This question came up in a conversation with my colleague, and I am still thinking about it. My first response was a (usual passionate and confident) ‘Of course it is not!’ I later decided to think it over in more depth and add a paragraph post here.
Some background and context setting: we are now in the process of mapping out a small intensive ‘crash-course’ for new teacher trainers. The goal is to help experienced teachers raise awareness of what kind of skills working with teachers may involve, discuss some criteria for a (good) interactive workshop session for their colleagues, and then co-plan and co-deliver a workshop session based on ready-made materials provided.
One of the fears expressed by my colleague was that the process of in-depth reflection, processing the experiences, self-assessment, peer evaluation, analyzing the strengths and areas to work on, working out an action plan (and doing other reflective tasks) could feel ‘boring’ or ‘tiring’ for the audience. This concern was based on the teacher training experience in the past, when the course participants expected the sessions to be practical, with lots of ready-made activities and fun. The feedback to more ‘serious’ sessions was not as positive as the facilitator had expected.
Some thoughts I ‘caught’ while typing the paragraph above:
- the clarity of course goals and pre-course information is crucial, so that our potential participants could see what the course is (and is not) about and decide if they wanted to join;
- some pre-course check-in could be helpful to discuss this (and other!) potential concerns
- varying the formats of our course interaction, using different co-training patterns and roles
- staying alert to the group dynamics during the session (when a break might be needed, some clarification, an example, etc.) [Yes, these are all very basic and self-explanatory, I know!]
- balancing the kinds of trainer experience in focus: shared, vicarious, previous, guest speaker’s, etc.
- offering structures/frameworks for the reflective process
- asking for feedback [and listen to it!]
I wonder if we could/need to explicitly discuss the value of a dialogue as a part of reflective practice, being mentally engaged as opposed to having ‘fun’ (and how/when/why combining both is possible)
So, I don’t think the process of reflection is boring. What are your thoughts?
Thank you for reading!
P.S. March Paragraph Blogging looks very attractive: I have enjoyed reading the series of posts from Matthew and Sandy. Too late to join, but you may see some paragraph-y posts from me from time to time, I hope! 🙂