Born in an education environment (a family where everybody was a teacher, trainer, professor, or so) our life is linked to this marvelous field since the beginning, a seed that we water with daily effort to continue making way: WE CAME TO THIS WORLD TO LEARN
TRAINING: WHAT FOR?
Some studies say that every penny invested in Training produces 30 of them in return. In an organization, and also in individuals, the effects are like the leaven in the bread: Always Growth!
We create, develop, and deliver courses, thematic areas, practical workshops, career plans, didactic modules and specific training units in fields as diverse as art, communication, leadership or sales. And our trainees are normally so happy with their success!
LEVELS: scientific, academic, professional, artistic…
FIELDS: communication, training, applied psychology, coaching, sales, leadership, art…
MODULES (EXAMPLE): advanced sales strategies, motivation for leaders, emotional intelligence for conflict solving, NLP and coaching, etc.
Awareness. Knowledge management to grow. To be conscious about the permanent responsibility of proving useful to our society entails the need of coping with information, practical and theoretical perception and comprehension, cognition, understanding, mastery… Knowledge is power: LET’S KEEP GROWING!
KNOWIN’ TO WIN
So quoted Sung Tzu said some 26 centuries ago that ‘the more you know your enemy, the better you can beat them’.
We think that knowledge can also prove so useful in friendly environments!
‘QVO VADIS UNIUERSITATIS?’
SOME REFLECTIONS ON UNIVERSITIES AND THEIR WAY OF FUNCTIONING + GOING FORWARD
Still assumed as the paradygm of human intellectual excellence, it has came the time to focus on this and other aspects regarding true role of universities as ‘engine of advancement and development’ in contemporary societies.
Some years ago, Sir Ken Robinson was doubting about good education being possible without freedom, commenting b.t.w. from his huge experience in both fields (education and freedom) how dangerous it could arrive to be any extremely pre-determined + over-ruled path of growth, as they’ll inevitably reduce freedom angles, for instance in order to ‘positively fail’ 😊
If ‘trial & error’ defines the way of success from science (supposed to be a true ‘peak’ of minkind achievements), why is usually mistake that penalized? According to Robinson (and to logics) the fear to fail will kill freedom from the beginning, inviting people to adhere to the secure pre-walked itineraries. How ‘creative’ and ‘innovative’ can this result?
Let’s remember that universities are thought to be scenario for research and enlightening advancement, thus needing the necessary ‘freedom atmosphere’ and frame to try in order to discover. Unfortunately, I’ve personally experienced (both as student and professor) the huge inconvenience of belonging to a high studies house that prioritizes rigidness of rules much more than growth. I’d seriously advice these institutions to dramatically, immediately change path, in order to really look for excellence instead of uniformity and allignment as rigid attachment to empty rules.
In the professional and business field in general, it’s a well known fact that over-rulling anything (a Project, a Team way of function, etc.) can be serious cause of de-motivation. Difficult-to-follow rules that contribute poorly to general success are stupid rules (sorry!).
In a social-structural context, as journalist Josep Corbella states, prestige universities are meant to be nest for education, research, innovation, and even contestatary movements looking for (always) higher freedom and growth for mankind, at least from their written principles. An extremely closed university structure, unable to allow mínimum freedom to their inner compositive stages (mainly students and professors) will hardly reach superior goals in terms of true success.
Sociologist Manuel Castells adds political ‘pep’ to the thing by asking for ‘less uniformity’ to universities (from the government actions and politics) in order to foster educational innovation and freedom of research to move forward in independently-competitive way. So, every good university should count on inner mechanisms of innovation to re-create constantly if necessary, and to contribute better to the society they belong to. Freedom.
Higher autonomy to European universities should be, according to him, a convenient factor in order to boost flexibility in many orders, what usually grants versatility of options to grow + move forward.
Then: ‘QVO VADIS VNIUERSITATIS?’ (‘Where are you going University?’) Let’s hope that majority of highly-ranked universities are aiming towards risky freedom as much as possible in order to have greater chances of success from the winning symbiosis of creativity and innovation, thus allowing their people to breath higher while advancing confidently in search for success.
‘Til the next one!
ADVANCED TRAINING SKILLS
UPGRADING POTENTIAL FOR GROWTH STIMULATION
Good part of our didactic stuff in seminars like ‘Advanced Training Skills’ (usually delivered to professional Trainers, Teachers, Professors, etc.) comes from the example + advice of outstanding educators that kindly share their best through 3 tips/recommendations.
1. NEGOTIATE EXPECTATIONS+GOALS WITH ATTENDEES IN THE BEGINNING. 2. WORK ON YOUR WEAKNESSES (I.E. POOR TIME MANAGEMENT DURING CLASS, TIREDNESS FROM RUTINE, ETC.) UNTIL OVERCOMING THEM. 3. BE CORPORATIVE: A TEACHER ALWAYS REPRESENTS A SCHOOL/COMPANY’S PHYLOSOPHY. (From Gregorio Casamayor, former IL3 Institut Director, UB Universitat de Barcelona).
1. ASK QUESTIONS (THEY CHECK, TEST, MAKE REFLECT, MOVILIZE). 2. BE DRIVEN (PURPOSE-ORIENTED), PRACTIC (CLEAR) AND POSITIVE (SOLUTION-ORIENTED). 3. IN ‘LESSON PLANS’ INCLUDE STUDY (KNOWLEDGE), REFLECTION (LEARNING) AND OBSERVATION (WISDOM). (From Anne Dwyer, Professor, Lecturer, EU European University Business School).
1. EMPHASIS IN OPENER (IMPACT/1stIMPRESSION). 2. PITCH+EMISSION VERSATILE ADAPTION TO NEED (TEACH, ENTERTAIN, EVALUATE, etc.). 3. ONLY SIMPLE+ATTRACTIVE ACTIVITIES (CLEARLY EXPLAINED BEFORE, PRODUCTIVELY PROFITED AFTER). (From Gloria Sanz-Pinyol, freelance Professors’ Trainer).
