Tip #132: How It Feels To Facilitate Learning

School will be starting soon. My son, Seth, will probably be part time at a technical college and part time finishing the one English credit he needs to graduate early from high school. He is anxious to continue his long and dedicated interest in computer animation. I have watched him teach himself how to draw, learn computer programs, read and then develop his own tutorials for his international network of computer animators, and continually seek to learn and try new techniques as he hones his personal style.

At the other end of the career spectrum, I spent a week at an Elderhostel in the San Juan Islands with my octogenarian mother, who is a retired high school principal and college educator busier than ever working hard to continue to make a difference in her community. (We get together for a weeklong adventure somewhere in the United States when my octogenarian father goes to what he calls his –music camp” at a college in Massachusetts to continue his lifelong learning on the clarinet.) So many of the incredibly fascinating folks at the Elderhostel were- you may have guessed it- current or retired educators!

Until now, Laurel Learning Tips have focused exclusively on the principles and techniques for assessing needs, designing curriculum, facilitating and presenting training, and evaluating training. What we have not discussed is how it actually feels to facilitate learning. Is it entirely altruistic, or is there something we as teachers and trainers get from the experience?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that all teachers and trainers are a special breed of lifelong learners. They continually seek new information and techniques that will allow them to be better at their craft, which increases the probability that they will have the amazing opportunity to see the light go on in learners’ eyes! And what teachers or trainers leave a class without learning something about themselves as individuals or as trainers, in addition to new topic-specific information or techniques that they learn from the learners themselves. I have said that I will stop training when I stop learning from the participants in the classes I have the honor to facilitate. When learning is a cooperative venture, all of the partners benefit.

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