A few months back I was chatting with a friend of mine about a survey I sent out. This friend is in sales, and a poster child extrovert. I was thrilled that I already had responses to my survey. He mentioned that he never takes surveys. That to ask him to sit still and focus on answering questions was a deal breaker. Call him, talk to him – he will respond all day, but forget taking a survey.
It was a brief conversation, but it really got me thinking. I love surveys. I don’t have to talk to anyone. I can hide in my hole and share my thoughts without having to have any human contact at all. I’m a poster child introvert. Guess how I try to get any and all information – surveys. I started to think about who answered my surveys – probably people like me. I’m only teaching to myself – I’m a learning discriminator!
Examples came flooding to me. I am highly visual, so I always have too many visuals. If someone asks me a question I build an instructional handout on the spot. I like quiet, too much input makes me a bit (a lot) cranky, so I kept my classroom quiet. I don’t like to multi task, so I keep my students on one idea at a time. You get the picture.
It dawned on me that if I only teach the way I like to learn, I’m going to miss a huge opportunity to reach others. I must push outside of my comfort zone to make sure that I help others find their comfort zone. Sitting still and taking a survey might make a ton of folks skin crawl. Knowing that means that if I don’t reach people in other ways, then I will always have skewed data. I have to find ways to reach others so that I have a clear picture from all my people. Likewise I have to offer professional learning that isn’t just what I would like. Yes, I love an asynchronous book study – which I’m in the middle of planning -but there has to be more out there!
This is when I’m glad to be part of a team. When I am stuck in a rut, teaching only to myself, I know my team will offer suggestions. In this way, we can make rounded offerings and hit all of the people, or at least more of them.
How do you tackle learning discrimination?