This past week, I was out of town. The purpose: to teach a bunch of trainers the content of Business Writing Made Easy, so that they, in turn, can teach others.
The class was composed of three trainers from one business line and 6 from the other. Though I may, as I mentioned last week, be returning to the training team in September, there are several possible alternatives that might prevent this from taking place. I have to be prepared for the possibility that I won’t be able to help train staff much or at all in the future.
This was my fourth time co-facilitating the course, and I’ll be training it one more time this week coming.
The course is 15 hours, or two days, spread over three. I added a day onto the end so that the participants could adapt portions of the course, present them, and get some focused feedback from the rest of the class.
The class is very participant-centered, that is, there are a lot of activities and the facilitators are constantly using questioning techniques to engage learners in their own learning. This last is a challenging bit for me, because I’m a word-nerd and a total grammar-Nazi. I have to restrain myself from talking about the things that I love.
The course went well. I was able to help one of my colleagues get some experience co-facilitating the course because she may be turning around and delivering it to her business line in the future. I also got the trainer’s high that come when you see the participants getting enthusiastic about the subject matter.
I think they’re all going to be brilliant 🙂
As I’ve mentioned before, the course involves learning a business letter writing model, tips on clarity, concision, and readability in writing, and a final module on grammar review. The practical component is a letter that the participants draft as part of their pre-course work and revise as the course progresses.
Actually, looking back, every time I’ve blogged about BWME, it’s been about the process surrounding the course, not the course itself (eeps!).
I learn, or have something confirmed for me every time I teach this course. I hope that my newly-minted business writing teachers feel the same way.
I still get nervous every time I have to train too, but I hide it well. I’m introverted (as all get out) and training, though enjoyable, tires me.
Just yesterday, I saw a post on Facebook by the wonderful Nancy Kress, who said that in preparing for a 4-hour workshop, she was nervous, even after her many years of writing and teaching.
One of the comments that followed mine was that, if you care at all about the subject you are teaching, or presenting about, you will be nervous. Every time.
I do find this to be true.
Getting back to the course, since it’s only two days, I can’t teach anyone who to write properly or how to use the principles of grammar. The course is a combination of review and resource-building that we hope will give participants the tools to continue improving on their own.
Practise makes perfect.
The participants seem to enjoy the word pairs exercise most (affect/effect, practice/practise, principle/principal, further/farther, etc.). The “snowball” fight is a great energizer, and the subject/verb agreement and punctuation exercises tend to confirm that most participants already know a lot about grammar, it’s just not something they’re aware of in their everyday work.
The key with BWME, as with so many other topics, is to cultivate that awareness, and promote its continuance on the job.
Have you had the opportunity to learn or teach something that you’re passionate about? How was the experience? Do you practise after the fact? What stayed with you most?