New thoughts of managing learner behaviours

(already posted to my Google+ stream)

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been doing some research and prep for an instructor development workshop. This is something we run in-house for the new folks just posted in to the School. The session I’ll be facilitating is on trainee behaviors.

I wanted to do a little digging beyond the CF resources to see what people were saying about managing these behaviors. My gut was also telling me that focusing exclusively on ‘negative’ behaviors put a bad spin on things. After all, as soon as you’ve been given a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

I made some interesting yet disturbing discoveries in the course of my research. First. It seems that healthcare – and primary care physician training in particular – is very, very good at documenting trainee behavior and how mentors/practitioners can manage or mitigate behaviors. Healthcare organizations in the UK seem particularly prolific in this regard.

The disturbing discovery was the dearth of literature on anything other than negative behaviors or “problem trainees”. Some folks went so fat as to label and type-cast the behavior types. As I kept digging, I wondered why everyone seemed so keen on flooding the knowledge pool with this negative “gotta fix the trainee” approach when there seems to be a greater cost to the educator if they a) cannot recognize the signs of learner engagement; and, b) don’t understand the potential cost of failing to promote and harness that engagement. I even reasoned that there could be a risk of mis-identifying a higher performer based on a superficial “label” when their performance doesn’t warrant such a superlative.

Granted, I don’t think I’m breaking radically new ground here, but maybe this is a breath of fresh air for educators to recognize that they have a duty to stimulate and promote positive behaviors and strong performance that might get lost if they are wondering if they have all the tools to “pluck the inevitable bad apples from the barrel”.

Surely we should be managing for the rule and not the exception?


About Mark L. Sheppard

learning geek, lifelong learner, terminally curious, recovering blogger and Ed Tech explorer.

Posted on August 18, 2011, in blog. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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