Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone: Learning to Teach – Heather White @CattyHeather



good morning everyone if you are hoping to miss my talk earlier this morning guess what you're here i I just want to have everyone take a minute because I need it from setting and it's a little chilly in here I just want you to raise your arms up good okay come together go down here Oh doesn't that feel good take a deep breath stretch it out move it around you wanted Heath oh yeah oh all right we ready to roll all right good deal I for those of you that don't do not know me I'm Heather white I am the president for one for all events yes I have branding on a lot of branding and I used to teach and that's why I'm here today because this is a passion of mine is getting people to understand their value as teachers whether you think you're won or not so how many of you consider yourself a teacher and you're you're good okay that's good how many of you want to teach okay good one of the most effective ways to learn is to become a teacher you will not be more familiar more intimate with that material until you start teaching it because you will be in it from someone else's perspective and you will they will have questions that you never had they will understand it in a different way and that will open up a whole new level of understanding for you as a teacher so a little bit of background yes that's my son he was much younger there I have a master's in education I'm a certified teacher I've taught free K through fourth grades over six years or so I developed a training program for the telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center I also manage the regenerative medicine program at Fort Detrick which included sort of cat herding PhDs and teaching them our system and I managed training at PHP architect which Ed mentioned the magazine yesterday and that's we're one for all events actually came from is we do conferences for a living tech conferences both PHP polyglot and we're considering poor gaming conferences as well so this talk is going to contain three sections just to set up your expectations in the first section we're going to talk about learning styles and how to actually implement those the second section is specifically about adult learners because we're all adults at least by age and what their characteristics and motivations are because they're very different from children in the final section I'm going to talk about ways to take all that and put it in your presentation so if you're interested in being speaking at a meetup group if you're interested in becoming a speaker yourself even teaching others some of this will play into how to present material to other people so understanding your audience like why bother why is this important number one it helps you realize how to make connections with people you have to relate to their experiences you have to understand their knowledge level and their experience with your material and it leads to a better experience for your learners if you start off too high they're going to be confused if you start off too low they're going to be bored we want to avoid that in all cases and the ultimate goal is we want to help them retain what you've given them and to be able to take it and use it that's the ultimate goal is to use that knowledge now learning styles miss a reality the last time I gave this presentation was at Midwest PHP and I had a tweet come in a little later that said I just read an article that learning styles have been disproven and basically saying you know you're kind of full of crap like what is this all about I'm like oh now I went and did some research I was like yes yes justice they have not been disproven they have not been proven that's very different and if you have ever taught or been around children or had children you know already in your mind that people learn best in different ways it's just a fact of life we prefer some of us prefer to read some of us prefer to do some of us prefer to here some of us use a combination of those message you know this whether you believe what I'm about to tell you or not I think you understand that people learn in different ways so I want you to take that form your own opinion and go from there the research is the research people have debated the pendulum of learning for longer than we will ever be alive so take what you know and go from there that's what I'm going to tell you form your own opinion all right so like I said there are about as many learning theories out there as you have you know fingers and toes but they all boil down to what I like I call mine but it's Howard Gardner's seven learning styles and the reason I subscribe to this is that when you look at all these other theories they sort of boil down to these elements when you take all of the fancy you know most of them break it out more minutely and that's yeah it is what it is but that's trying to fit people into too narrow of slots I think and it's not necessarily useful at that granular level so we're going to discuss each learning style and how that might look so the first one I want to talk about is visual or spatial learners these folks think primarily in pictures they're good at reading Maps or they need to visualize words in order to spell them they have to know what they look like they might use intuition to solve problems these folks might also have uneven grades in schools like some subjects are fitted more properly to visual learners than others so their grades might be a little uneven as they go through school sometimes they're often a late bloomer because the other methods of learning sort of catch up with them they usually have strong artistic mechanic or even technological talents and they're often and I find this AI very very highly perfectionistic you know those silly little quizzes on Facebook that the color difference is the very slight color differences these are the people who can definitely see that and they know and if it's off by one Pantone number life is going to end because it's not correct one pixel off on a design it must be