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Trainers And What They Are Not

August 20, 2019

Our Sunday School teacher didn’t show up today. So, if you’ll all just open your manuals, let’s just go around the room taking turns reading a paragraph from the book.

Just shoot me now, because I’ll be dead by the time it gets to my turn.

I’ve heard people say, “Training is getting up and reading to them what’s in the book.”

Interestingly, I’ve never heard a trainer say it. Trainin and teaching in general is a skill. And like any skill, some people are good at it, and some are not. It’s also a skill you can develop.

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier to do, not that the nature of the thing has changed but that our power to do has increased.”

? Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve done a lot of training and teaching over my lifetime. I’ve taught 11 year old boy scouts, and adults who were IT professionals. I’ve created my own training content. I’ve also created content for others to use. I’ve taught Bible topics, and I’ve taught automotive techniques. I’ve taught in a 400 person lecture hall and I’ve taught 1-1.

It’s something I enjoy, and taking Mr. Emerson’s thoughts into account, it’s something that I’ve persisted in.

Recently, I was in a teaching situation doing co-trainer. My co-trainer focused on being a discussion facilitator. He introduced a topic and then guided the discussion by occasionally offering a question or a comment. But, mostly, the group did the talking.

When it was my turn to present, I realized just how different our styles are. I’m a believer that “teachers teach.” Not to say that a 50 minute lecture without any breaks is the best way to deliver information. It’s not.

But, there is value in building a training plan and coming into the classroom with specific points you want to cover. At one point, I asked a leading question that the students weren’t picking up on. I tried rephrasing the question. The discussion still went sideways. I commented,

Okay, you guys really aren’t going where I was trying to take this.

Maybe you should let the class decide where the discussion goes?

Except he offered it more as a comment than a question. A wonderful gentleman that had been participating in an enjoyable and helpful manner. He wasn’t being mean.

I know several authors. One of them teaches a writing course. He laments those authors who say, “I’m really surprised my character did that. It’s not what I expected from her at all.”

His point is you are the author. You control the actions of your characters. Just as you are the trainer. There’s a difference between a discussion leader and a trainer. Both can be useful. But, they are not interchangable.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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