Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Shut up already, I'm tryin' to Learn!

Well, by no stretch of my imagination do I believe you've all come here to hear me lecture.
This is a quote from Good Will Hunting.  I thought it was funny at the time, but not for the reasons in the movie (although to give credit that was witty).  In my mind's eye I pictured a plaque hanging in every training room that had this quote on it.  I would put it right below the clock.

For those of you that don't regularly give classes, many training centres, auditoriums, and lecture halls hang clocks in the back of the room.  When I was a student I always wondered why they would hang a clock in the back of the room where nobody could see it.  Isn't it interesting, the biases we bring?

Thinking no one could see the clock was arrogant, assuming that mine was the only valid perspective.  When in fact it was hanging there for the only person whose perspective did matter - the instructor.  The clock was there for the speaker, not the student population.  It's the speaker's job to keep on time.

In the high tech classroom, there are really two instructors.  There is the human in the front of the room and the computer in front of each student.  And learning is really only going to occur when the student gives his or her undivided attention to one of them.  As much as my ego would like it to be, it is not the human.

So it's incumbent on the instructor to lead the room, and then get out of the way.  That clock will remind you - if you are still talking after 20 minutes it's time to stop.  30 minutes and you're really out of line.  An hour?  Let's not go there.

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