When asked about my advice, I’m always doubting in the beginning, then surely giving different replies from one occasion to the other, even if I seem to agree (with my own self 🙂 in:
1. LOVE THEM. 2. SCAN THEM. 3. BOOST (INSPIRE) THEM.
The ‘LOVE THEM’ thing should be brought to the (class or training) room from home, what means: before even knowing who our public will be, we FEEL the need of SERVING them best possible way, as we’d do with our sons/daughters because we simply love them.
The ‘vocation’ concept, more frequent in Spanish, is about natural, spontaneous inclination towards an activity (e.g. teaching, training, educating) because of a strong need to get involved in it. As Training orthodox definition is ‘sharing knowledge’, we educators are feeling this need of sharing. In the beginning it can come from egoistic corners (I want to look clever and fantastic in front of my future public) …in the end it’s always about contributing to human beings’ growth. Because we love the human being.
The ‘SCAN THEM’ thing comes as a consequence of the previous statement: if it’s true we are there for them (more than for ourselves) so we’ll put all of our attention on them from the beginning: we want to discover Who and How they are + What they Need from the communication + didactic points of view. Only this way we’ll be able to shape our class/session in accordance, adapted to what our scanning has told us.
People diversity is always an asset helping us build synergy: taking advantage of everybody’s best in order to create a contagious flux of permanent contribution from ones to others. Every audience member teaching from the best of self and learning from the best of others all of the time. By studying David Kolb, or Howard Gardner among other masters, we know about diversity of types of intelligence as well as different ‘favorite styles of learning’ to which to adapt. This key info comes to us trainers from the initial scanning + further permanent real-time high attention to our class.
The ‘BOOST THEM’ thing, differently from the ‘LOVE’ point before knowing them and the ‘SCAN’ point while knowing them, is about effects on their reality after having known them, what frequently comes under the form of ‘INSPIRATION’. Prof. Dino Salinas (Teaching Department, Universitat de València) speaks about an ‘active principle’, or creating the ‘spark’ during the class for them to want ‘more’ after. Something should be ‘activated’ inside them during the class/session experience.
A marvelous thing having happened to me as an educator is to casually find someone somewhere spontaneously telling me ‘hey Bernardo, I was your student once and your classes inspired me for these things (in life or in their profesión)’. I’m pretty sure that this ‘magic spark’ gets on in every class or session with passionate trainers giving their best. Be sure that you’re starting things you’ll rarely know that will happen, even if they will, like the polen blown by the wind germinates after long distances and travel time.
By LOVING THEM let’s work on our spirit: values, convictions, deeply rooted beliefs, until being sure this IS our thing to do (contributing to human beings’ growth).
By SCANNING THEM let’s concentrate 100% on our audience from the beginning: they’ll throw ‘tones’ of non-verbal and verbal information to our strategic adaption capacities, in order to design and frame interaction towards their highest possible benefit.
By BOOSTING THEM I just understand living the experience with highest intensity (what is usually contagious) as the best possible example is the natural, genuine one that we become (even being unaware of this) through our action and pitch alongside the class/session.
As well as every Training (or Coaching) session should always shorten the distance between their Potential and its Concretion, same exercise should be searched and accomplished by us educators all of the time.
WHAT ARE MY STRENGTHS? Let’s identify + use them properly whenever we can/is needed.
WHAT MY WEAKNESSES? Let’s discover + diminish/cancel until achieving success.
Both paths will mean in the end we’re approaching a higher Concretion from our true Potential. Then we can put the focus on THEIR growing path 😊
THE ‘WHAT’ (ADVISABLE ELEMENTS/CONCEPTS TO ENRICH OUR WORK)
Being Training a specific way of Communication, it always rellies on the respective pillars for highest success: Reception and Emission should be boosted by Questions and Metaphors as the simplest approach to the thing.
Francesc Imbernon (Lecturer at UB, Universitat de Barcelona) makes specific emphasis on being outstanding in both receiving and sending Questions as a way of building successful training: good Question-Askers, as we can boost their reflection or persuade them through the Questions we ask and ‘how’ we ask them. Good Question-Repliers too, as we can do more than fulfilling knowledge gaps through our reply and way of transmitting it: we can stun them and create even higher curiosity to go deeper afterwards for example (the ‘spark’ :).
Metaphors, at their turn, are a powerful ally to trainers too, under any of their forms (examples, parables, analogies, etc.), always useful to approach more and better the knowledge being managed to their main addressees for them to ‘get the point’ easier, earlier, in more comfortable way.
Right dose of Humor can make marvels as well, by influencing emotional state (crucial), strengthening the link with the public (essential) and easying this way assimilation + retention of main concepts, elements, and ideas (key). Beyond the strict ‘joke’ we’re speaking about jokey spirit, an opportune laugh, etc.
Linked to previous, Creativity will bring the experience to its peak by varied means as e.g. making the thing more entertaining (the unexpected raises public attention and interest usually), and taking from them sincere thankfulness, because of having avoided the boring ‘more of the same’ grey line that sometimes we find in neutral professionals that use to read text on screen, verbally repeat what is already written in slides (sad redundancy) or appeal to ‘cliches’ to propose or to move situations forward.
A funny curious spirit of permanent joy + research coming from the Trainer or Professor will always impact in positive way and inspire people in the room to act accordingly.
Enough for today, dear Advanced Colleagues! 😊
‘Til the next one,
HOW INTELLIGENT IS YOUR SON?
(ABOUT DIVERSITY OF APPROACHES TO THIS CALLED ‘INTELLIGENCE’)
Wrong question, apparently, both in intellectual and emotional fields. Dr. Howard Gardner (Harvard University), author of the Multiple Intelligences theory, claims for intelligence being in reality a combined set of different types of it: from Linguistic (word-smart) to Interpersonal (people-smart) ones, through a nice range of others, the correct question should be instead ‘How is your son intelligent?’→ what about the distribution and proportion in their ‘set’.
Something alike happens, according to Dr. Daniel Goleman, in the emotional intelligence side, where a ‘map’ can be determined to every individual in terms of items like Self-control, Resiliency, capacity to Self-motivate, etc. So: ‘How is your son emotionally intelligent?’ should be the thing here.
