Sunday, November 27, 2011

Why and How I Teach Writing, Part 11: Self-development

Teachers need to learn and trainers need training to expand their knowledge and to cultivate their skills. The more I learn, the more I bring to my educational situations as a consultant, writer, trainer, coach, and teacher. Therefore I have two full-time jobs: teaching and learning. I structure my learning opportunities eclectically and by diverse means.

DomainsThe areas in which I continually seek learning areas fall into seven broad areas:
  • Training – topics, trends, and innovations in the training and consulting business. This area has kept me on top of new approaches to virtual and asynchronous deliveries as well as coaching, classroom training, and webinars.
  • Client – the concerns, endeavors, and practices of the industries and disciplines of my clients. Working with project managers has led me to read about the critical path method, with scientists to review clinical research, and with humanitarian professionals to study global efforts to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, and lead peacekeeping efforts.
  • Discipline – theory and practice on the art of writing. Regardless of how much I write about writing and teach writing, I discover new theories and approaches to instruction.
  • Academia – fields that have applications to the writing discipline. Learning from writing-across-the-curriculum research, science, history, literature, journalism, philosophy, and the arts provides plenty of new ideas that I can connect to my clients’ writing needs.
  • Business – topics of business leadership, management, marketing, investment, and real estate. These areas are all a part of the complex web of fields that directly affect my clients.
  • News – world and national, and local governmental, political, cultural, and sporting events. Being informed of world affairs affords me a deep reservoir of timely cultural references.
  • Electives – my own non-business interests. Lately, these have included the topics of creativity, linguistics, neurology, theology, and yoga.
I learn whatever I can from reading books and articles; attending lectures, seminars, and webinars; watching videos, documentaries, and feature films; and discussing ideas with students, clients, and friends. Social gatherings are great opportunities to learn, so I always keep a notebook or smartphone nearby to take notes and followup.