False Notes

Long before we’d had a chance to become truly familiar with the teaching learning process, we may be filled with the curious sense that we know it already by heart. It can seem as though being knowledgeable or smart or even a smartass and occasionally signing up for a seminar on this and that and getting nothing more than a Certificate of Completion is synonymous to being an effective trainer. It’s as if the whole process were as simple as pouring liquid onto a jar.

When I started in the field of training, I thought I had all my ducks in a row. I was young, eager and wet behind the ears. I thought I knew everything there is to know to be an effective trainer. Several hits and misses and two terms at UPOU, I realize I have barely scratched the surface. I have no regrets, but I come out of each course humbled and even less pedantic than when I started. In more ways than one, I’ve been tempered by kindness and a better understanding of the teaching learning process.  This was not always the case. See, I run a very tight ship. Not a very long time ago, I regarded inaccuracies as incompetency and was very vocal about it.

Why is it that even in the educational setting we rarely consider the learning process? It is as if we regard it as a controlled variable in this social experiment we call education. Why don’t educators factor in how students learn as a guide to their practice? Do we even know what it looks like? Do we even know what it is we are looking for? Would we even recognize it when we see it or would we dismiss it even if it were dangled it front of us like a carrot? It seems like an absurd hypothesis and an even more inconvenient truth.

Oftentimes, it’s more tempting to base our presuppositions on learning upon insufficient material, and supplement our ignorance with a desire. As an educator, we should reserve our leap of judgment regarding effectiveness until we have completed a clear-eyed investigation of the depths and nature of the waters. Only after we have undertaken a thorough analysis of our learners, their needs, the parameters of learning should we embark on this pursuit, otherwise it will be a futile and meaningless exercise of transference.



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