There’s a saying by Steve Siebold: “You’re either growing or dying. Stagnation does not exist in the universe.” (I’m guessing you are growing and learning because you’re reading this!)
But is everyone a teacher?
You don’t need the title of ‘educator’ or ‘instructor’ to teach others. I know that isn’t a chin-dropping statement but in healthcare people often silo ‘education’ to those who carry a teaching title.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
No, you don’t need to change jobs!
Let me explain . . .
I first learned the value of teaching when I was taking my bachelor’s degree in nursing. I was to teach a prenatal class (this was WAY before I had my own children). I had never officially ‘taught’ anything and I sure as heck didn’t know much about prenatal classes, especially when I was suppose to be the Expert in the room.
The newbie parents would be looking to ME for guidance …gulp!
When you teach, you need to have knowledge, experience, or learning in the content being taught. (You don’t have to know everything but very helpful to know something!).
I see so many people with so much knowledge and experience that could be shared with others, but they think they don’t know enough to teach! It’s sooo sad to witness.
Back to the prenatal class – I did ok except for one situation … I tossed the baby doll onto the floor!
I didn’t think anything of it because we were done with that demonstration.
But then they all G-A-S-P-E-D!
I said, “It’s just a doll!”
Yes, it might have ‘just been a doll,’ but in their minds, it was their newborn baby! Yikes!!
When you simulate an activity or give a demonstration, you need to keep it real! Trust me!
That was a lot of learning for me in my first ‘teaching’ experience.
I learned my third lesson from a friend.
She was teaching my son how to throw a ball and she said to him, “The starting position is the letter ‘K’. (hand out, front foot forward – neat huh?). Suddenly throwing a ball became a whole lot easier! She gave him a take-away tool!
He has never forgotten that … or the value she provided when demonstrating it for him.
Now I can’t lie to you and say I gave a valuable take-away tool to the prenatal audience (I’m sure their take-away was, ‘Never hire Barb as a babysitter!’).
Share a take-away tool or strategy and your value skyrockets! It’s a super bonus if you demonstrate the tool in action.
Warning: Be 100% certain the tool will work for them or else your value will plummeted.
Now you might be thinking, “Barb, those examples sure appear like the role of an instructor, educator or teacher.” And you would be right!
But here’s the thing . . .
It doesn’t really matter what your role is, there is always an opportunity to teach others and increase your value. It could come in the form of:
· In-the-Moment Teaching
· Staff Meetings
· 1:1 conversations
Heck, just yesterday I asked a director if I could share my perspective with her. She said, “Sure.” And I ended up giving her some guidance on how to deliver some information.
1. Arouse Interest. Tell a short story or example. (With the director, I gave a example sharing the impact of certain information).
You could also ask a relevant question regarding the topic i.e. “Do you ever notice some people are defensive to feedback?” Patricia Fripp says “a startling statistic” will also capture an audiences’ attention.
2. Share the Lesson. Share with your audience what you have learned or the ‘ah ha’ you received. In my example with the director, I shared the employees’ perspective of how her lack of information sharing could be interpreted by them.
Hint: Ensure the lesson you share is relatable to your audience.
3. Give a Take-Away Tool/Strategy. You round out the value by providing the audience (or person you are speaking to) with a tool or strategy that will help them improve. This is where your value is enhanced because it’s one thing to point out that someone can improve and it’s another thing to give them a tool or strategy that will rapidly propel them forward.
And using those 3 easy, peasy steps, you can increase your value regardless of your position.
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Our workshop participants found Barb’s approach to teaching at the Centre for Professional Development to be dynamic and engaging. Barb not only taught effective communication and presentation skills, but also role modelled techniques throughout the day. Participants were excited to be able to apply learning’s directly into their day to day roles
Associate Director at the Centre for Professional Development, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.
Your plenary session was a real asset and a great contribution to the success of our National IPAC Conference. From beginning to end participants were energized and actively engaged.
Gwyneth Meyers BSc, MSc, PhD
Scientific Committee Chair
“The workshop was wonderful!! Barb walked the talk by continuously demonstrating the tips and skills she was teaching! It was amazing to see it all come together. I would recommend the workshop to anyone who has to present.”
Bev Waite, Education Lead-Nursing,
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
I told one of the nurse educators that it was the best 3 hours I have spent in a training session as the content was clear, relevant, exactly enough to be able to incorporate into presentations, and you demonstrated each point which was great. It was watching an expert at work.
Aideen Carroll, Advanced Practice Nurse Educator
Toronto General Hospital
Your workshop was also a big hit. It was interesting to hear people talk about it as not good, but great.
CMP Manager of Governance and Events CNA
After working with Barb, our team returned to work energized, enthused and inspired to utilize tools that increase our communication, clarity and relationship with not only each other, but also with the residents and families that we serve. I would highly recommend Barb if you want to bring out the best in your team.
Dale Clements, Administrator
Barb Langlois led a wonderful one day workshop for 45 Clinical Nurse Educators in Saskatoon Health Region. She worked with us in advance to really understand our learning needs, Six months later, I see CNEs using Barb’s techniques to engage learners and I use them myself in my own presentations. I strongly recommend Barb – she is a very skilled facilitator who connects with learners in a very meaningful and effective way.
Margot Hawke RN, BSN, MCEd, Nursing Professional Practice Lead
Saskatoon Health Region
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