DNLE – Assignment #3: Prescription for a Learning Problem

Our 3rd individual assignement was to take another student’s Educational Challenge Scenario (from assignment #2) and try to write up a way to find a solution to the challenge described.

I’ve chosen to suggest a solution to this challenge scenario:

Training for unmotivated teachers to use technology Click to vote up 1

Submitted by Siew Kee Chong

Last modified 7 days ago by Siew Kee Chong
As part of the business continuity plan for a vocation training school in Singapore, the 800 lecturers need to be trained to design and deliver home based learning program. For new lecturers who just joined the school, they will be trained in various aspects of teaching and learning, including the use of technology to enhance their lessons. This group of lecturers will be able to design and deliver online lesson when school closes due to emergency. However there is a critical mass of lecturers who are above 40 years old  and are used to the traditional ways of teaching and are resistant to learn new things. If school closed due to emergency,  they will just take a break and make up lessons when school reopens. The school management wants this group of lecturers to be minimally able to put their lecture content online. E.g. They can record their lecture and put them online. The school have several rooms equipped with lecture recording facilities and desktop screen capturing software are made available to all lecturers as well.  Every lecturer is also provided with a personal laptop and high speed Internet access and wifi network services are available in school. However, the more senior lecturers are still skeptical about putting their content online even though the new lecturers have set good examples of conducting home-based learning.
And this is the prescription that I wrote:

Training unmotivated teachers to use lecture recording: finding compelling arguments together Click to vote up 0

Submitted by Robert Reuter

Last modified less than a minute ago by Robert Reuter
A vocational training school in Singapore having difficulties to train their senior lecturers (over 40 years and trained in traditional teaching methods) at using digital technologies to enhance or supplement their lessons. The difficulty seems to arise from these lecturers being skeptical about “putting their content online” even though younger lecturers seem to produce “good examples of conducting home-based learning”.

I think this challenging situation needs to be understood before a good solution can be elaborated. My prescription here would be to develop such an understanding before thinking about potential solutions, and to develop a solution together with the persons concerned.

There are a lot of different solutions that could be implemented, but some of these solutions may be more adequate than others; and this may be due to the fact that the different solutions are not in line with the deep causes of the problem and only seem to be good solutions “on the surface”… like paying the reluctant lecturers to do the required lecture recordings, or fire those who are unwilling to apply the new methods of teaching.

I would therefor really put major efforts into meeting those reluctant and skeptical teachers and honestly ask them to explain their reasons to be skeptical and reluctant... This must be done in a protective climate of trust. Often their skepticism is based on very good reasons, not always fears of change, per se, but more on fears of loosing their “power positions”, on fears of becoming obsolete or being reduced to roles they don’t want to play.

I would, based on their “good reasons” to resist the changes that the school wants to implement, then try to elaborate, together with them, a plan on how to work out a compromise between their “good reasons” not to change and the “good reasons” of the school to change… so that they have the feeling of being in charge, of being masters of their own destiny… this feeling should of course not be a mere illusion, the elaborated compromise should be something they see themselves as a valid and valuable solution to the challenge.

One interesting strategy here could be to explain and show them how the desired changes in teaching methods will give them the means to be in a better “power position” within their peer group, to be seen as valuable and cherished members of their community, by building upon their strengths instead of stressing their weakness. Experienced lecturers may not be so good at using lecture recording software, but they surely like to be flattered about their explanation skills and their knowledgeability.

Another potentially successful strategy could be to help those senior lecturers understand how their online videos can be password protected so that they are able to better control who has access to their lecturers.

Yes, my prescription may sound like a “coward’s answer”… because I refrain from making “authorative prescriptions” and giving “good advices” that can be directly tested… but I really do think that this is the kind of educational challenge that needs to be tackled by meeting the persons concerned and finding a solution or solutions TOGETHER with them… because they need to be the authors of such a solution to make it a sustainable solution! Otherwise, they will somehow be able to boycott the externally proposed solution…