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Faculty Training - Tips & Tricks (Really Just Two Tips...)

lturner2
Community Contributor
5 4 2,220

When I first began the task of Faculty Training, I was still at my alma mater - standing before those who had taught me, along with many who didn't know me, only that I had a BA that wouldn't hold a candle to their multiple PhD's. That was daunting and it was difficult to muster up the confidence in myself. Then I started asking for feedback and would spend a great deal of time in other trainings (even if I didn't need them and wasn't required to attend) and I started to adopt techniques that boosted my presentation skills. Now, that can all boil down to Public Speaking techniques, and indeed that was necessary, but there are sill many other smaller efforts that can go a long way to make your presentations enjoyable (even if they're not mandated to attend  Smiley Wink )

Now, I typically write two things on the white board before I begin speaking;

* Field Trips

* Show & Tell

Those are the days I remember as a kid in school.

I'm old school, as I've said many time. Truthfully, about the only thing I remember are those teachers who really wanted to be teachers - and to my adolescent experience I sensed that they cared about me, my future, and my success. Those are the ones who stood out and meant the most to me, regardless of what they taught.

And now I think, what have I learned from those teachers that can help me pass along this enthusiasm to instructors, who will then (hopefully) pass it along to their students?

I have to believe in my product. I have to believe in its ability to help instructors help their students succeed. If that mentality is passed down, and if students believe that their instructors really are looking at ways of helping them and challenging them...oh imagine the SLO's...

4 Comments
jmwatson1
Community Participant

I am very much in this position you described. What did you do with the two things you wrote on the board? @lturner2 ‌

cblanos
Community Participant

When it comes to faculty training, I agree that you need to believe in the product, but I also find that a meaningful experience for the audience is also important. Not just "here's what you need to know", but have them leave with the feeling you describe from experiencing field trips and show and tell. I had a professor in college that would play a different song as we entered the classroom. Each song had to do with the material of the day and I started to come early to hear the song an try to apply it to the lesson (it didn't hurt that I enjoyed listening to the Rolling Stones "You Can't Always Get What You Want", for example). Memorable and effective, the instructor believed in getting the material to his students and connected us to it. Make the training meaningful to faculty, tell a story, and they will remember and appreciate it.

mfuto
Community Member

Thank you Christine! I love the music suggestion and will definitely implement that into my training sessions. 

lturner2
Community Contributor

@jmwatson1 I have just re-read my post and realize that I wasn't super clear in my description, and I also didn't mention why  I did it.

So when I am presenting an Intro course, or if I am in a new environment, then I will write "Field Trips" and "Show and Tell" in one corner of the board to reference later on in my speech. Also, if I don't write it down visibly, I tend to forget that part of my presentation...lol

While I believe there are so many aspects of best practices and techniques for online instruction, one way that tickles my brain is to simply press/encourage professors to think about ways in which they can bring certain highly memorable and engaging activities into the online world. Why? Because we have virtual museums. We can self-diagnose car problems and replace an alternator after watching a Google video. We can take walking tours all over the world, yet educational themes seem to be all but forgotten, defaulting to a very bland, linear instruction style. These were just some educational perks that stood out to me. When I think back to grade school, 'show and tell' always taught me/showed me something. Field trips? I can probably tell you every one that I went on.

I just try to get folks thinking about ways to make their content engaging. Sometimes it takes putting a few heads together and swapping ideas about applicable technology before we find something really cool to share with the students, but I have found that students generally enjoy providing feedback if we are humble enough to read it and take it to heart.

I realize now that I had forgotten a 3rd thing that I used to put on the board. "Kindergarden"
I would literally ask a room full of professors to close their eyes and think back to kindergarden or 1st grade, and picture the room around them. There were posters on the wall. There may have been little activity nooks in the corners. There was color on the walls, and crafts hanging from the ceiling. Now picture your  probably-sterile lecture hall.