According to Murray & Herrnstein, two former referents in the study of such an interesting concept as intelligence is, we can define it as the ability to cope with different things as for example: be aware of Self, analyze, solve problems, describe the world, allocate scarce resources, exchange information, and so on…
‘Everybody can do this, including my son!’ we’ll say, being certainly right. The point is everybody has a fingerprint too, and all of them differ.
This way, we should get interested, perhaps, in what is each one’s difference, mainly if our task is related to education or training, in order to take differences into account to teach better.
Outdated education systems highlight only Mathematics or Literature as ‘important’ subjects, leaving aside or in second place many other sides of human intelligence that, if well considered and stimulated, could make from their owners more successful beings.
Anything else in the universe of intelligences?
We can count on Non·Verbal Intelligence, or the capacity to perceive + interpret the non-verbal emission from interlocutors, and to give adapted reply while caring about our goals to achieve at the same time (according to Teresa Baró), even if we could define it also as the ability to analyze information and solve problems (original Murray & Herrnstein frame) by using visual or hands-on reasoning (two from Gardner’s list) …everything seems to be connected!
To follow, Vital Intelligence (Jordi Pigem’s definition) is at its turn the way/path of organisms towards their self-realization, what precedes survival functions according to his research.
Just to add a new brick, let’s mention a referent as Robert Sternberg saying how important it is (triarchic theory) to consider intelligence much beyond the typical tests on the matter (IQ ones, for instance) in order to consider, besides innate heritage, the individual’s adaption to to their environment, and their capacity to transform it in order to predict results, and achieve success in the socio-cultural life.
I completely agree about the uncertainty around IQ tests, at all. Once, I did one that ruled that I had an intelligence superior to that of Einstein! 😊
Sternberg speaks about Analytical, Creative, and Practical intelligences as a necessary set to succeed, approaching Gardner (again) from the point of view of a certain composition of factors instead of a unique thing called ‘intelligence’.
And Amy Scott works with PreCognitive ways of processing reality (info from it, should be) to find out mainly four differences (visionist, pictorialist, rationalist and sensationist ways), elliptically backing this way the crusade against unique-intelligence.
Finally (even if we could prolong this for hours), Neurogenesis is the proven capacity of our brain to generate new neuronal tissue all of the time, what of course will influence intelligence capacities and potential in many different ways alongside our life.
So, ‘How can my son be intelligent in the future?’ is another fantastic question.
Who knows? I guess that granting them opportunities for Self-discovery, Self-awareness, and Self-growth in freedom and always adapted to their characteristics could be a marvelous idea.
To stimulate their permanent curiosity can also be benefitial (to ‘create the spark’, as my colleague Dino Salinas says). Curiosity is peared to intelligence by many ones, including Zig Zigglar, and a recent pubblication of the journal Neuron, swears curiosity improves learning and memory, two factors that we can perfectly link to intelligence.
‘Curious’ about more? Just make your intelligent research! Wish you the best on this.
‘Til the Next one,
(HOW OUR BRAIN LEARNS, AND HOW TO TEACH TO IT)
Described currently as an ‘emerging scientific field’, Neuro-education involves interdisciplinary work from researchers in cognitive neuroscience, developmental cognitive neuroscience, educational psychology, educational technology, education theory, and other disciplines.
The rich, productive approach between neuro-researchers and educators is, indeed, still recent and in an embryonic state, even if the first scenarios seem to paint enthusiastic futures for enhancing human beings’ capacity to grow through learning.
From the whole range of possibilities, the first successes seem to come from the methodologic side, where educators are ‘learning to teach’ every time in a more neuro-adapted way, what is: creating stimuli to implement in the class, or training room their high didactic knowledge in the most profitable way for true brain’s capacities of (learning) process.
SOME NECESSARY ADAPTIONS…
Given the (proven) fact that our brain’s best capacities rely on how much/well interconnected its different areas are (rather than how big, or how many they are), we come to the initial conclusion that watertight compartments (isolated topics) are ‘anti-brain’. Neuro-activation always happens in several areas at the same time, never in ‘only one of them, isolated’.
In other words, to get people involved ‘only in algebra’ during 2 hours, and then the same with literature or music, could be seriously improved by promoting integrative, transversal, combinative, interdisciplinary methodologies that will match better the way in which our brain functions, essentially.
Going more in detail, even the group activities normally proposed in the room could aim towards the same goal by getting every group working on complementary parts of a whole that will be in the end the overall, combined result.
Pleasure seems to be the best friend of effective learning, thus being convenient to look for emotional implication in the learning processes to grant them happening the best possible way (happily 🙂). The amygdala (limbic system) implication in emotional management during a learning process is huge…
…even if the most primary functions (reptilian brain) are also crucial in education and learning models assimilation…
…as well as the most evolved side of our brain (neocortex) allows us to cope with complex calculation, musical composition, etc., what comes to show how the great 3 areas are combined and complementary in terms of learning.
‘GUTTA CAVAT LÁPIDEM’ (the drop perforates the stone)…
This metaphor of persistence defines well how repeated learning processes build respective neuronal connections in stronger way (as well as when we train some muscles frequently for them to progressively grow): positive reinforcement of dynamic, emotionally intense approaches to constructive topics will shape this type of spontaneous attitude from our students every time we introduce a new point by following this pattern.
Always convenient to vary some aspects of the implementation in order to play with confident recognition (that reinforces) and pleasant innovation (that motivates).
RAISING THE ATTENTION CURVE…
Unexpected elements, tricks, etc. inside the training room always raise the audience’s level of attention (automatism from our brain in order to better address thoughts to the best reply for the given situation, problem, challenge, etc.).
Beyond the usual topic, individuals’ brains vary from each other in several aspects regarding maturation respect to different fields or areas, genetics heredity, emotional reply to stressing factors, process of the diverse perceptive channels in terms of acknowledgement, decision-making paths, etc.
Psychological, cultural, social, metabolic, biologic factors (among several others) condition normally a specific relationship between each member of our public and learning.
As much as possible, would be great to go on knowing about these different angles to adjust our approach in order to maximize their profit from the experience, and respective growth.