fixed these people are that perfectionistic and those are good people to have in certain categories like a designer you want a designer to have that sort of of drive and perfectionism so in teaching and presenting how might this look you might want to replace words with pictures a visual your word is worth a thousand or picture's worth a thousand words right you might use color to highlight major and minor links it draws your eye it pulls you there use a systems map to see the big picture like show a picture of what it might look like a mind map a visual representation of the information the second style we're going to talk about is oral or auditory these folks usually have a good sense of pitch or rhythm they typically can sing or play a musical instrument or identify the sounds of different instruments music tends to invoke really strong emotion with these people they might listen to music while they're studying they often might notice the music playing in the background of a TV or a movie more than they hear the words these folks will also you tend to find themselves humming along like you're sitting in a restaurant and all of a sudden you're humming along to the song or tapping your foot it's just sort of how they're built and often a jingle or you know those silly songs that get stuck in your head you're like oh it's like an ear worm and yeah that really affects these people and like they have to go hear that song a few times and then get that the ear worm out and more all good to go so how might this look sound recordings can help with visit visualizations a pump me up song can anchor emotions and put the learner in the right state when I used to teach a short story I had basically the below grade level math kids and these we're in third grade at this point and these kids have been below grade level pretty much through school and they knew that they knew their label and their test anxiety because school is very test driven to to unfortunately sometimes and my goal as their teacher was to get them on grade level but they had a huge anxiety every time we had to do like a multiplication test or just simple things like that so one of the things that I started doing to ease their anxiety was sort of to set the routine and every time they finish one of these quizzes we would play I would play this long another one bites the dust and I would let the kids get up and they were like yeah did it yeah and I have another one and it sort of it became a routine it became less stressful and I'm happy to say most of those kids were on grade level by the end of that year and I consider that a good achievement so I sort of like you know when they play the really pumping music and a speaker runs up onstage is getting everybody pumped up it's setting your mind up for what's to come you know if it's a really rockin song then you're going to expect a really energetic presentation and if that presentation falls down wrong set up the first the audience is going to be disappointed I think so songs can really set a mood mnemonics and acrostics actually work with these folks too so rhyme and rhythm studying if you're trying to memorize something setting it to a jingle my story of this is I grew up in West Virginia so George Virginia and in seventh grade was West Virginia history for those of you that do not know West Virginia has 55 counties that's a lot of counties and we had to memorize all 55 and be able to write them on the map so one of the things we did was we set it to basically Yankee Doodle okay I am a long ways past 7th grade but I still know this Barbara Buerkle Boone Braxton Brooke Capital Calhoun clayed are today at Gilmer grant green bar Hampshire Hank Hardy Harrison and Jackson Jefferson don't you get the point okay this is stuck in my head because we said it it did and we all all of those of us who in that class who chose to do that we asked the test and so it has it has a powerful way to memorize and do things and make it stick way longer than you need it to alright so the next style or the third is verbal or linguistic so if you're a verbal or linguistic learner you like to express yourself probably both in writing and verbally you love reading writing playing with the meaning or the sound of words tongue twisters rhymes limericks you probably know the meaning of many words and you probably like to show that a little bit you like to use your vocabulary often these folks you can tell some bits about people what type of learner by the words they use if you are an oral or auditory and they're like I hear what you're saying a verbal or linguistic may say or a visual I'm sorry visual learner might say I see what you're saying subtle words I hear I see I understand those minor changes can give you a clue as to your learning preference so how might a verbal well that's pretty simple that's usually what we're doing especially in presentations like this you see what's up here which is more visual but the words are here you're reading you're writing you're typing that's all pretty standard school stuff but language facilitates people we see with a linguistic learning style and they enjoy learning new words they enjoy exploring ways to use those words and often read reference materials for fun just really enjoy language and how it goes together sometimes these folks are also the folks who can speak several languages it's a little easier for those the fourth style and this one is probably as you can tell I talk a lot like this this is kinesthetic learners or physical kinesthetic learners use their body hands and sense of touch to learn they enjoy activities such as drawing modeling sculpting drafting woodworking dance athletics and hands-on sciences things where you're engaged physically engaged with the material bodily kinesthetic learners enjoy creating work with their hands and they usually have a lot of energy and they need to move around when they're learning their body positioning and what they're doing is often tied to their memory and they're often talented athletes as well because they're just more physical my story of this is I had a young