Comfort Zone – The Most Destructive Thing in Education

Comfort Zone – The Most Destructive Thing in Education

The greatest challenge teaching instructor trainers is getting them to stop teaching whatever subject they are good at doing and start teaching teaching.

Here’s an example from years of teaching scuba instructors and scuba instructor trainers:

I was teaching a class to three scuba instructor candidates and one instructor-trainer candidate. The IT candidate was doing much of the work. He was doing okay, showing the instructor candidates how to teach various skills.

But then it turned into a train wreck. He came up against a skill he did not know how to teach to instructor candidates. So he did what he knew best…he taught diving.

But the instructor candidates all knew how to dive…they were there to learn how to teach. I let this deteriorate for a short while to see if the instructor candidates would get the IT candidate back on track. But they did not. So a teaching class turned into a diving class, and no one was learning anything.

But I was able to turn this into a learning opportunity for everyone. Guiding the instructor candidates to start to question the IT candidate about how to teach the skill, we eventually found out the IT candidate had no idea. So as a group we showed him how to teach teaching, not teach diving.

The fallback to your comfort zone when you don’t know where to go is one of the biggest traps facing educators teaching experienced adults. The way out? Never lose track of the fact that any instructor training class is never about the subject…it’s only about teaching teaching.