Archive‎ > ‎For Trainers‎ > ‎

Extreme Teaching

By Ashraf Al Shafaki

For novice and moderately experienced trainers and teachers, a set of 'rules' can be used in order to deliver an effective training experience for trainees and a good learning experience for students. However, for pro trainers with loads of training experience, breaking the 'rules' might be practiced in some situations to come up with stunning results.

The following are a number of methods that are against the 'rules' of 'proper' or good teaching yet can work wonders if practiced at the right time by a pro trainer. Do not attempt any of the methods mentioned below unless you have long and deep experience in training and are confident enough to use them.

Again, the following methods are about breaking the rules and should not be practiced by the novice trainer. What follows is a set of anti rules for teaching.

Do Not Prepare!

A common directive for novice and even many experienced trainers and teachers is to prepare well before delivering any sort of training or lecturing. Even if you are teaching something you have been teaching before time and again, the well known rule e is to always prepare well before delivering training.

The above mentioned 'rule' may be broken, but again only bey highly experienced professional trainers. Even if what you are about to deliver for training is something you have never delivered before, on extreme teaching technique is to just go ahead and 'prepare' it on the spot during a training session!

This might sound crazy, yet with a pro it can work. The idea is to keep your brain flexible enough and your wit fast enough to accommodate for the lack of preparation. For this method to work, you must at least have a set of points already present or work from material that is readily available. You do not have to read nor even scan the material beforehand, you can just enter the training room and start delivering the material right away while having quick glances at it while you go!

If you find this method as too risky, just stick to the formal well known rule of preparing well for a training session before delivering it. After all no one will blame you for playing it safe. Again, the above mentioned extreme teaching method is not for everyone.

No Icebreakers

Traditionally, the first training session should start by attempting to break the ice with students. This widespread practice done by many experience and professional trainers assumes that new students come to their first training session laden with a heavy coating of rock-solid ice that prevents them from feeling enough warmth to speak out at ease, deal with their classmates freely or absorb and interact openly with the trainer.

The above if generally true and it is a good and safe practice to use on of the many different techniques to break the ice for students at the beginning of their first training session. However, an extreme trainer might choose not to use any icebreakers to start his first training session with trainees nor at any other time during the training session. This choice can be made in one of two cases: the students are not really freezing cold but have some liveliness in them so no need to throw them a 'formal' icebreaker or the trainer is so skilled and charismatic that the instant he speaks all ice, if any, melts at once.

A charismatic trainer can just act familiar with the trainees he is seeing for the first time. He would look them in the eye and speak to them in a familiar way right from the very first moment as if he knew them from long ago. No ice can withstand such welcoming warmth that instantly aligns all students and the trainer together as if brining them all on the same wavelength.

Except in cases where the trainees are really tough and rigid glued to their chairs holding themselves stiff should the extreme trainer resort to using any of the many ice breaking techniques to get such trainees warmed up and more open for the learning process.

Go with the Flow: Do Not Use a Preset Lesson Plan

Let your session be guided by student questions and explain difficult concepts as they come up. Do not stick to a rigid preset structure (with time schedule) for the session. Instead, start with preparing a tentative outline for the session then let the conditions of the session itself guide you. This will make you more flexible and more adaptable to the student needs. It will also make your session much more enjoyable and not boring like the rigidly preset sessions.