SOME CURRENT NEURO-THREADS
Birkbeck University and the University College (both in London) together with some other prestigious scientific evolution forums are backing several research projects in this emerging field, some of them so specific, all of them enriching (humble personal opinion), as i.e.:
- How our spatial ability (useful to pack a suitcase, for example) can predict a person’s science and mathematical potential (Prof. Emily Farran, UCL Institute of Education)
- How to improve students’ ability to inhibit irrelevant previous knowledge when learning new concepts, thanks to specific software (Denis Mareschal and others, Birbeck/UCL/Learnus)
- How to develop educational material adapted to children and youngsters’ cognitive and perceptual systems/ difficulties with multimodal information (Natasha Kirkham, Birbeck)
Again, and through the previous examples, the methodologic side seems to be the great benefited, before conceptual implications …until now.
As with every embryonic reality, the best is surely still to come, and the good news is: we educators can count already on lots of applicable insights from the current state of development of neuro-education, as well as to verify that good part of what we came doing was already good (thank God). Nice advantage is now we know better why.
Now, and far from proposing recipes, it seems their brains will be healthily busy and happy if we manage things this way:
THEORY: meaningful, varied, attractive, in funny or intense emotional way, well contextualized and interrelating different topics, with permanent explanation of their usefulness→ good to leave to audience the last two, at least at relevant level, in order for them to play active role in the building of the development. Intentionally incomplete stages start their curiosity up, what means more motivation to go forward. Some room for eventual debate appeals also to manage and express ideas from own freedom and with social respect.
PRACTICE: clearly defining objectives, creating proper atmosphere (music, mobiliary set-up, people organization –individual? …little groups? …big groups?), playing with some competitive challenge, even if creating for each group a complementary part of the whole in the end, giving to each member or strategically built group tasks adapted to their best potential, keeping permanently able to expand explanation or clarify eventual doubts, taking evident and open profit from the audience’s contribution and interrelating every achievement to build an integrated, connected general result. Clear reflection and projection to practical application of the achievements in real-life scenarios.
BREAKS: strategically placed to manage attention curve, long enough for the brain to change activity during a while (it functions in different way during breaks, with more wholistic activity and getting ready for the next ‘challenge’), and always acting as rhythmic elements inside the overall path (by connecting different topics, creating necessary ‘blank’ for subconscious work or as a low reflection period, etc.).
CHORAL EFFECT: every side (theoretical, practical, breaks) should integrate the whole in harmonic way, always letting public play a relevant role in the overall construction, and leaving them at the same time happy because of feeling they have grown + motivated and willing ‘more’ afterwards.
‘Till the next one!
(TRAINING’S IMMENSE POTENTIAL FOR BUILDING GROWTH)
‘- Please, don’t follow me!’ sounds today almost sacrilegious, in a social-media world in which ‘followers’ mean success. Quantity over quality, just to begin.
‘- Please follow yourself …and grow!’ I’d prefer, instead, as leitmotiv to interact with people in a class or training room.
If educators copy social-media ‘tendencies’ (a fashion word there, by the way), we should get naked in front of our students both to reward them (for having followed our session with high attention) or to raise their level of engagement with our stuff, eventually. It seems that lot of ‘influencers’ ‘it-girls or boys’, etc. are choosing this curious way of adding zeros to their followers figures.
The field of immediacy (instant gratification by clicking here and there) and the one of depth (by clicking ‘On’ in our brains’ potential for maximizing their capacities to be the best possible ourselves).
Educators can do a lot for their audiences to activate this ‘On’ voluntarily while enjoying (yes, learning can be gratifying from the initial spark) a shared experience aiming to stimulate their critical thinking, creative thinking, systemic thinking, strategic thinking …to THINK, definitely.
Philosopher José Carlos Ruiz speaks about the current times as ‘the cult of the instant, the priority of the immediate, the hyperactivity not to lose those tendencies that promise us happiness now’. A herd of hurried donkeys running towards the giant carrot would be perhaps too hard as analogy, who knows…
Prof. Dino Salinas (Universitat de València) says, by his part, that ‘something has to get started’ inside a class or training room, what obviously refers to this ‘On’ activation, leaving in the audience conscious or unconscious will of ‘more’ after leaving the room.
For people to avoid being part of the ‘donkeys herd’ by building perspective on reality in order to make their responsible choices through careful reflection.
To get rid of the isolation individuals are getting into (interacting more with their phones than with true humans directly) for growing awareness on how really connected their actions are to others’ reality. True repercussion beyond a ‘Like’ under a post.
To ask themselves ‘Why’ before taking their decisions, and ‘What for’ to verify it’s another brick on their growth building, a new step towards well-identified goals in their life. To analyze circumstances and look for the best possible choice in the end.
To improve the search of solutions in order to grow higher, faster, more properly towards the chosen goal(s). Freedom to build the ‘own way’ instead of copying or following others because ‘is trendy’.
From the huge variety of typologies of thoughts I like the precedent ones because of certain complementarity among them, and (mainly) because we educators have many tools to boost their development in our beloved audiences.
Let’s close with some relative tips:
CRITICAL THINKING needs to stimulate REFLECTION in order to COMPREHEND.
To begin, a close approach to the students’ own reality is convenient, followed by analytical focus on their environment and the construction of a conscious + participative link to it.
Analysis of printed or published news could prove useful to ‘scan’ key aspects as possible intentions and goals from the authors/media, true credibility and in what degree, inner solidity through proper nexus between initial premise and conclusions, etc. Also, a comparison between the different lenses of opposing media on the ‘same’ news can put light on the thing.
There’s a difference between being pushed to run in the middle of the flow, and knowing where we want to go (together with where the flow is going).
SYSTEMIC THINKING needs to work on true EMPATHY and VISION of the BIG PICTURE.
To become aware of our belonging to systems since our childhood (family, social class, school, culture, country, company, club, society, mankind, etc.) and respective influence from our specific role is key side of the thing here: sense of responsibility grows together with awareness of the impact our decisions and actions have in other members of every system.
Empathetic approach to others, together with responsible behavior will benefit coexistence in whatever systemic frame, and it can be worked inside the room through role-plays with different roles assigned to each individual on a proposed systemic situation. Causes and consequences of what happened there can be analytically approached afterwards.
So healthy to link empathetically to others instead of just counting how many of them are my ‘friends’ in this or that social network.
