February 4, 2019
Teaching and training with praise and encouragement
If you're a high achiever, and have long since forgotten what it's like to learn something new, you are probably very disgruntled when you see celebrations of small achievements. I've known a lot of people like that, who for whatever reason decided to never challenge themselves to learn anything new after, for example, age 18. Or it could be 25, or 30, or wherever they decided that they knew it all. If that's you, well, I'm sorry, but I know it's not because those people think that they already know everything, and the last thing they would do would be to read this.
I teach and train with praise and encouragement. I decided on that technique when I started my teaching career simply because that's what works for me. I like praise and encouragement, even for little things. I'm not one of those people who sets out "prove 'em wrong" when I'm told I can't do something, I tend to agree with that right away, and give up. And in my experience the "prove 'em wrong" people really don't even exist, they just say that they do, from anger.
Being angry is no way to learn something new. And neither is being afraid to try. In spite of the phrase "there is no try, do", there really is try. And try again. And try again. And try again. And at some point there will be do. And that's cause for celebration.
My specialty has always been doing the beginning classes in computer software. What I found is that the advanced classes are easier, but the beginning ones are more satisfying to me. I love seeing the "light bulb" go on over someone's head, I love the feeling of seeing achievement, however small. It's a wonderful sense of moving forward. And even if someone falters, and falls back, they can get back on track and move forward again.
On a very personal note, after a serious injury that I had many years ago, I had to relearn many things, like walking. And to my amazement I found that there were people who could break tasks into small pieces, and who encouraged, and praised. I learned to walk again, and it really was one tiny wobbly step at a time.
So here's what I suggest: Praise and encourage. No, I don't mean celebrating mediocrity - I mean celebrating achievement. When you see it, it's wonderful.
Posted by Brad Hall