Recently, a dedicated group of twenty educators and industry experts from Valencia Community College, Orange County Public Schools (Career and Technical Education), and Osceola County Public Schools (Career & Technical Education) met on a Saturday to participate in a lively staff development training session that explored ways to build “classroom community” regardless of the environment: live, online, or hybrid, and more importantly, why to do so.
With coffee in hand and preworkshop self-assessments completed, participants arrived for the four-hour session that promised discussion, interaction, and exploring ways to learn about themselves and their students ~ all in an effort to build nurturing, successful, effective learning experiences.
Though seasoned in their industry experience, and for most, in their scholarly experience as well, we all agreed that the demographics of our classrooms, whether in person or online, are changing rapidly, and in order to accommodate those changes, we need to better understand who our students are as learners as well as who we are as instructors (and learners) ~ how core personality characteristics, preferred learning styles, and cultural/generational elements affect learning (and teaching).
Through the True Colors and Generational Profiles models, we also discussed how these characteristics affect our relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Awareness and understanding of the influences lead to more effective communication at home and in our offices and schools.
Purposeful thinking and engaged discussion assisted participants in developing a clearer understanding of how innate personality traits, brain-based learning styles, and generational influences affect the learning environment, which led to action plans that included tools for getting to know our students better, supporting them in getting to know themselves and each other better, and ways to tweak the learning experience to increase student (and instructor) success.
A big “thanks” to everyone for their active and enthusiastic participation! I enjoyed your insight, creativity, and professional dedication on an early Saturday morning.