STRATEGIC THINKING is mainly about knowing WHAT we want and HOW to ACHIEVE this.
A so much needed start should be, then, to know what we want. Then an open approach to reality will show different alternatives from which it should be useful to choose the ones best adapted to our possibilities, in order to get our goals easier and earlier.
Problem-solving exercises at different levels can contribute to develop the strategic paths, with clear consideration of the context, realistic possibilities, eventual risks and rewards, etc.
A wide, long-term vision is priority number 1 for strategists, what puts the thing aside from closed, instant surface reactions (typical of the social media high-speed rhythms).
CREATIVE THINKING allows us to FIND NEW solutions to reality, or even to create NEW REALITY, even if sounding pretentious.
Key side of mankind evolution, creativity uses divergent ways (proposal of several possibilities) to solve existing problems or challenges. Originality, flexibility and fluidity are the 3 pillars on which the process will be relying. An open, creative mind will be capable of improvisation when needed, and of finding alternatives to break barriers.
Brainstorming types of activities can work inside a class or training room, always properly managed and led by the educator as facilitator, following some necessary rules, as i.e. initial work on people’s trust for saying theirs with confidence, complete freedom of proposals for putting the logical filter only afterwards (whenever every suggestion has been expressed), etc.
Awareness about our capacity to create is necessary, and sometimes the worst barrier is an inner voice (always wrong) telling us ‘we are not creative’. Again, openness and flexibility should be all of the time ingredients for the creative person, that will rely a lot on the own capacity to find the path, instead of always following others.
SOCIAL MEDIA are, independently from what kind of relationship we have with them, full of potential for everybody to prove useful to their society. Let’s leave this so clearly stated.
Another story is HOW we decide to use them, to interact with (and through) them, etc. Well used, they can prove key side of an educative strategy that looks for people growth!
Educators, trainers, professors, teachers …can definitely be huge INFLUENCERS in their audiences’ growth based on dignity, humanity, respect, and other values.
Our simple talk on any topic will always provoke real-time modifications in the students’ neuronal tissues …we modify their brains! Perhaps it looks impressive as instant reply, even if in the long term, we can also have huge influence in fostering peoples’ independence of criteria, critical perspective, mature sense of responsibility, solid growth capacity, etc.
And, best of all, we don’t have to get naked for this 🙂
‘Till the next one!
TEACHING‘? …IT’S ABOUT ‘LEARNING’!
(WHERE THE WEIGHT SHOULD BE IN CONSTRUCTIVE EDUCATION)
Verbal and Linguistic intelligence, Mathematical and Logical intelligence, Visual and Spacial intelligence, Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence, Musical intelligence, Interpersonal intelligence, Intrapersonal intelligence, Naturalistic intelligence, Existential intelligence.
And education systems put normally emphasis ONLY in Mathematics and Literacy!
Dr. Howard Gardner’s research on multiplicity of types of intelligence (the nine that open this article at the moment, even if it seems to be an ‘ongoing’ process of discovery) call for our attention, dear educators of the world. Are we really working for this diversity?
Or we’re still anchored by inertia in the traditional, rationalistic concept about intelligence being our students’ ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, and so on?
David Kolb did a lot about the necessary diversity in education offer by identifying four different learning styles in people, based on preferences respect to ‘choices’ in two parallel ‘axes’: the Feeling-Thinking (perception), and the Doing-Watching (process of experience) ones.
So, if you prefer to Feel (concrete experience) and Watch (reflective observation) your favorite style is the Diverging one. If, instead, you Think (abstract conceptualization) and Watch, Assimilating is your style. In case of you preferring to Think and Do (active experimentation) afterwards, your style is the Converging one. Finally, if you normally Feel and Do, it’s about the Accomodating style of learning.
Again, do we have teaching reply for this diversity?
As ‘reality’ is about perceptions, let’s also remember Dr. Robert Dilts research (together with other relevant personalities in NLP ones) regarding representational systems of perception in human beings or, in other words, what favorite sense channels we use to link with the universe around (a training session or university class included).
As an average, it seems that 70% of our students are mainly visual perceivers of reality, what means they use more both vision (external sense) and visualization (internal process through our inner representational systems) than the resting ways of connection.
Another 20% rather prefers the auditory channels (both to listen externally or to internally sonorize) in order to build their version of reality.
And the resting 10% belongs to the complex kinesthetic (introspective) type of perceivers, half of them being emotionally introspective (process through sensations, feelings, emotions) with the other half aiming to the rational process of information (inner dialog + logical reflection).
Nice news for teachers, trainers and professors is that with proper audio-visual stuff we have 90% of public in our pockets 🙂 Then we’ll do our best to ‘reach’ the introspective ones.
Only if we care about (again) this evident diversity in our audiences.
Benjamin Bloom and his well known ‘taxonomy’ speak about progressive, growing levels of mastery of knowledge through a path that goes from knowledge level (capacity to remember and repeat data and information) to evaluation one (judgement on material and methods respect to the learning unit’s purposes).
In the meanwhile, we can find these other four levels: comprehension (knowing what is being communicated + explaining relationship between different data), application (higher quantity of elements than previous level + use of abstractions in concrete situations), analysis (decomposition of a given problem into its constitutive parts + discovery of relationship between them), and synthesis (to form a meaningful whole with initial parts or elements that were disperse).
I bet on majority of education professionals being aware of this diversity, and testing it permanently for moving learning experiences forward always the best possible way.
In the scientific world, in the academic one, and in others with similar characteristics, we usually find lot of examples of egos looking for recognition to own brilliancy and capacity. Wanting to look as almost unreachable sources of light and impressive knowledge. Good.
Precisely because of this should be necessary to remember that our didactic task is a service task mainly. We are there because of them.
IT’S ABOUT LEARNING.
Also for newcomers in the education field that can probably feel nervous, anxious or doubtful about their capacity to run a class or session. Please remember: it’s about them!
Whole focus on our audiences, then, and we’ll forget about ourselves (if we are there, is because we deserve to be there) by putting full attention in our people: who they are, how they are, what they need. Relief to ourselves + better service to them. Good business!
