Getting Attention Versus Getting Involvement - Training and Development

Instructors who seek dominance and attention rather than learning would do well to seek employment in the lecture hall, the pulpit, the theatre, or the nightclub rather than in the classroom. The issue for instructors is, "Do I want to cause learning, or do I want to make a great impression?" Although the two are not incompatible, they are by no means synonymous.

Another way of looking at it goes like this: "Do I want to do all the work myself— or would I like the learners to do some of their own work by getting busy in learning activities?" Real trainers and real instructors want to stimulate, not to overpower; they want to facilitate, not to deprive or smother. That being so, questions that elicit thought and activities that involve learners replace startling statements and flamboyant stimuli.

Yet "centering" or"polarizing" techniques are necessary. They change attention from the previous topics of concentration to the reality of the learning.

We have previously mentioned two ways to "center": reviewing objectives, and questions. Androgenic designs stress the importance of learners' involvement in any centering method.

A traditional method has been to have the class "get acquainted with one another." This is especially common when participants come from various parts of the organization and are assumed to be strangers to one another. It's hard to know precisely what such introductions accomplish unless the class activity uses a great deal of interrelationships between learners. Since andragogic designs do depend upon this interrelating, the method of introducing is a technical activity deserving some attention.

A typical get-acquainted activity has each person stand up and share something biographical: name, position,seniority, family data, hobbies.

The goal behind all these introductions is for every participant to get acquainted with everyone else. That objective needs to be made very clear when the activity is announced and launched. If the introductions are purely ritualistic, they become sterile. It is useful for the instructor to explain convincingly that getting to know one another at the beginning helps a lot in achieving learning goals.

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