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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 21-Jul-06


Friday 21-Jul-06 

2-3-4 Training

There's a saying about educators that is most certainly true: Once a teacher, always a teacher. I taught for a while in high school many years ago and got bitten by the bug. It's so great to see the light going on in others' eyes. Since then, across a checkered career, I've often found opportunity to tread the boards.

Along the way, I've developed a structure for training sessions that works well. I used it recently in a professional persuasion training session where, as ever, it went down a storm.

Start off with a case study. This is a written story about a situation around the teaching topic. In the persuasion class I taught, it was a fragment of dialogue from a rather acrimonious negotiation. This gets the learner's brain into action early on, whilst keeping them in the emotionally safe 'third person' position. This allows them to be critical without fear of hurting themselves or others.

Then do a more traditional chalk-and-talk piece that you can use to explain something of what is going on in the case study. This connects what might otherwise be dry theory to a practical situation that is already embedded in the learner's mind. I typically use anywhere from five to twenty Powerpoint slides (often around ten) for this. The learner here is in the second position, with you doing most of the talking, although you should still engage them, for example asking them how what you are teaching relates back to the case (and then to real life).

Finally, do a role-play, where they are in the first person, making the choices and feeling the consequences. When teaching interpersonal skills it can help to do this with three people, where two people interact and the third observes (from the third position) and then gives objective feedback. We also have a discussion and summary when people get back to the main classroom.

I call this 2-3-4 training, as I generally split the time for the sessions in this ratio. I can thus do four 90 minute blocks in one day by having 20, 30 and 40 minute sessions for each of the three parts. This also ensures I don't fall into the trainer's trap of getting Powerpoint-happy.

My results by using this method have been remarkably consistent. If you do any training, perhaps you do something similar. Otherwise, you may like to give it a go!

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