boy who was characterized as a disciplinary problem I had about 24 students in a room that was very small meant to be a special education room and we were crowded kids were on top of each other and so there were said he was in this class and we had some disciplinary issues I say but not really he basically he needed to move to learn so his we made a deal as long he was not affecting anyone else around him he could lay on the floor he could stand at his desk he could go sit on the beanbag I had in the corner as long as he was engaged and not bothering anyone else I didn't care what he needed to do to learn though and he actually was not a problem and his grades soared and he did a really good job so these folks need to get up and move around and physically engage with whatever they're doing that's how they commit things to memory this was a hard one when you're presenting or teaching it's easier in a teaching situation where you've got hands-on and you can you know in the small one on one to one group but in a presentation this one doesn't quite work so well sensations that's what you can sort of explain is the sensation of doing the actual act third to speak describe the physical feelings of your actions use physical objects as much as possible many of you probably in education where you used to pass around the objects everyone could see and feel and touch that's something role playing is also physical if you've got people up and talking and engaging it's still physical because you're up and moving and talking about the material these are assertive Sirk's that do not like doing worksheets workbooks exercises they would rather ditch all that and dive into the code so to speak and start monkeying around to see what they can make it do and learn by mistakes they don't want to go through the act of doing exercises it's just annoying and time-consuming to them so the fifth style is the logical or mathematical these learners are very methodical they think in a logical linear order it makes sense laid out they're very adept at solving math problems as you might guess and they're typically drawn to logic puzzles and games working the brain so what this might look like is progression from the small pieces to the big picture can be really helpful for these learners they need to see how things connect and go in an order and how things might be laid out diagrams for logical learners are very very helpful because it's a visual representation but it's also approaching that that linear let me see how this goes from point A to point B and how to get there they also prefer prefer a very structured and organized environments let's just fly by the seat of our pants environments are like a nightmare and anxiety for these learners um is like no we have a schedule we must stick to the schedule we want to do no we can't just you know fly by the seat of our pants it causes more anxiety for these learners because it is not structured they also have usually strong visual analysis and memory and obviously problem-solving skills these books are natural tinkerers builders they enjoy bringing mathematical and conceptual ideas into life seeing where it takes them maybe computer assisted design creating electronic devices themselves using computer applications or programming computers and then the final two are sort of a subset or a layer over the other five those are social and solitary ok so you can in either of these you may prefer to learn in groups or with other people or you prefer to work alone or use self-study and that can go back and flip-flop back and forth for some activities and some things you're learning you may prefer to be social and interactive for other things you may need to tone out everything and be alone and that's ok and that can change but it is a preferred learning style overtop of the others any questions so far I know I'm moving fast this is a lot of material I've got a short time so I'm going to pump your brains as full as I can all right adult learners adult learners are very different than children we have different expectations and we choose our learning rather than it being mandated for us that's the big one there we choose what we want to learn so when able whenever an individual is able to choose what they're learning they're more motivated to learn adult learners desire a peer relationship with their teachers as opposed to a hierarchical one adults also expect greater availability of their instructors they expect to be able to go talk to them and ask them questions and be available to that adults also have a greater reservoir of life experiences simply because they've lived longer and they've seen more and what this does is adults consciously or even unconsciously tend to link any new learning to learning that they've already done and this is where I was talking about understanding your learner adults have to link up where they have left off to understand and move forward they evaluate the validity of new ideas and concepts in the light of how that idea or concept fits their previous experience this is why people the belief systems are really really hard to change is because they're judging everything that comes at them based on their previous experience you have no way to change their previous experience you can only provide new insights and new ideas to change their experience moving forward adults are particularly motivated to learn information that seems immediately applicable to their wants and needs if they don't need it they won't use it we're not particularly motivated to to learn it because there's only so much room up here we've lived longer done more there's only so much room we get to the point where something comes in sometimes something has to go out and we're practical people and we prefer to learn the applicability of a concept rather than the theory of it theories were for college we're adults now we want to know what does it do for us how can we apply it how does it make my life easier or better that's what we want drill down to the core of it the motivations of adult learners social relationships doing well in the