This week’s quote was: “A wise master doesn't educate his student by giving him the answers; a wise master is the one who teaches his student to find the answers within himself.
All too often we give people the answers and the information they need just to find that even so, they don't manage to survive on their own. My father used to tell me that if you want to ensure survival, you can't keep giving a person fish. Instead you give them a rod and send them off to go fishing for themselves.
Every week I'm challenged with the task of teaching and training a group of people in working with their tools of the trade. New options, new services, new applications or simply a refresh of the ones we already have; the idea is to train them to become more efficient at their jobs.
To get information through, as clearly and completely as possible without having a room full of bored or sleeping souls is the weekly mission; and so one learns techniques to keep them interested. This takes inventing and reinventing teaching methods.
This week however, the lesson was given in a completely different way. So different that instead of teaching of the services, the students were given half an hour to research, prepare and teach the lesson to rest of the class. Divided into three groups, each was given a certain aspect of the service to research. Thirty minutes, Online Manual and a box full of paper, pens, glue and assorted stationary… I appealed to their research and to their creativity.
Give a person a pole and tell them to go fish; their next reaction tells you a lot about who they are and what they're capable of….
There were those that merely stared at me in shock; those that dove into the information highway and then there were those that headed straight for the goodies box…
Upon given a task where do you start on your plan of attack?
Having being divided, most members of each group knew little or nothing about each other. There was little time however to build team spirit. I was surprised to see some groups come together by throwing themselves into the challenge… others had to be pushed and nudged into working together.
As the teacher or the trainer, this had to be the most rewarding of classes I'd ever given. Each group needed different kind of support. Some lacked in information, some in creativity and other in just general motivation. Some however needed only more time to put their ideas to flight… these were the groups that inspired me the most even though my true challenge was those that had little or no sense of direction.
Giving the very last lesson of the week, the box of goodies was slightly slimmer and in lacking compared to the first lesson in the beginning of the week and there were those that excused their lack of imagination on lack of utensils.
What is one man's garbage is another man's treasure…
The very last group to present their presentation was without a doubt the most creative of all the groups throughout the week.
They used a piece of cardboard that no other group would touch and made a big cardboard cellphone. Cutting out a screen, they made square screens with the answers to the questions there were given to research. Two members held the cellphone and removed the paper on its screen to reveal the answers. Another member read the questions whilst another read the answers out loud and there was even one more member to go “beep” each time the answer was revealed.
The presentation was a laughing success and had I been grading such kind of effort I'd give the group an eleven out of ten points due to their correct answers, creativity, simplicity and amazing performance of team spirit.
Not only was it a great exercise to stimulate ideas, I'd say I had just as much fun as the students who thoroughly enjoyed the lesson. It got me reflecting a bit more on the subject of teamwork.
Who am I in the team?
Am I the information seeker?
The creative one?
The one who speaks for the group?
The one who encourages the team?
What is my role?
With the 360 degree evaluation coming up, I felt the weight of responsibility on my shoulders as I am to evaluate my own work and the work of my colleagues.
One can take so many conclusions on answering these questions. What I do know for sure is that each week, each time I'm given a group of people to inform, teach or train; I have an opportunity to hand out fishing rods and make a difference. I look forward to the feedback of those who work with me for a better positioning of my place in the team.