@TisForTraining 318: Don’t Be the Unripe Apple

The crew on August 25With school starting again (K-12, college & university) and the continued presence of other training opportunities, we decided to talk about how we ensure everyone is welcome in that learning space (classroom or virtual space).  On the call were Henry Mensch, Paul Signorelli, Jill Hurst-Wahl, and Maurice Coleman.

The questions we used to focus the conversation were:

  • What do we do before the class to set “the stage”?
    • Know your presentation tool.
    • Send out reminder emails about the training.
    • Do a welcoming upfront with the “lay of the land”, e.g., where are the handouts, etc.
    • Give people the ability to reset the room to create a better learning space. This gives people ownership of the space.
    • Create a circle of trust in the room.
    • Remember that you are on stage. No matter how you feel, you need to be engaging. Your teaching is a performance.
    • Learn something about improv, because having improvisation skills can be very helpful for a trainer.
  • What do we do during the class to ensure all learners are welcome and feel as if they belong there?
    • Create a circle of trust in the room.
    • Use time before the class begins to understand if there is a need to be addressed, e.g., need to sit closer to the speaker.
    • Talk to the participants when they enter.
  • Priya Parker says we should understand the purpose of an event. How do we use that purpose to create a welcoming environment?
    • Set the purpose early. It should be part of the upfront information.
    • Do people need to do pre-work?
    • Tell people why they should be there. Is it mandatory? Is it for people who do specific work?
    • Have learning objectives.
    • Recognize that you are facilitating a training and understand how to use your facilitation skills.
    • Connect the stated purpose to current events.
    • “Working backward from an outcome can be helpful.” – Priya Parker, p. 24.
  • Tips for working with an interpreter (e.g., American Sign Language)?
      • Slow down your presentation, e.g., pause at the end of a thought to give the interpreter time to catch-up.
      • Talk loud and clear.
      • Because of the translation, recognize that you might not get your entire point across. (In other words, something might get lost in translation.)
      • Give a preview of the topic to the interpreter.
      • Chat with the interpreter ahead of time, if possible.
      • Recognize that the interpreter may need to ask clarifying questions.
      • Use plain, non-jargon language.
      • Ask the interpreter if you need to do something differently.
      • Provide notes to the learner, so they know what was covered (and may help fill-in the blanks).  This could also become you providing notes to all students or you asking a different student each class to provide a short summary of what the class was about. This can be useful to all of the learners.

This was a lively, focused conversation with more tips than what are in the notes! Clearly there is SO much more we could have talked about, so this was just a “dip of the toe” into the topic.

You can listen to the entire episode on TalkShoe or wherever you get your podcasts.


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