eyes of our peers all right social welfare fulfilling more wants more needs making money better lifestyle new car what-have-you external expectations keeping your job staying current with the times this is very hard in the technology realm things are changing and moving as fast as you can learn something so most folks tend to pick a lane and kind of stay in that Lane because it's hard to know everything because it's always changing always moving personal advancement learning in the pursuit of improving oneself that's why you see so many seniors and older individuals who are retired they want to keep learning we we are creatures that want to learn we wanted to expand our horizons and see what's out there escape or stimulation to not feel bored to explore interests or loves broaden our outlooks as I said and new experiences what else what am I missing right and finally cognitive interests learning for the sake of learning motivated to know more simply because additional motivators are also feedback we are goal driven we need feedback to keep us on the path towards our goal are we veering to the left are we veering to the right are we doing well are we not doing well we need feedback to be go towards our goal and those rewards and benefits can be either monetary like a raisin salary or simply understanding the benefits of how this learning will improve our lives those are rewards sometimes as well so why do you need to understand how you learn what will this do for you so I recommend for everybody to go to this website this is actually my graph what this does is you go through a battery of questions and this will give you an output like this and you see it's broken down over there on the side visual social physical aural Berber verbal solitaire and logical and the closer to 20 the higher your applicability in that style is so you can see that I'm a very visual person 14 that's quite high fairly physical I'm talking with my hands I'm moving around very oral you can probably guess from that that I listen to a lot of music I play a musical instrument a couple of them I grew up doing band marching jazz all of it I set my life to music I love music I can't go a day without listening to music it actually depresses me if I can't hear music I'm one of those people that likes to have music on while I'm studying or learning because it actually grounds me and what I'm doing and blocks out extraneous other things around me and somewhat solitary it's about half and half so um yeah not bad but my logical score is very low now I will say my husband's logical score it's very way the other way this is why we work together really well is we balance each other out so this will help you know yourself and why that's important we're going to get to in a second so let's talk about assimilation everyone has a mix of these learning styles we're not completely one or the other is a mix you may find that you have a dominant style of learning with far less of the other styles you may have a one style you use in one circumstance and one you Geert or more in another circumstance we're fluid beings we change and as we get older our styles are not fixed we can learn to improve our learning in other styles okay and you can also learn to internally represent experiences and the way you recall information and the words you choose based on knowing your learning style this empowers you as a learner and as a teacher now what do I mean by this mentoring is a very big topic especially in programming and there are very there are many many many many qualities that go into being a good mentor but one of the most important steps is to first understand how you learn by doing that you are learning how you will teach because you tend however you learn is how you typically teach because that's what you're familiar with knowing that there are other learning styles out there you now know that other people don't learn like you you need to be aware of how you learn and teach so that when you enter into a mentoring relationship you are aware of your style and you can kind of assess what your potential mentee style is if those styles don't match then it's not a good relationship you will fail I guarantee you you will fail because you both will be frustrated because you will be providing information one way but they will not be able to process it and receive it and learn and grow and that's what that relationship is about you that's the first step is understanding you and your mentee and your learning styles so that you can have a good relationship moving forward and then you can actually learn from each other so reinforcement retention and transference this is what it all kind of boils down to is how does we how do we take all this information you know we figured out the what and the why of learning now we need to discuss the how or really the how to make it more efficient so that we can go use it in our in our daily lives a mix of both positive and negative reinforcement is needed for us as adults and whatever we're doing the motivations we just discussed all have positive and negative reinforcements that can be associated with them so a salary a new office an upgraded parking spot even free chocolate you know we're always motivated by food those are reinforcements those are positive reinforcements however the lack of those positives is also a reinforcement that's the negative side so if you're not getting positive feedback what's wrong why am I not getting any information back from my boss like this is where a lot of jobs and organizations fall down is because we are creatures we need reinforcement we need to know are we doing well are we doing poorly where are we at in this scale we need to know and a lot of managers are really bad at giving good feedback and positive reinforcement so it's good to be aware of that so retention how do we remember well the mantra of practice makes perfect pretty much has it right the more we do things the more we commit it to our permanent memory and keep in mind that learners particularly adult learners that we're talking about here need to know the meaning