastly refused to deiate! my classes eoled to include more collaboration. If attendees mentioned that they needed more help with creating large 7ueries! we refocused the course to attend to that functionality. If there wasn't a strong need for a topic! I disregarded it. 3) I am a learner within my own session.  -roc ett discusses how the e#perience that a learner is willing to share can be a aluable resource $/+0%. :ot only does it slant the training a specic direction! but it can proo e ideas that may not hae been discussed otherwise.
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