I love learning new things. I don’t understand people who attend workshops and spend their entire time acting bored. Don’t they realize that you only get out what you put in as a participant? I love the opportunity to take classes in the summer, especially when you don’t have to pay for them. They’re even better when the district pays you for learning something new (don’t tell my district that I feel privileged just to attend to learn).
If you are interested in the topic, listening to the speaker, interacting with colleagues, assessing how the speaker’s points can improve your professional performance and choosing to stretch yourself to learn something new, you will have a successful experience. I can identify at least 3 new things from every workshop/presentation/speaker I’ve attended. It’s important to me to be able to justify my attendance at training to any administrator, parent, staff member, or student who asks why I went.
If you attend a workshop and discover that you vehemently disagree with the speaker, you still learned to focus upon what was important to you so there was still metacognition occurring.
If you do distracting tasks, whisper, tune out, and wish you were somewhere else, I’m sure the speaker wishes you were, too.
Don’t misunderstand me. I multi-task in every workshop. I’ve been known to doodle, draw, email, write, crochet, text, etc. But my focus is on what we are learning and how to personally incorporate it. I just can’t wait to get back and try new ideas. I can’t sit still anymore than the majority of my kids.
I try not to be distracting to the speaker, but I have to move. I do try to practice the appropriate visual cues like nodding my head, making eye contact, repeating back what I’ve heard, etc. but sometimes I just need to do two things at once. I hope that any presentor or trainer that has had me in their audience knows that I AM TRULY LISTENING and I am trying to be very respectful. Check my notes. Many times you’d be amazed at just how much I recorded while you talked.
If I’m not writing or moving, I’m not listening. Which would you rather have? The quiet, sulky audience that tunes you out and makes snide comments in the parking lot about "that was a waste of time" or the twitchy, energetic, question-asking audience that keeps you on your toes?
By the way, Frank & Althea, you did a wonderful job in the presentation today. Everyone was very attentive and active. I was sitting in the back watching all their creations at the same time I listened to you. The fact that everyone learned so much and were interacting so well today just reminded me of how much I detest attending workshops with people who act superior and as if there is nothing left for them to learn. Thanks!