Louise's eLearning Blog

Posts Tagged ‘observations

How important is context to a successful &/or inspirational lecture?

This post is inspired by the variety of seminars, presentations, lessons etc. I have seen.

It is easy, I guess, when you are an expert on a particular subject to deliver content to groups of individuals. However I am beginning to question how difficult some people must find it to extract the key concepts from their subject specialism and link it to prior/alternative knowledge / understanding in order for their message to translate to individuals / groups from other areas / environments. As a result a topic that could be inspiring and/or enlightening could leave the ‘audience’ questioning the relevance (to them) of the speech / lesson, reducing the potential for personal &/or team growth.

Having been part of a variety of different observation (of teaching and learning) teams for over 5 years I have witnessed teachers who know their subject inside out, but are so immersed that they are not able to break down the content, or relate it to learners’ experience and understanding, to enable some students to even begin the learning process. Do they forget how they learnt in the first place or do they simply forget that they started from the same / similar place as many of their students and had to learn to reach the level they have?

Similarly when ‘celebrities’ are booked to deliver an ‘inspirational’ message, often as part of staff development / team building activities, they are usually briefed to ensure their delivery has the desired feel / outcome. However in the same way as some teachers, many get too involved in the detail of the subject and/or include personal opinions, which are in opposition to the ‘expected’ theme of the lecture.

For example: A lecture by an Olympic champion, aimed at promoting team building (as part of a merger process), fails to be as inspiring as it could be when too much time is spent describing the logistics of ‘the race’ and includes comments which show that he thinks some people shouldn’t have equal right to getting medals.
Positives that should have been exploited / emphasised throughout include goal setting and explaining why each member of a team having their own strengths / value results in organisational development.
It is interesting to see an Olympian enthusing about winning but if his speech is about how his targets & goals led to the Olympic games, the audience need to know what their ‘Olympics’ are – context needs adding so that they understand what are they working towards, to ensure that they see the value / relevance in setting targets & working towards goals for the good of the organisation as well as themselves.

In this particular instance it could have been more inspiring to have a ‘speech’ from a group of ‘local celebrities’ (like the Leeds Rhinos Rugby League team) who could have shown how and why team building/working is important through their own ‘many’ achievements, some of which relate directly to the merits of education.

This ‘mixed message’ can lead some members of the audience to question the validity and value of the session / training, which can be extremely negative for individuals and impact on organisational development.

In contrast: When a teacher / speaker has really grasped the concept of contextualising, often splitting down the content into smaller ‘pieces’, a subject comes alive and even individuals from diverse backgrounds are able to gain something from the message being delivered – from the (abstract) ideas integrated throughout the information being delivered.

Surely inspiring and enthusing individuals / groups, by contextualising content and adding relevance, is what anyone ‘delivering’ should be striving to achieve?


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