Teacher Anxiety

I'm currently experiencing teacher anxiety. I have three training sessions to do this week, and, as usual, I'm worried about things in quite the wrong order (the proper order is given in brackets):

  1. The trainees will know more about the subject matter than I do (5)
  2. The trainees won't turn up (4)
  3. The trainees will complain that they weren't given enough notice/didn't get the email/couldn't read the attachment (1)
  4. I won't get the training support (presentations, handout and demo) complete in time (2)
  5. What I teach them won't be what the product manager wanted (3)
From experience, (3) isn't so much a worry as a dead cert. Oh well. At least I blog human for once. I twisted my ankle last night while wiping my feet and was in agony all night. I'm currently wearing three pairs of socks on the affected foot. It's all rather distracting.

I've been trying to restore to my memory the details of a training that I did ten years ago about preparing for, and delivering training in a commercial environment. Edward Tufte wrote an essay on why powerpoint is the wrong tool (read it on his website - I advise reading ALL the comments, new ones seem to be added every few week since he posted on his website in 2005 ish).

The training I had, years ago, used powerpoint (or something similar) as an example among many of how to display information in front of trainees. It was presented as one possible means of support - especially if there was some important vocabulary to learn, or a diagram would be helpful in illustrating a point.

From this sensible start point, MSPowerPoint has taken over commercial presentations and trainings, to the extent that it is no longer an aid, it has become the principal medium of communication - the presenter is secondary, as he is constantly referring to the slides, and in many cases, reading them out.

I'm trying to get back to basics, and to do this I'm imposing some simple rules, based on the training I had back in the 1990s, to get the message off the screen and back into the air.

  1. All the information that I want the trainees to leave with is in a handout. Most of the information on the handout is not on the slides.
  2. No more than 10 slides PER HOUR (I've had some presentations and trainings over the last four years that, had completed on time, would have needed under three minutes per slide!)
  3. As much "back to basics" training as possible - work with the subject matter; hands-on; exercises.
This approach does put me under a little more pressure - as I need to know the subject matter well; any trainer should be under pressure to know the subject matter better than he knows his slides. Any trainer should be able to complete a training session with no slides at all.

No comments: