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Buffer

By Ashraf Al Shafaki

This page will contain assorted thoughts related to training. It will act as a buffer for ideas which may then be moved to other locations in the website as they develop and mature.

Effective Training 2

Gaining Speed

You are currently slow at performing something. You want to gain speed in this thing. The way by which they can gain speed in this thing is via practice. Practicing by repetition is the best way to gain speed.

Aiming for taking the shortest path to doing the thing might seem the best way to gain speed but usually is not so. It might be the case that going for a longer path that has more steps and seems more difficult at first is the best path to gain speed in the future as you keep practicing by repetition.

Getting Feedback

Getting feedback from trainees about what they liked and what can be improved and how in the training is crucial to continual development of the trainer.


More Tips

Repeat ( = Hammer the Basics)

Repeating builds proficiency.

Revise ( = Recap)

Revise at the end and the begining of a training session and before and after a break.

Nuggets

  • Students like you the more if they get high marks. They feel you have been a wonderful and amazing teacher in that case! When they feel good about you, they feel good about themselves, and usually vice versa.
  • Encourage Learners: The main role of a successful trainer is to improve the proficiency level of trainees through constant encouragement during the training session.
  • Teach with Passion: Teaching something that you are passionate about will galvanize students. Your passion while teaching is the important thing.
  • * Stand while you are delivering training, don't sit. Do not hide your body behind a desk as well.
  • Learning by thinking (inference, deep thinking, solo). Reaching insights, discovering new models.
  • Learning by discussing with another person (two person discussions). Changing your perspective.
  • * Do not try to correct all student mistakes at once. This could break their self confidence thus demotivating them and also overwhelm them. A better approach is only to correct some of their more crucial mistakes. This will improve their proficiency while maintaining a high level of self confidence in them. Moreover, focusing on a single mistake at a time helps a student avoid repeating it and retain such avoidance. Finally, the mistakes being avoided will be the high priority ones while the ones left out (for now) are the less important ones which is an efficient use of the training course time and resources.
  • Keeping a distance: A trainer should be friendly with trainees and would do best if he sounded familiar. Yet at the same time a trainer must keep a distance, however small, between himself and the trainees. This distance, however small, would enable a trainer to maintain respect from trainees and reserve the power to control the direction of a training experience in class. It will also make trainees feel better about the training experience seeing the trainer as someone who is higher then themselves, in the field they are being trained in, and credible to rely upon.
  • Symphony: An exceptional training session would be like a symphony, having a holistic effect on the audience (trainees), having a start and and end and harmonizing with the trainees bringing them all on the same wave. It should be carried out with grace and fluidity. An exceptional training session thus, like an absorbing symphony, would have a positive holistic total effect on learners that stays with them after the training session is complete.
  • A trainer should be flexible with his trainees. He should not try to control them (or manage the class) by breaking them. Instead, a trainer should always start first by going with the flow and getting along with them nicely then after that he can bend them to the direction he likes.
  • Training as Therapy: A trainer might be extremely exhausted, tired and deeply ill before delivering a training session, once he starts delivering the training he is revitalized, energized and healthy. He leaves the class in a much better health state than he was in before the training. This could be attributed to the "delivering training as healing" effect.
  • When a student starts clearing his through it is an indication that he is preparing to speak (answer your question for instance).

Topics

  • Speed: the wrong and the correct methods for speed training.
  • Students strive to perform well during class to maintain a good image of themselves among their classmates. This driving force can be harnessed by the trainer to drive higher performance levels in students during the learning process.Winning now vs. learning and performing better later. (Harnessing Student Image)
  • Learning by drawing. (Using drawing during a workshop.)
  • * Input for the brain produces output (maybe from a different channel) from the brain. Ex: reading a book might get the juices going in your brain and make it pour lots of interesting ideas related (perhaps not directly) to the subject your are reading about.
  • Charisma (of the trainer). It's role ... and how to attain it.
  • Drawbacks of training: People who are always provided with good training programs before embarking on any new endeavor may get dependent on training and loose any ability to learn new skills on their own.

English Language

Pair Work

Use pair work to break the ice between trainees. Using pair work at the first training session of a training course helps students blend in quickly and melts communicaiton barriers between them making interact more lively in the class.

Group Work

Trainees working on creating something together such as designing a TV ad or creating a plan for a new restaurant will get deeply involved in the process and will have their motivation levels dramatically increased.


Children as Teachers

It's nice to have children as teachers. When children teach, they can achieve what adult teachers cannot. Children are spontaneous and see things in a different way. Their brains have not been casted yet in a solid way. They also are excellent communicators. They are good at communicating new things. That's what makes them very good teachers sometimes.

Crystal Clear Explanations

While machines (aka computers) can 'learn' by feeding them long lists of data and hard rules, humans tend to learn best by building connections and relationships between concepts and in the process creating holistic structures.

Giving Examples

Giving examples is the easiest way to explain a complex or hard-to-define concept. The human brain works best with examples and analogies.

Providing an Analogy


Filling Patterns


Confidence

Building Student Confidence

A successful trainer must work on steadily  building self confidence in his students as the training progresses.

If a student makes many mistakes, do not tell him about them all at once. Correct only a few of them, perhaps the main ones only. This will help maintain a healthy level of student confidence while gradually improving his skill.

Trainer Confidence

Trainer confidence is another important matter in the field of training. This topic is divided into two parts: the trainer's self confidence and the confidence of the students and their trust in the trainer.

Trainer Self Confidence

For students to start trusting and having confidence in the trainer, the trainer must first have self confidence.

Student Confidence in the Trainer

The first step for getting students to have confidence and trust in the trainer is for the trainer himself or herself to have self confidence.

Marathon

Training students in a new field is best started in a gradual graceful way. Yet after the students have managed to pick up the basics and gained some skill in the new field under study, they can well move into the next stage of marathon training.

The marathon training method contrasts with the gradual training approach. While in the gradual training approach you deliver only a controlled amount of information and provide students with ample time to digest that information and gain skill and confidence in using it, the marathon training method uses the opposite approach of bombarding the student with an avalanche of information and continual practice with extremely narrow rest intervals in between the high-magnitude training sessions. A total immersion training is one type of the marathon training method.

Again, marathon training should be used in a later stage of the training path and not during the initial phase which requires a rather softer and gentler approach till the student gains enough skill strength to handle marathon training.

Belief Based Training

The set of beliefs of a student can determine his behavior including his learning behavior. By altering the belief models of a student a trainer can create rapid everlasting positive changes in the learner.

Activities

  • Ask participants to stand in the circle (during the first session). Ask each one in turn to mention his or her name and one thing her or she has never done before. For example: "My name is Ahmed. I have never driven a bus!" This is a fun activity to help break the ice between participants at the start of their first session.

Evaluation

After a training session or training course, the training should be evaluated by trainees. Evaluation can be done by distributing evaluation forms on trainees who have attended the training for them to fill the forms up. The evaluation form should measure the following aspects of the training:

  • Enjoyment (To how extent have you enjoyed the training?)

Bad Trainers

The following are characteristics of bad trainers and bad training methods they employ.

Never Repeat

A bad trainer assumes trainees have a digital computer-like memory that can never forget any piece of information they trainers have presented. Thus, a bad trainer never repeats anything he has already mentioned. A bad trainer may even go as far as scorning a trainee who asks a question the answer of which the trainer has already mentioned in the same training session or a previous one.

Are Jargon Based

One common goal of all trainers is to make their students feel the trainers are good trainers. Good trainers achieve that goal by explaining concepts in a very clear and easy-to-understand fashion. Students thus understand the concepts, are happy about that, and realize how good their trainers have been.

On the other hand, bad trainers attempt to achieve the same goal yet using an opposite method. They try to make the student believe that he, the student, is either not mentally capable enough or that the concepts being explained are too complex for the student to grasp. Bad trainers do so by excessively using jargon and by presenting concepts in a complex mostly unintelligible manner. Many such trainers do achieve the goal of having their students believe the trainers were good and that the reason for not understanding such 'difficult' concepts stems from the students themselves or the complexity of the concepts when actually the reason nothing but the incompetency of the trainer.

To become a good trainer, explain the concept first before providing the term used to name it. This method is easier on the mind and more effective as providing the name of a concept before explaining it might lead the mind in an incorrect direction, scare it and make it rush in such direction and even might lead the mind to shut down completely with respect to understanding the new concept being explained or misunderstand it.


Machine Laws Vs. Laws of Nature

  Machine Laws   Laws of Nature
 Usage The more you use a machine the more its performance degrades and it becomes in need of maintenance.  The more you use your muscles the higher their future performance reaches and the stronger they become. 
 Subtracting The more you take from a hard drive to store files the less space that remains in the hard drive for storing additional files.  The more you cut leaves from a plant the more leaves it grows in the future. 
 Combining If you put one hard drive next to a second hard drive you will get no more than two hard drives.  If you combine one bull with one cow you can get the bull and the cow in addition to several calves in the future.

Exercises

  • Define a dream. Try to explain what dreams are to someone who has never dreamed before. Imagine there is a person who has never had a dream before, try to explain to that imaginary person what a dream is.

Student Energy Investments

Humans normally protect themselves from having their energies overdrained. They normally tend to aim for getting the "highest bang for their buck" and naturally avoid looping into vicious circles. Students are no different. When a student finds that he will be exerting too much effort with no realizable returns in terms of improving his skills he normally refrains from doing any effort at all. Conversely, whenever a student feels that by doing so little effort he can gain a lot and improve dramatically in performance he sure would go ahead eagerly exerting such an effort. That is way it is best to make students feel they are skilled, this will make them exert their top effort. If, however, you show a student that he is incompetent he would normally not exert a lot of, or any, effort because he feels the effort he would exert would be of low efficiency and that he would be working so hard and still not reaching a good level in his skill.

Students Arriving Late

There are 5 ways to deal with students who arrive late for class:

  1. Close the door after you enter the class and do not allow any student to enter the class after you have entered.
  2. Provide a window of 10 minutes or 15 minutes (or whatever fixed time interval you set) for late students to enter the class after which you close the door and not allow any other students who come later than that to enter the class.
  3. Allow students to enter the class at any time no matter how late they come.
  4. Allow students to enter the class after the break.
  5. This is a less known yet interesting method: Allow late students to enter class in groups every 10 minutes. This 'buffering' of late students provides them with a gentle punishment to push them into coming on time next time while at the same time making less disturbance for the training session. It is quite an effective method.

Student Needs

One of the strong student needs is the need of the student to express his knowledge in front of others (his colleagues) and get appreciated for that, particularly knowledge that he already knows before attending the training and is presented in the training. The trainer must be aware of such need and manage it appropriately or else it will create problems in the class if the trainer suppresses it and does not provide an appropriate outlet channel for it.

From Other Trainers

Mohamed Issa (Free Dynamic Meditation): He starts each session by asking participants if they had any questions!

Dominique (permaculture): Assigns a group of participants to be the "information group," their responsibility is to write down what the trainer says, keep a record of it and gather information for the rest of the participants to make use of during and after the training course. Another group is assigned the responsibility of getting people in on time for the training sessions, keeping the place tidy ... and so on.