Have you given much thought lately to how people learn?
Let’s look at an example:
You are trying to teach a child to button, zip and tie when getting dressed. Three challenging tasks depending on a number of circumstances:
- Command of small motor skills
- Attention span
- Interest and motivation in achieving the tasks
- Adult interference (Mom wants to do it for him/her)
If the child is an appropriate age and has the right skills, attention, motivation and Mom doesn’t interfere, you have a really good chance of being successful in your teaching.
You’re a child care professional – you already know this.
OK, let’s look at another example:
You are trying to teach a staff member to improve effectiveness, attitude and reliability in daily assignments. Three very challenging task depending on a number of circumstances:
- Understanding of pedagogy
- Commitment to professionalism
- Motivation to interact as a team member
- Adult interference (other staff members say these tasks aren’t important)
If the staff member has the appropriate education and experience, is motivated to do her best, and other staff members don’t try to taint her enthusiasm, you have a really good chance of being successful in your teaching.
Here is the stipulation: Baby Steps.
We can’t approach a child and in one hour teach them to tie, button and zip. It takes TIME and PRACTICE and ERRORS and RE-Dos.
Guess what? Adults are the same. We have to give staff CLEAR INSTRUCTION, TIME TO PRACTICE AND MAKE MISTAKES, TIME TO RE-DO, AND TIME FOR YOU TO COACH THEM.
Oh, yeah, I guess we forget that part. We all take baby steps to learn. (Some take fast baby steps, some take slower baby steps).
And one more revelation: YOU are an adult learner. You need time, coaching and confidence building too!