and the purpose of what they're learning because without those they tend to tune out why do I need to know this I have enough going on as it is they also need to be able to interpret the information thus connecting it up to that person where they left off is it's too advanced they won't understand it and they cannot interpret it and then they need to be able to apply it how is how am I going to use it moving forward now we're going to take that and transfer it to our jobs how we do that is transference is sort of the scale how much of it do I remember and how much of it can I go forward using so more transference occurs when participants associate the new information with what they already know how similar is it to what I already know can I make that leap can I make that jump from one to the other similarities how high was the original degree of learning did they understand it the first time are they confused do do we need to clarify do we need to back up if it wasn't if that degree of learning was not high the first time they're not going to transfer it you need to go back and repeat figure out where the disconnect is and critical how critical is it to their place in time right now to their job so their livelihood how critical the more critical the more effort I'm going to put into wanting to know this material I'm going to work at it because it's crucial to what I need to do so now to the fun visual part presentations with learners in mind any questions yet look what that's good yep should I ask that again at what point you differentiate between young learners that are dull learners um we're pretty much to the point of our learning styles as adult learners probably by college teens are special case it's going to say that right now between the hormones and the emotional control and all of those things there's a lot getting in the way of their learning they amazingly do they do it but by the end of college you know sort of halfway through college we sort of hit that routine and we are full-fledged adults we have settled into our routine and we were that so early 20s is pretty much when we figured out who we are how we're learning moving forward but like I said we all change we're always growing always having new experiences and all that feeds into how we learn forward moving forward so this diagram is very interesting and find this very powerful so think about how most traditional schools presentations etc see a fair reading okay this is after two weeks we tend to remember reading we only remember about 10% of what we read that's not very much hearing words what you're doing now only about 20% seeing about 30% right seeing and hearing depending on if it's engaging or not maybe 50% but that's what you're dealing with when you're teaching in a traditional style or presenting and we're talking out as a presenter here at this point that's not a lot so you have to make sure that your presentation is set up to make people remember and hear your message as best as you can do set yourself up for success because we're human we're just not going to remember it but the most impressive part as a teacher 90% of what we say and do we remember two weeks out so the first step is valuate your content understand how your content is most clearly represented does it work best in a graph a picture a discussion or demonstration figure out what way really suits what you're trying to get across relevant I have to I figured out how I want to get it across how relevant is it to my audience remember we need to understand the meaning and how it's going to benefit us so we have to explain that benefit to our audience so that they want to pay attention so that they want to learn how relevant is it to them do I need to take a step back and connect in at a different point and move forward or do I need to move forward a little bit and connect in to the higher point sometimes that's hard in the conference situation because we don't know where everyone's sitting with their experience levels attention and I like to call this the shiney syndrome as adults regardless of the information and how important it is to us our tension or focus tends to wander it just thoughts we're human as a presenter there are ways that you can help keep that attention your are your audience's tend to notice change both big and small not necessarily what happens in between so macro changes big changes that you can make include changing visual mediums if you can go from I like a slide to maybe a chart or going into an exercise etc flipping that up gets people sort of up get oh I got to do something now okay look old they're changing it's a physical change audience movement getting your audience moving body movement wakes us up gets us moving to that physical engagement change your present presenting location you know the cow was moving around I'm sort of be bopping back and forth I have another friend who paces in front of the screen so moving around because you're you're you have something visually to watch as you're going like oh what are they going to do now right change from listening to discussing or from discussing to role playing or switching that up change four letters two of you that changes the dynamic especially the voices change after a while we tend to draw you know one voice sort of Lin tends to lose focus on our ears switching to another voice oh wait this is different and changing topics micro changes we tend to notice small things such as visual subsections if you've noticed I my slides every time I go to a different topic I've got that border on there so that you know we're moving to a different spot I've also got pictures in this section because it's a little bit more visually engaging also getting to the end of the presentation so sort of clues like that to help your audience engage also small things like during in a comic for a brain break letting your brain pause for a second as adults we need processing time everybody needs processing time but the max time for adults to sit and learn without process time is about 90 minutes and then we need about an hour to process and that's