On Learning - and becoming a Teacher

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So this week's topic was learning. On a personal level, I took an evening course to refresh what's left of my French (not much, as I quickly found out). And then I attended a local congress on the topic of lifelong learning; which sort of provided the view from the other side. On top of that, my weekly repost of an old article on Twitter happened to be about learning something from your own presentation, which was a nice coincidence.

As presenters, we should of course be willing to learn all the time. We learn about our topic. We learn how to give better presentations. We learn how to interact with people.

We should also be aware of the fact that we are, in a way, teachers. We help others learn; about our topic at the very least. If our presentation is more than a boring recitation of facts, it can trigger all sorts of unexpected - positive! - side effects in our audience. We may make them reconsider the way they do their own presentations. They may become more interested again into learning something new. Or they may be inspired to teach others some of their own knowledge.

Something I took home from the above-mentioned congress on lifelong learning is that there is a huge demand for people who can teach other adults; something of practical value, usually. This is a great opportunity for presenters to take the next step to actually impacting people's lives in a positive way. In speaking with some of the institutions present at that congress, I realised that the barrier to entry into this line of work (usually part-time) is rather low. They favour experience in your field and experience in teaching adults much higher than any formal education or certificates.

So if you not only enjoy telling people about something you've done or something you know, but also enjoy working with people who are eager to learn, this is an option you should look into.

(The blurry photo is a snapshot from a promotional video on adult learning that was shown at said congress, embedded below.)

The video shows different motivations for learning something as an adult - or at any age, really - e.g. the dad who can't read, but his daughter wants to hear a bedtime story. What I like about it is that it also shows the inevitable crisis that will follow after the first small successes. Never give up!

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Creative Commons Licence "On Learning - and becoming a Teacher" by Dirk Haun is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.