What does it take to be a great trainer?

What makes a great trainer? Is it about your experience and expertise or more about your presentation and engaging with others? This article looks at what some of the greatest teachers have said about great trainers. Think back to one of your favorite teachers at school. What was it that made you like them?

I know in my case I loved the teachers who inspired me to go deeper into issues, read more and ultimately pursue my own learning. These same teachers also made me feel that I was capable of great achievements if I worked hard. They also brought everything to life- like making Shakespeare or some aspect of physics relevant to my everyday life.

While teaching in schools is different to training in radio and television stations, it is often what I will call the emotional stuff which contributes to the success of a class. One of my favorite teachers is bell hooks. In her book, Teaching Community - A Pedagogy of Hope she says:

"When teachers teach with love, combining care, commitment, knowledge, responsibility, respect, and trust, we are often able to enter the classroom and go straight to the heart of the matter, which is knowing what to do on any given day to create the best climate for learning."

"Teaching with love" means two things to me- firstly  I have to love and feel committed to community broadcasting and secondly I have to feel a deep generosity of spirit towards those I teach. This generosity means that as the trainer I am always keeping an eye on what is happening at an individual level, making sure that everyone is involved and creating a supportive atmosphere for everyone. It also means that I give everything- all my energy and attention-  to encouraging everyone to participate and learn.

I also find it  useful to try to model my own behaviour around the values which we expect from everyone within community broadcasting - such as respect, love of diversity and taking responsibility for my own behaviour. Bringing this positive spirit to the classroom, as bell hooks suggests, helps to ensure the subject matter will resonate with learners.

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