When the audience is tired, maybe it’s time to…
Today I learned about breaking rules and going with the flow. In almost 20 years of teaching, I have never abandoned a class to go shopping, but somehow on this Friday afternoon during a Toronto heat wave, it just seemed like the right thing to do.
I was facilitating a session on health promotion and prevention with a small group of international practitioners, who are in Toronto for a two month research institute. In spite of lots of activities and a pretty committed group of learners, two hours into our three-hour session I could see that attention was waning. I saw that I had two choices:
– Keep plugging ahead despite clear evidence of information overload on the part of the learners (their curriculum includes lots of early starts and late evenings of meetings and work)
– Abandon ship in favour of a field trip.
Our class was about 3 minutes from the University of Toronto bookstore, which happens to have a wide array of U of T-branded everything-you-can-imagine (great souvenirs of Toronto), and is located in a grand brick building at the centre of the U of T campus.
So, we agreed to end the day on a high note. Everyone found something to take home, and just as important, I found out that flexibility in teaching sometimes means knowing when it’s time to stop (and shop).