Hope this can prove useful, and leave you in peace now, ‘cause I have to prepare myself to look brilliant to my next students, er… I have to work hard in preparing the best possible experience for them, the best adapted to their needs and wants. The one approaching them the most to their goals.
That’s it! ‘Till the next time.
MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE
(HOW UNIVERSITY EVOLVES FOR THE COMING TIMES)
‘Pandidakterion’, the Constantinople university created by the year 340 B.C., is perhaps the first example of what we consider ‘a university’ today. How can it be defined, b.t.w.?
Etimologically, ‘Pandidakterion’ sounds like the sum of ‘Pan’ (from Greek παν : everything), ‘Didaskein’ (again Greek, διδάσκειν : to teach), and ‘Tekne’ (of course, also Greek tékʰnɛ : art), what would be resulting in: ‘The Art of Teaching Everything’ 🙂 This coincides with the ‘Pan’ meaning of ‘Vniversitas’ itself (the universe, the whole), first assigned to the one of Bologna in the 14th century.
In medieval times the magistrȯrum (Latin for professors) and schȯlarum (Latin too: academics) were communities or guilds around which several university institutions begun to take shape.
Until here, the ‘MEMORIES’. Now let’s touch ‘THE FUTURE’ to complete the main subject’s stuff:
First thing on it should be to highlight its unpredictability, as Sir Ken Robinson clearly remarks in his brilliant talks about education, creativity, and some other marvelous ingredients of the human growth recipe.
The ever growing diversity and specialization we live today in practically every field of our existence is producing a consequent variety of high level studies offer in myriad of forms. From the millennial institutions (Bologna itself, Qarawiyyinn in Morocco, Oxford, Córdoba, Paris, etc.) to the ‘Disney University’ that offers a ‘Ducktorate Degree’ 🙂 and is (of course) more a global training program for the company’s employees than an orthodox ‘university’.
Same happens with the ‘Invisible University’ (tribute to the Palo Alto one, so inspiring in terms of creating knowledge) that we developed for the SELLBYTEL/OMNICOM Group, as an organized body of seven career plans with three different levels each, all of this adapted to the company needs.
One thing is granted: almost whatever thing we want to do in life counts on respective path of development until highest levels (in big majority of cases under the umbrella of a university degree, or so).
Another thing is evident: some good universities are the place where to research for building the future mankind will live in. The point is: what is the universities’ future?
Prof. Dr. Anke Hanft (scientific director in C3L University) visualizes future academic teaching and continuing education as necessarily individualized and online-based, as a way to adapt to the evidence of the increasing heterogeneity of the student body over the world.
Prof. Subhash Kak (electric and computer engineering in Oklahoma University) adds the point of preparation for a technology-enabled future in order for universities to upgrade adaption to coming needs, as they’re now mainly worried about competition from schools or training systems using online learning technology (what is good) instead of more focus on how automation and artificial intelligence technologies are rapidly transforming manufacturing, corporate work, business, etc.
Prof. Zahir Irani (dean at University of Bradford) puts the emphasis on the need of becoming more interdisciplinary, as current universities are still caught by so traditional departmental structures that prevent research and education from evolving.
Harry Tenant humorously says that today ‘moving a university is like moving a cemetery: you can’t expect any help from the inhabitants’ 🙂 while aiming also towards a huge virtualization that will end with our whole universities in the cloud, claiming for current times as ‘the end of the university as we know it’.
Finally, researchers like Henry Etzkowitz, Andrew Webster, or Christiane Gebhardt speak about the university evolution towards the future from ‘ivory tower’ to ‘entrepreneurial paradigm’, explaining the enhanced role in technological innovation that universities begin to play in this emerging new paradigm, precisely. Going deeper, they say that this academic transition as an economic development strategy (encouraged by Governments) changes the relationship between knowledge producers and users, being a global phenomenon with an isomorphic developmental path.
And I was just reflecting on how future should always prove better than past if we really evolve, while visiting the former main building (still in use) of the European University in Ganduxer street, Barcelona, where I was involved in some academic areas a long decade ago. I met later on some of my students of this time in big companies, where they always demonstrated the solid preparation received during their years in this institution.
And the EU is also growing, changing and evolving (new buildings, higher structure, even better quality of academic offer, etc.).
‘- Am I prepared for the university of the future?’ asked myself during my reflection. ‘- Doing my best’ was the (perhaps first-reaction) reply.
Great Albert Einstein said once (one from several quotes attributed to him, in this case a real one 🙂) that ‘It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge’, and I have always tried to remember key points of this thought while taking academic, or training roles in general.
Let’s hope that in the university of the future both joy and creativity co-exist with knowledge …for our future students to keep as ‘awake’ as possible! 🙂
And, mainly, let’s hope that every involved actor in the overall thing remembers Protagoras: ‘phantom hristos metron Anthropos neiei’→ Man is the unit for everything, then: university should be built always around the human being, and for its benefit as the final goal.
‘Til the next one.
ORGANIZATIONAL KNOWLEDGE DEVELOPMENT
‘Intangible’ is, like knowledge, what exists even without palpable physical form, and can generate effects in this existence’s context (an organization, for instance).
When Ikujiro Nonaka and Hirotaka Takeuchi tell about ‘tacit knowledge’ and ‘explicit knowledge’ as factors of organizational development that work in spiral (internalized and externalized knowledge flows that come from the individual to enrich the organization) they are convinced about the need of an explicit will (from the organization) of caring and developing its knowledge with dignity, for granting goals as i.e. enduring benefits→ their mission as social entities. Without this intention, the system would remain just an archetype, a structure without true meaning.
Thus, innovation and competitive advantages arise from clear will of stimulating the intellectual and creative capacity in the organization members, who favor (by social interaction within the workplace) the dynamics of both tacit and explicit knowledge until materialization in products, services and systems of success.
According to these authors, in addition, a key for Japanese business success is permeability and opennes towards environment knowledge (from suppliers, customers, distributors, competitors…) that is intentionally ‘imported’ until getting integrated in the own corporative identity, from which is being regenerated in innovative + creative way for turning back to the environment afterwards in the form of new products or services, already mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The so called ‘fluctuation and creative chaos’ phase is, within the structural complexity of these processes, the one that stimulates the relationship between the organization members and the environment, with the consequent break of patterns, habits, and usual states (by facing evident differences with those found outside) and the linked opportunity for creative reflection and proposal of change.
