Friday, June 23, 2023

Techniques of Teaching: Motivation of Learning and Method of Teaching


Many of my friends have concluded through personal experience and observation that "the masters all use the lecturing method!" The following sentence is, "So the lecturing method is the secret skill of the masters!"


The first statement resonates with my own experience. I have attended a presentation by Peter Senge, the author of "The Fifth Discipline", where he lectured for a full 90 minutes using only two densely packed slides. I eagerly made the pilgrimage to attend in person and even got a photo with the master. Similarly, the management sage Kazuo Inamori gave a two-hour scripted talk in Japanese with subtitles. Despite this, I still felt a deep admiration for his dedication, traveling all the way to Taiwan to sit and speak for two hours!


So, if the masters all use the lecturing method, can you do the same in corporate training or general teaching?


Before I answer, let's conduct two thought experiments (which involve simulating scenarios in your mind). The first thought experiment is: if the two lectures were not given by the masters themselves, but by any audience member who stood on stage and repeated the master's words (especially in the case of the management sage, as the script was already prepared), do you think the effect would be the same? Would you still run to take a photo with the person who read the script after the lecture? Would you still admire them greatly for their excellent recitation?


The second thought experiment is: if it were the master themselves giving the same lecture, but the setting was a corporate training session with 20-30 corporate trainees, and these trainees didn't recognize the master and only knew they were attending a corporate training session (believe me, this is normal! I have conducted many on-site interviews! Many trainees only know they were told to attend training by their manager and know nothing about the course content or the trainer), how do you think they would feel after an hour of pure lecture?


I suspect that in the first thought experiment, if you were there and the master was absent, replaced by someone reading a script, the result might be vastly different. You might even leave outright!


In the second thought experiment, the lecturing method is used in corporate training. I had a real-life experience of this a few days ago. I was leading a practice class in Classroom A, while a lecture was being given in the adjacent Classroom B. Despite the soundproofing being poor and me being able to vaguely hear the class in Classroom B, I could confirm that the teacher lectured all day. During the break, I sneakily glanced into Classroom B and saw half of the students slumped over their desks while others sat with their eyes closed, seemingly meditating. The classroom environment felt a bit oxygen-deprived. The difference was: I didn't know if the teacher was a master or not, but the students were certainly having a rough time.

What I want to say is:

1. Masters are recognized as such because they possess insight, ideas, experience, and a track record of success. Therefore, it doesn't really matter how masters teach, speak, or act. To quote a common saying from my憲哥, "Who you are is more important than what you say..."


2. Further inference suggests that the title of "master" inherently strengthens students' motivation to learn. These events attract many who are intrinsically motivated to learn, and this strong drive often results in better learning outcomes. Regardless of the teaching method employed at the venue, even if it's purely lecturing, these highly motivated learners will take extensive notes and combine it with their personal experiences for reflection, which leads to abundant takeaways.


3. The reality is: in many corporate training scenarios, maintaining learning motivation is a challenge. For the company, providing education and training is a benefit; for the employees, they might want to avoid the upcoming day of training (especially if they're assigned by their supervisor). Even the most engaged trainees can get tired of continuous lecturing (due to the human inclination for variety), which is why there's a demand for teaching methods and techniques.


In truth, my view is simple: regardless of the teaching method used, as long as it's effective, that's all that matters!


Different teaching environments, learning motivations, and participation motives may result in different reactions from students. If, during your teaching, your students are extremely focused and attentive, there may be no need for you to change your teaching method. It's possible that you're the right teacher (master), or you've encountered the right students, or they have the right motives or attitudes, hence, the right teaching outcomes. If the results are effective, that's great!


However, if your students appear disinterested, show no signs of engagement, or even start to doze off (personally, I don't believe in sleep learning - XD), don't jump to conclusions that "this lesson is hard to teach", "these students lack motivation", or "I'm not famous enough"... These are not correct inferences! Some teachers might even resort to self-consolation like "as long as one person benefits, it's good enough", or "I'm here to guide those who are meant to learn", or "I did my best" (these are the top three excuses, which I'll elaborate on in another article). Consider this: regardless of the subject, there are always excellent teaching methods out there, you just might not be aware of them yet. I hope these articles on teaching techniques can share the know-how we've gathered from teaching in major corporations over the past decade, not only reducing trial and error for teachers but also making teaching more effective, interesting, and useful!

If these articles have been helpful to you, I'll continue to compile more when time allows. Alternatively, I might arrange a full-day in-person course on "Teaching Techniques" in the future. This could enable teachers who need to hone their teaching skills to reduce trial and error and accelerate their learning. Anyone interested in participating? Although, I should mention that I'm still not sure when I'll have the time to host it.



If you're interested in "Teaching Techniques" and related courses offered by SFCLASS LYD, you can fill out the course priority notification form below to stay updated on the latest course openings (so you won't miss out when courses are already full!). And don't worry, we won't spam you with advertisements when there's nothing happening XD

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