Sunday, 21 May 2006
I teach part time at Kaduna Business School (www.kbs-edu.net) and since November 2005, I usually have this experience while I am teaching that can best be described as the experience known in emotional intelligence circles as FLOW. I can practically walk into a class and loose myself in it, have lots of fun and by the time I leave, have the class enjoying themselves. Yesterday, I had this lecture on Creativity & Innovation that lasted for 6 hours! and I had fun all the way – I know the class also had fun. This experience is what I call teaching effortlessly; the objective is to help my class learn effortlessly.
It is a well known fact from the field of neuro-linguistic programming that the more effort you put in memorising something, the harder it is to memorise. Well how do I do it? First and foremost, at some point in the past, I have paid the price to know my stuff (read different books, articles and listened to some blogs), I have reflected deeply on my own moments of creativity (what went through my mind, the environment, the role of my current emotional state etc) so in one word – I have earned the right to stand in front of them and talk on the subject at hand (I’ve done so with emotional intelligence, personal effectiveness, managerial psychology and leadership). Next, I anticipate eagerly to meet the class and share my own perspective – this last bit is very important: I don’t consider my lecture THE perspective. Thirdly, I make the class a discussion rather than a lecture – this way I engage other knowledgeable people within the class and align them to my objectives. I also keep an open mind about the interrelatedness of knowledge – I see my main role in the class as ensuring that whatever branch of knowledge my class delves into, I can extract the lesson that is relevant to our current objectives and also make the whole class see this. Now, even if as a participant you doubt by competence, you are almost always infected by my passion and my intellectual humility (am not so sure about the last one – but I am working on it). By respecting the right of everyone in the class to contribute to the subject matter, I stifle emotional resistance to me.
In my classes, I always try to use many metaphors and games – these send the message to the right brain where it really sticks. It is more active learning because when I finally explain the concept behind the metaphor or game, the immediately grasp it. From beginning to end, I always remain detached from the results of the class – I don’t worry if they will praise or criticize me. I believe this is the only way to teach for six hours straight (2pm to 8 pm) and not die of physical exhaustion at the end. In a class of about twenty people who have already spent the entire morning (8 am to 1 pm) in lectures, I think it was amazing that only two people dozed for a few minutes during my stint – It really takes two to have fun teaching! Shalom!