hard when you're in trainings all day you're in conferences all day this is why by the end of the day we're all kind of like you know brains are full my head hurts I'm not remembering this we haven't had time to process you can also change up your style of delivery go from funny to more factual and back and forth relax too chatty stories stories are always a good way to break up the monotony of whatever is going on now techniques to reinforce retention in your presentation what was this presentation even about right remember we only remember that top of the cone which is very little so first impressions you've all probably heard you can only make a first impression once right you don't have a chance to to redo that not necessarily true as a presenter people are going to remember how you finish not necessarily if you tripped at the beginning so even if something happens in the middle or the beginning as long as you finish on a strong note that's what people are going to remember most so you do have a chance to to recover so to speak do you have a clear overarching message in your presentation okay is it easy to determine what that message is because if you do not the audience will choose it for you and it may not be the message you intended so make sure it's clear what you want them to take away balance ideally your presentation would have a mix of those learning styles that we talked about both visual and interactive both you know text as much as possible but you also have to give you know some weight to the actual content of what you're doing so you need to think about balancing your presentation and the fun thing is the rule of three to help balance that presentation you don't want to present too much information at once the good rule of thumb is using a maximum of three points on a slide this will help you actually move faster through your slides so you're changing things up faster to keep people's attention you're also not giving them so much to remember at once so you're keeping the minds engaged so this is just a good rule of thumb is a rule of three try to keep it to a in three is a good rule of thumb for presenting and one last note of caution metaphors if you use a metaphor in your presentation a lot of times object-oriented programming uses metaphors a lot if anybody is like you know cars or animals or what-have-you just be aware that people will not always interpret your metaphor the way you think they should example I have is this you know lots of things are made out of bamboo nowadays ecological it's friendly it's a very dynamic product that can be used this company was doing basically product research and they had this fantastic product and yet all these people in the audience and like it's renewable resource it's wonderful you know we can do this we can do that and they got back their little you know surveys and they had this subsection of people that said I hate this product I don't want to use this product it's horrible they're like what's that one of these people have problems with well come to find out that these people have bamboo growing in their backyard if you've ever had bamboo growing it's like a weed you cannot get rid of it at all so these people had a nasty association with bamboo so they were like well associated we've been I hate bamboo because I can't get rid of it in my backyard through my it's just a cautionary just be clear that if you use a metaphor to try to get something across not everyone will see that metaphor the same as you do so it's just a caution so finally presenting takeaways evaluate your content maintain relevancy keep their attention make sure your message is clear and a balanced presentation and just real quickly I did tell you that I run conferences for a living the reason I have this up here is our call for speakers is open right now it closes June 23rd so after all this learning you guys have any wonderful ideas please go submit to our CFP we cover expenses for our speakers we would love to have you in DC it is November 15th and 16th and that is all thank you very much any questions yes I was just wondering is there any way that you can like say that you're giving a talk or say that you're doing training at a client to teach them how to do anything is there anything that you can very quickly use to determine what their learning style is or what the general learning style of the people you're training is you can actually take a quick survey just very quickly you can say if you have something for learning like ask how many of you prefer like for coats if you're learning to code something right how many of you prefer to drive straight in and tinker yeah you can see okay those are your kinesthetic learners very quickly how many of you prefer to read the documentation do research and then go in those are your visual learners or not your visual your verbal sorry learners and they prefer that more they need to read about it to process it to then understand how to go in and then and then you're going to have people in between and those are people who have got a lot of mixed cells that'll very quickly give you the lay of the land of how people prefer to learn you can often break people up into groups and then they can help each other that way – I just said one more question to that like radar graph that you had showed with the breakdown of like your learning style is there a way as I can see using that almost like a disc profile or you're able to evaluate your employees to your point about being a better manager is that something that like we have access to yeah it's just online it's a our limit it is an ugly website with ads all over the place but it is I searched her a lot before I put this presentation together and that is one of the best ones with the breakdowns that mean the most and yeah that's available online I will hook up my slides to joined in so if you need to go back and pull some of this information later you will be able to access it that way and you can find that link great thank you yeah all right thank you guys [Applause]

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