Saturday, August 9, 2014

Ask Us!

As I take time to prepare some basic interpretive techniques discussions with the wonderful volunteers at Robbins Crossing, I am finding myself reflecting on the importance of the methods we use to convey information, and how much of those ideas are now permeating other professional areas, such as sales and "formal" education.

One of those ideas is using "Inquiry Based" learning as a method of disseminating information.  We always referred to this as "questioning techniques", and the framework is similar.  It goes along with the saying:
Tell me, I'll forget
Show me, I'll remember
Involve me, I'll understand

We know that the BEST of what we do involves hands-on, active learning.  While that usually means putting things into the hands of the participant, sometimes it also means engaging their brains, imagination, and deductive skills.  Instead of answering an asked question, can you lead the visitor to their OWN answer, with carefully crafted questions and leading statements?  Can you make them EARN the answer?  In most cases, earning something gives it more value to the recipient, and it will stay with them longer.

"Why does the frog have a clear membrane that closes over their eyes?  Why would that be helpful?  

You're right, it is like swim goggles!"

When students would practice guided walks, I often carried a clipboard with the words "Ask Us!" on the back.  If I felt their presentation was slipping into a "walking lecture", I would stop them, flip up the clipboard, and have them come up with a way to lead us to the answer, rather than "spoon feeding"it.  Most of the time, they would do a great job inventing a question, and most of the time the participants could work out the answer.  

The best hands-on is still, well, hands-on. But remember we can also involve participants in dialog, and have them EARN the knowledge.  More and more teachers incorporate this into their interactive classrooms, and effective salespeople will always work up some questions to engage you in whatever they want you to buy.

"Teach a person to fish rather than give them a fish" Can you figure out how that applies here? 

You have been asked!

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