Friday, June 23, 2023

Techniques of Teaching: I just want to simply Lecturing, couldn't I?

I've writtten series of article about "Techniques of Teaching". From A variety of interact skills, to different method to of a course. Even how to desidn a course, how to decide your training goal, what is different between small classroom and big lecture, and the golden triangle of learning theories... 

As I approach the end, I find it somewhat surprising: teaching a course well actually involves a considerable amount of knowledge and techniques!

But there's a voice in my head saying, "If I don't want to use any teaching techniques and simply rely on storytelling, would that be unacceptable?" I believe this is a question many teachers have in mind...

Telling is the Norm

Of course, storytelling is the norm in teaching! You don't need to learn any "teaching techniques." The most natural and straightforward approach for any teacher is to stand in front of the class and tell a story. The teacher speaks, and the students listen. This is the learning method we have been exposed to and accustomed to in the past.

In my learning experiences, I have attended many fascinating lectures, such as those given by Yan Changshou, Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, and a few courses in my EMBA and doctoral programs. Storytelling is a simple and natural teaching and instructional format that requires no special training. I believe all teachers are capable of it.

The Challenge of Good Storytelling

While storytelling may not be difficult, doing it well is a different matter. Personally, I find it quite challenging. It involves two critical factors: the speaker's skills and the audience's willingness.

Let's first talk about the speaker's skills. Good storytelling requires solid content! It depends on the speaker's fundamental abilities. Additionally, effective expression is crucial. Apart from the content itself, how the story is delivered—vibrant, understandable, informative, and interesting, using numerous anecdotes, examples, and accompanying materials—is essential. During a relatively lengthy storytelling process, the speaker must continuously capture the audience's attention, stimulating students' motivation to learn. Only then can it be considered an outstanding storytelling experience.

You might have another thought at this point: "If my material is solid and informative, why should I be concerned about showmanship or presentation techniques?"

That's a valid point! However, as I mentioned earlier, effective storytelling also considers the second element: student motivation.

Student Motivation and Learning Outcomes

If students have a high level of motivation to learn, the quality of storytelling becomes less important! Students will learn on their own, figure things out by themselves! When students have a strong intrinsic or extrinsic drive, such as needing to understand essential knowledge, passing an exam, or learning key skills they are genuinely interested in—whatever the internal or external factors that compel them—they will find ways to learn, regardless of the quality of the teacher's storytelling. This is actually the perfect scenario! It's like many times when we self-study, we don't even need a teacher to guide us!

The Norm and the Non-Norm

So, if a teacher has strong storytelling skills or students have a strong motivation to learn, under these two circumstances, there is no need to apply any "teaching techniques." The course will undoubtedly be effective!

But let me ask you... What do you think the majority of teaching environments are like? Do teachers have strong storytelling abilities, or do students have strong motivation? Or is it... something else?

I was inspired this morning, and I welcome everyone to share their experiences. What do most teaching environments (whether you are a teacher or a student) look like? ^^

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