3 simple rules to grow your class, into a learning community

This week my son told me how one of the kids in his class changed his ZOOM name to “reconnecting” in order to avoid being asked questions. It wasn’t long before the whole class were ”reconnecting”, and only then did the teacher fall in.

Needing to encourage active participation is not something unique to remote teaching, but the tools and techniques we might successfully employ in the classroom, don’t always translate online. The forced move to remote delivery has amplified some familiar challenges, but its also revealed some new and unfamiliar ones too.

We first adapted a blended approach to training in 2008 and grew our class from 20 people in one room, to an active and connected training community of 35,000 in rooms across the world, and we did it by following three simple rules.

Everyone can speak:

Behavioural blocker: Will my question be stupid? Will I be seen as stupid?

Trainer action: Pastoral affirmation and encouragement.

Everyone is heard:

Behavioural blocker: Will my contribution be valued?

Trainer action: Facilitate a many-to-many model of participation, raise up non-dominant voices, call out and reinforce positive behaviours.

Everyone will be remembered:

Behavioural blocker: Will someone steal my ideas or claim credit?

Trainer action: Publicly attribute contributions and map threads of knowledge production. When a resolution is found or problem solved recognise ALL the contributors.

These fundamental human traits power the most resilient sharing economies and the are as essential in a successful team of three as they are in a workforce of 3,000.



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