My Ulterior Lesson Objectives – Things I unintentionally teach my students
I’ve been teaching adults for close to ten years now. I chose to teach adults instead of kids because I thought it was easier to keep their attention in class. I wouldn’t have to sing and dance. I thought adults would follow everything I said. These are adults, right? I thought their mature questions would be easier to answer. I thought discussions would always be lively because everyone’s got experiences to share. I thought adult students would always be open to new ideas because they registered themselves in the class to learn something new.
The start of my adult teaching career was not easy. Need I say more? I have made some adjustments and I now thoroughly enjoy teaching my “adults”.
Happy stories aside, let me tell you about my ulterior lesson objectives. What are ulterior lesson objectives, you say?
When you teach, you inadvertently impart personal values regardless of the subject you’re teaching. They show when you share experiences, give opinions, ask questions, and in the way you approach a topic.
Instead of randomly showing some of my values, I thought of what I want to come out and the things I want to “unintentionally” teach my adults – my ulterior lesson objectives.
Regardless of the course (communication, MS Office, business planning), the audience (men, women, professionals, young students, mature students), and the setting (manufacturing companies, colleges, conference rooms), my ulterior lesson objectives remain the same.
I aim to make adults believe again
The biggest shock to me when I started teaching (well, in addition to getting my assumptions above dispelled) was that so many adults do not fully believe in themselves, the world, and life in general. I never thought there were more non-believers than believers.
I always hear students say, “I really want to (insert new career, activity, or destination) but I can’t. I am (too old, busy with the kids, far into this other career)”. At first these sounded like excuses. But later on I realized that many adults have forgotten that everything and anything is possible. That we are in control of our lives and we can do whatever we like. I know it is easier said than done but I want my students to regain their belief in themselves, their excitement for their future, and their aspiration to become more.
There are many ways to do this in class, but my favourite is to constantly ask “Why not?” until they exhaust their non-believing selves. Most of the time, after hearing their own voices recite a list of faulty reasons, they concede to believe a little bit more.
I nudge my adults to make, do, and go
Today’s technology promotes watching. Adults watch cooking videos but never cook. They watch sports but never play. They watch travel shows but never go anywhere.
I nudge my students to make something. Play an instrument, write a poem, make origami, build a website. Making frees the soul. I encourage them to experience something new that excites them. Snowboard, hike, climb a wall, kayak. I convince them to go to places they’ve always dreamed of. Far, expensive, extreme? It doesn’t matter. I tell them they will be happy when they finally get there.
I normally include some things I make and do, and places I’ve been, in my instructor introduction. If an average looking, middle aged woman with four kids, who is a member of a visible minority can make, do, and go, it makes my students think that they can do it too.
I challenge them to think
Some post-secondary institutions are extremely learner-centered that everything is provided. The only thing students need to do is follow instructions. Opportunities to think and figure out solutions are very limited. You may need graduate school to practice and master thinking.
I confuse my students once in a while so they question what I say and then exercise their minds a little. It may sound like I am fooling them but it is a legitimate educational strategy called creating disjuncture.
I open their minds to adaptability and change
I understand that change is not easy. I teach change management. But I believe the cliche, “Change is the only permanent thing in this world.” Adaptable people are happier. I want my students to be happy so I occasionally change some parts of the already printed schedules, lessons, exercises, and homework. I make new requirements. It may sound like a small thing but it gets my adults used to change. Thinking, “What do I need to do now that the requirements have changed?” becomes second nature.
I convince them that money is neutral
Many people grow up with a negative relationship with money. Because of this, they have limits in their heads of how much they can make, how much they can charge for their goods or service, and how much money can accumulate in their lives. It is true money is not everything. But a life with money is happier than a life that constantly lacks money.
In class, when I unintentionally digress, I intentionally bring this concept into the conversation. Money is neutral. Money is not evil. Its meaning is what you give to it. Having loads of money is highly possible for everyone and is good. At times I see my students eyes get bigger. It’s hard to tell if their lives will change for the better because of this but I think it’s worth a try.
My ulterior lesson objectives in eLearning
I like making effective eLearning that also reflects my ulterior lesson objectives. It requires extra creativity but I find it fun. For example, in an eLearning for a financial institution, instead of a simple multiple choice quiz asking about the different types of bank accounts, I prefer to present fictional client pictures and profiles and then require the students to suggest the appropriate banking products. It makes the eLearning more engaging and interactive and it also involves critical thinking.
Your client would have their own ulterior lesson objectives that you can incorporate in the eLearning that you make. When you do this, your client will appreciate it and you will stand out from the rest of the eLearning providers.
Later on in our eLearning Basics Video series, Chris will provide another real life example of a client’s ulterior motive reflected in eLearning.
How about you, what are your ulterior lesson objectives? Add them in the comments below.