Preconceived Stereotypes in Professional Development Training
With all the discussion in the media lately about prejudice, racism and bias, I thought it might be good to reflect on my own biases and preconceived notions when training others. The longer I work with groups of people the easier it is to develop preconceived notions. For technology training it’s not so much about race or gender as it is age. I’ve always assumed that if you remember 8 track tapes (like me), then you will have a harder time or even be resistant to #EdTech professional development.
Raise your hand if you know what this is?
A couple of weeks ago, I was conducting a training in Kansas to a group of teachers new to #EdTech in general. They had been issued their devices a week prior and my task was to help bring them up to speed. In this particular group of teachers was a veteran teacher of 52 years in the classroom. He sat up front next to his principal. I immediately identified him in my mind as a person likely in need of some additional assistance. To be honest, I had already decided that what he gets from our training might be very limited. He’s significantly older and that automatically means he will struggle and perhaps give up in frustration.
For the record… I was totally wrong!
This gentleman was a delight and continues to be an inspiration to me personally. Yes, he struggled. What’s amazing is that he never wavered. He never said, “I can’t do it.” He never let the person next to him “take over” and do things for him. He never gave up.
As he left the training room, he took time to thank me and let me know how much he enjoyed it. The last thing he said to me was, “I don’t have all this down right now, but if you come back in a year, I’ll be great at it!”
This experience reminded me that people can continue to surprise, challenge, educate and even delight you. It’s one of the most enjoyable aspects of training and teaching in general. I can only hope and pray that after 52 years in the business to still have such an amazing attitude and enthusiasm about learning.