KNOWLEDGE AND ITS PRODUCTIVE MANAGEMENT
The growing importance of knowledge as a driving factor for production has spurred interest of companies and organizations of the knowledge society (precisely) in its strategic management.
Dr. David Rodríguez (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) highlights the convenience of Knowledge Management for key aspects such as the capture and promotion of good practices, retention of staff knowledge, promotion of organizational training and learning, improvement in users and clients’ satisfaction, increase of benefits, development of competitive intelligence, etc.
Thus, from the organizational will to work on the development of knowledge and also having valid tools and strategies for its management and profit, it is important to verify that the appropriate conditions are offered for the ‘mechanism’ to work, that is: freedom and dignity of each member to feel useful protagonist both in the externalization (projection of their tacit knowledge towards the organization, making it explicit) and in the internalization (assimilation of organizational knowledge from the learning and experience of others, to incorporate it into the base of own knowledge).
The values linked to the knowledge management strategy are fundamental, both social and economic values, which together will make possible greater survival of the organization respect to mechanistic visions only linked to productivity without further ado.
Amrit Tiwana, a follower of Thomas Davenport and his contributions in the management of knowledge for business, attaches great strategic importance to the design capacity of organizational resources (departments, qualified personnel, etc.) for the strategic management architecture and the integration of existing infrastructure (practical point of view), which invites us to highlight this sector with special emphasis:
Who will be responsible for the delicate task of promoting growth and success of the organization from the effective management of the complexity of factors inherent in the creation, administration and profitable use of knowledge?
The assumption and recognition of the essential corporate values as a starting point will surely precede a careful exercise of permanent communication between the organization leaders and those in charge of knowledge management, to later verify that all the human group that composes this organization ‘beats’ harmonically promoting the whole in a homogeneous and dynamic way, creating, incorporating, modifying, optimizing and proposing useful knowledge to achieve the common goals.
AT THE LABORATORY…
The administration of training and learning knowledge gets key specific importance, and will depend on respective departments within the general organization (usually HR, or directly Training in some cases).
Its role in the creation of knowledge, respective strategic analysis and professional support to operations in real time and permanently adapted to the needs and circumstances of the current changing competitive world is of obvious importance.
Thus, the ‘knowledge about knowledge’ applied there will directly affect the remaining areas of the organization, as beneficiaries of the effects of each training action. The biology of learning, or its neurology, together with the educational contributions of specialists in various related fields (the list would be endless, although I would like to mention Howard Gardner→intelligence, Rosa Sensat→learning, Humberto Maturana→biology, James McGough→neurology, Donald Kirkpatrick→evaluation, David Kolb→adaptation or Daniel Kahneman→mental biases, among others) together with the practical lens of immediate application in context, will be decisive factors in a good part of the organization’s knowledge management success.
Internal and external communication, also normally managed by specific areas or departments, will prove strategically important in the dynamics of knowledge flows (internalizing or externalizing, tacit or explicit, strategic, practical, human, technical, etc.) that will determine the future of good part of the organization’s success.
‘Til next time!
The other day, talking to a colleague in the SELLBYTEL Group, we were agreeing on how strategically important it is to boost a company’s growth through well directed training. The point is: WHAT kind/type of trainer and session is the most appropriate in any case?
From my part, this is what I have always taken into account in order to assess both Trainers and Training sessions:
To evaluate a Trainer, Teacher, Professor, or so, we can begin by 3 key topics regarding goals, active involvement, and checking.
a) Permanent attention to goals to be achieved, aiming everything happening during the session to the respective concretion, including the unexpected things.
b) Fostering active participation from audience, in order to build a useful + entertaining learning dynamism in which every participant feels involved because of ‘building’ the experience through their contributions.
c) Effective checking (verification) about main subject/topics having been assimilated and retained by the attendees, what grants further application when needed.
Their didactic use of humor, metaphors, or questions (to reflect, motivate, check involvement or knowledge from audience, etc.) will always add positive stuff when included into the evaluation.
Finally, more generic aspects as i.e. how the Trainer creates ‘atmosphere’, their character and interactive style, or the kind of attention to public and learning process in real time will round a deep + accurate assessment in the end.
On the other hand, and regarding Sessions themselves, we normally pay attention to:
a) Session being balanced and homogeneous as a whole, following in addition an easy-to-assimilate progression that fosters comprehension.
b) For it to be clear (main points being evident, and easy to understand) + entertaining (proper inner dynamism) at the same time.
c) Should be always useful to the audience’s interests and goals, what means: for them to grow or to improve the key topics to master and apply after the session.
Better if the experience itself starts something in every attendee (as the spark produces fire), in order for them to get out the room wanting to go for more.
From the practical side, good if oral + audiovisual + graphic (+ etc. 🙂) communication of the main points is effective enough for people to understand them quickly and easily.
And of course, being the orthodox definition of ‘Training’ as simple as ‘sharing knowledge’, this (Knowledge) becomes main aspect to be evaluated in the overall thing.
‘Till the next one!
Our core activity since decades, the creation of didactic units (courses, impact modules, seminars, didactic areas or programs, strategic improvement, etc.) remains, at least to us at bf©, a fascinating process that involves many aspects in order for the product to prove entertaining, and useful at the same time.
A didactic need is, as in every divergent process, the initial spark to start managing ideas that should be creative enough to propose something new, and logical enough to prove useful+understandable by big majority of targeted public in their true student or professional life.
Once a set of ideas comes to our minds, the natural selection process (similar to the one happening in a ‘brainstorming’ exercise) filters them all to leave on the table only the most fruitful, applicable ones.
The ‘how’ enters then into action: we need to arm the didactic unit in a way that grants progressive assimilation in fresh, interesting, entertaining way, in order to motivate public to really want to learn.
Finally, the true arena to test the thing will be the learning experience inside a training room, varying the level and kind of exigence always depending on the goals to be achieved and, mainly, the public itself.
