Well, that was interesting

Just finished site visit. Our parent organization comes down twice a year from HQ and looks at our schoolhouse, how we are doing business, how we are teaching…

Old habits die hard.  Really hard. The faculty advisor staff that I lead (or maybe “lead” requires finger quotes) has a long and illustrious military history of being trained. Trained in the military usually means, “sit down, shut up, instructor will talk, you will listen.”

This schoolhouse is different. Well, it’s supposed to be different. We aren’t really there to “train” our students, we are there to facilitate their learning. It’s a major paradigm change. And my role is to be the change agent. That’s why they hired me. So for a year and a half I have been talking to them about adult learning methodologies. Group discussions. Qualitative feedback. Problem-based learning. All that good stuff. And they have nodded and smiled, agreed that this all sounded like a good idea, even sometimes said that they would try it.

So the inspectors came aboard and watched 3 days worth of classes. In which every last one of them…. “trained” their students. Ran their classes in the classic military fashion: “I am the instructor, you are the student. Listen to what I say. Because I’m the instructor and I said so.”  Eh – they weren’t all bad. Some of them were better than others. But not what one would expect after a year and a half.

Which led my HQ boss to ask – what the heck am I even doing there. Well, after what I’ve seen in the past few days, that’s a good question.

Oy. Vey. When I come back from conference next week I really have a lot of work to do.

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