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Classroom delivery

"I TEACH THEREFORE I TOUCH THE FUTURE"

It is essential that as trainers we realise the wide variety of adults we are training and we need to adjust our classroom delivery to suit our learners.

  • Are they school leavers, studying for a future career?
  • Have they dropped out of school and were referred to vocational training?
  • Are they re-training?
  • Are they mums wishing to return to the workforce?
  • Are they attending a course for some kind of rehabilitation?
  • Are they studying for general interest only?
  • Are they up-skilling and looking after their personal development?

What ever the reason is for your adults to attend your course, it will somehow make a difference to their future.

You will find that many of your students have the motivation to work hard and reach their goals, many others might need your help in achieving their goals. 

When you are putting your delivery plan together, you need to focus on all your students and acknowledge that they all have a different learning styles.  Knowledge Base Central will introduce you to many different learning style theories and you can choose which one appeals to you most. Whatever learning style and theory you relate to, when you are putting your delivery strategy together, ensure you follow the learning cycle every time.

THE LEARNING CYCLE

No matter what you teach you need to work through the learning cycle.

There are four steps and you can enter this cycle at any stage and ensure that you finish the cycle before progressing to your next topic.

The 4 steps are follows:

  1. Thinking  (you are getting your students to understand what todays session is about)
  2. Teaching  (you deliver your contents)
  3. Experiencing  (you let your students try things out for themselves, make them practise)
  4. Reflecting  (check that everybody has gained an understanding and that they are ready to move on)

The following metaphor hopefully explains the concept.

Farmer Brown has been milking cows for the last 20 years. Getting up at 4 am every morning to milk the cows. He is getting older and it is getting harder to get up at 4 am every morning. He is starting to think about an easier way of farming his land.

THINKING: It seems to be a matter of preparing soil, planting the potatoes and let them grow. While they are growing he might even go on holiday for 3 weeks. It all seems pretty straight forward.

TEACHING:The farmer knows nothing about growing potatoes, so he now needs to acquire the knowledge that will give him the skills to put it all into practice. He will talk to the right people, learn to operate new machinery, learn about what is the best potatoe to grow for his type of soil. He can teach himself or attend a training course.

EXPERIENCING: Farmer Brown is now ready to put all his knowledge into practice. He is ploughing up his land, fertilising the land and planting the seed potatoes. Now let those potatoes grow!

REFLECTING: The farmer is very happy with his potatoe planting efforts and rushes of to the travel agent to start his next adventure... a holiday he has not had for 20 years. !!!!!  WRONG- never walk away from this stage. The farmer needs to check that his potatoe patch is doing fine. Are they growing well? Is the entire field growing well? Do they have enough water? That holiday is probably better taken when the potatoes have fully grown and are harvested.

As mentioned above you can start this cycle anywhere, so lets look at Farmer Brown again.

EXPERIENCING: He buys enough seedpotatoes to plant up his field. His whole family is helping plant the potatoes and once they are in the ground he is very happy.He jumped in the deep end and hoped the best.

REFLECTING: He is so excited about the prospect of growing potatoes, he watches them grow every day. However one day the potato plants did not look so healthy and he is starting to wonder what went wrong.There is no way he can start booking that holiday as his plants are dying.

THINKING: Farmer Brown talks to a few people about his potatoes and they ask him questions like, how deep did you plant them, did you fertilise the soil, what type of potatoe did you plant? He is starting to understand that there is a lot more to it than putting potatoes in the ground and expecting them to grow.

TEACHING: He is now studying up on growing potatoes , learning about the different types of potatoes, best fertiliser to use, best time for planting and how to care for the plants. He is learning everything there is to learn before trying again.

TRAINING ROOM APPLICATION

The above has hopefully given you an inisight into how to plan your sessions. Apply the learning cycle for each topic that you teach. So you could go through the learning cycle over and over again. It could even be that you might not finish the learning cycle until the next day.

For example, you might have given your students homework (experiencing) overnight and than mark homework the next day (reflecting). Other learning cycles might only last 5 minutes.

From experience the THINKING section is sometimes rushed over or forgotten. This part is also referred to as "framing". You need to explain what you are teaching today, what you want to achieve and how you are going to achieve this,  what the student's involvement is, and why they need to learn this today.  How does it fit into their lives/career/course? 

You need to set up "frames" so students understand the purpose of your lesson. If they don't understand the purpose they will become easily distracted and classroom management issues arise.

For an easy read on classroom management and the concept of framing, read "Impact Learning" by Richard Allen.

ACADEMIC VERSION OF THE LEARNING CYCLE

The above explanation is Knowledge Base Central's  interpretation of the learning cycle, originally developed by Professor David Kolb. In 1984 he published the book, Experiential Learning; where he introduced the theory that there are 4 different learning styles.

People learn best by following the learning cycle model of Concrete Experience, Reflective Observation, Abstract Conceptualisation and Active Experimentation.

Big words to use in a training room, unless you are training at a high academic level. So the adaptation by Knowledge Base Central has been taught and trialled many times... and it works!!!

Browse the other pages of this website to find more class room delivery tips and techniques.