For knowledge developers, the fact that every ‘first time’ is the checking time remains being a reality that normally remembers about the scientific method: trial and error before definitive achievement. So: the second time is normally the best one 🙂
In our professional career, the influence of people like the nuclear physicist and teacher Jaume Jorba i Bisbal proved kind of a turning point, by adding rigor to the creative process in general.
Better structured afterwards, our path of action follows his adviced four steps: Epistemological (knowledge itself, including trusted sources + authors, etc.), Sociological (focus on public and their goals to be achieved through our didactic unit), Psychological (our favorite one: the ‘how’ or way of managing the unit together with the audience for their maximum profit), and Didactic (practical approach to the thing from previous contact, consultation, etc., with colleagues or institutions having worked in similar subjects/areas before, in order to ask for their advice and useful comments).
What is needed in every phase of development? Good information about best authors and sources that can be compatible or, by the contrary, useful to start enriching debates … certainty on the main goals from the public, what is to say: what will be expected from them after having attended our creation … ability to build a dynamic, progressive, entertaining experience for them inside the room, while granting maximum learning level (this means knowledge about the learning process in human beings, some traits of audiovisual design and syntax of the visual image, etc.) … and good contacts in order to check together with them our product before starting up with the first delivery in front of the public.
In other words, a fantastic class or session that leaves attendees wowed is rarely product of casual alignment of stars in the sky, but the final result of a huge set of previous linked actions aiming to produce solidity (rational profit) in appealing way (emotional atmosphere).
Hope you liked! Next time we’ll touch the (perhaps bit more complex) Organizational Knowledge Development, a key side of best companies’ inner volcano of success in their respective markets.
‘Till the next one.
Fertile: capable of generating useful knowledge for the trainees.
Understandable: with capacity to clearly express meaning + usefulness of every topic.
Nice: able to provoke a pleasant, confident atmosphere where to grow by learning.
Yes, definitely, a trainer should be FUN if wanting to succeed. Albert Einstein said that the main responsibility for every teacher is to ‘shake’ knowledge in the room, for people there to get truly interested, and motivated to learn.
Fertile in the capacity to manage genetic ideas on how to cope with a future didactic unit (class, session, seminar, course, program, etc.), and to filter them until keeping the best, most useful ones.
Understandable in the way of canalizing these ideas into an easy-to-assimilate and to-follow path, that will take into account human learning process (rhythm, progression, level of complexity, etc.).
Nice from the huge need of bringing positive energy for fruitful interaction (active participation from audience, please!) in the room. Humor, use of key metaphors, story-telling, etc. are usual factors for success.
If learning is ‘a change of behavior thanks to experience’ (orthodox definition), let’s build the FUNniest experience possible for them 🙂
DMA · DIDACTIC MENTAL ANCHORING TECHNIQUE© (ADVANCED TRAINING SKILLS)
From NLP (NeuroLinguistic Programming) we learn about the huge effectiveness of Mental Anchors to find relief against negative experiences or other blocking factors that limit our wellness, freedom, etc., in case of wanting to implement them for these purposes! → We’ve always insisted in this therapeutic possibility as a powerful ally for Coaches, i.e.
By association of spaces, ideas, memories, or sensorial stimuli linked to our behavior, emotions, or feelings we have created this phenomenon that acts as a bias in which the mind stays focused on only one simplified reference point. Some Mental Anchors tend to perpetuate, thus affecting permanently our ‘way of’. And big majority of them are subconsciously created, then: almost impossible to detect (and cure, if prejudicial to ourselves) consciously.
On the other hand: Positive Anchors can start always good stuff (confidence, positive attitude, will of growth, etc.).
Can they be an ally also to the Trainer?
LET’S WORK FOR CREATING THEM CONSCIOUSLY (IN A TRAINING SESSION, I.E.) FOR OTHERS TO GET BENEFITED BY THIS FANTASTIC ‘LEARNING BOOSTER’:
a) To provoke an EMOTION in the audience (i.e. a pleasant sensation, a surprising opportunity to get better, etc.).
b) To suggest a RATIONAL benefit they will engage with.
c) To CREATE the ANCHOR through a pattern of behavior (linked actions) that will influence their perception in positive way: helping them to (unconsciously) assimilate in well prioritized way (thus easing the task of comprehension itself), inserting deeper key thoughts or ideas, etc.
In a Communication course for beginners, I want to highlight 3 aspects (‘pillars’) from the whole session program: 1) The Power of Questions, to better receive. 2) The application of the Persuasive Triangle(*), to better emit. 3) The modern formula for Persuasion, to lead own interactions every time.
CREATION OF THE ANCHOR…
a) (EMOTION) I tell a joke for the audience to laugh (and lower inner –normal- defensive barriers) + cover them through friendly eye-contact (warmth, integration).
b) (RATIONAL BENEFIT) I remember them that we all came there to grow, to be stronger (what is also a persuasive suggestion, as perhaps some of them came there for different reasons that they tend to forget or put a bit aside while listening my message).
c) (PATTERN) I begin creating high expectation through ‘mystery’:
‘- If what comes now is the only thing you’ll remember from today, for me it’s OK!’
I draw, in silence, a big question mark on the board (visual perception, impact).
I look at them while pointing the drawing with my finger, and orally reveal the mystery –solution:
‘- In any human interaction, who makes the question, has the power’ (I raise my other hand fist up while pronouncing the last words).
The created pattern relies on the following set of actions:
c1) Oral creation of expectation (through mystery on what comes next).
c2) Silence + drawing something attached to the coming solution still ignored by them.
c3) Oral exposition of the solution (key idea or concept to insert in their minds) + Physical gesture, movement, action, to add eloquence to key (oral) emission.
After having solved this way the key-idea 1 (Power of Questions, in our case), we just repeat the pattern for the following ones, and their brains will be instantly keeping these new key points in the same ‘folder’ of so-important-things-to-remember, together with the initial idea.
This way, the Trainer is doing more than (just) emitting: is also influencing positively the reception, thus taking the whole communication cycle under control, for the public benefit.
Try this and tell us how it goes 🙂
‘Til the next one!
(*) Persuasive Triangle: emission in Positive, Certain, and Simple way→ more info in ‘COMMUNICATION = SUCCESS’ (from Bernardo Facta)