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ENGAGE

TEACH, DON'T JUST PRESENT


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Sinopse

ENGAGE: Teach, Don’t Just Present. We attend a lecture at a local Y, we are invited to a workshop, attend a conference on a particular topic, or attend a TedTalk and we sit there, for the most part, and listen to someone talk. Few members of the audience are actively engaged, or even encouraged to do so. Consequently, even though we may find the speaker humorous at times, espousing interesting views, or smart, we usually leave with little of substantive content. Why? Because most of us are not very good auditory learners and we weren’t encouraged to actively engage with the content presented. And, even if we were engaged in some manner, the presenter has no idea we actually followed or understood his message because he never checked for our understanding. Quite often you’ll hear a speaker, in midst of the talk, query, “Get my point?” But she rarely, if ever, checks that they do. At best, such experiences become a form of entertainment, like going to the movies. I am not saying that it is always inappropriate to just attend a lecture without audience active involvement. Certainly, my approach is less appropriate at a political rally wherein a politician is posturing. Although I believe s/he’d get more votes if s/he did at least cognitively engage the audience by posing thought-provoking questions in which the audience could, for instance, chorally respond. Also, I wouldn’t expect nor would I think active engagement, at least in the way I advocate, is needed, if the speaker was famously charismatic or someone on the stature, say, of an Albert Einstein. I too would just like to listen, perhaps. My point is that we rely too much on the taken-for-granted, traditional paradigm of recitation; i.e., someone talks, the rest listen. I’ve argued in ENGAGE: Teach, Don’t Just Present that such an approach is not productive for attendees of such events, nor is it pedagogically sound.In my book I don’t just decry such poor pedagogical practices, but I provide concrete suggestions to better engage our audience. I provide more than ten practical ways to engage the audience. I believe that if we incorporated such strategies our audience would leave with a deeper understanding of our message as well retain much more. Also we, as presenters, will derive much more satisfaction.

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