Great Teachers Inspire! Do you?

February 23, 2012

This time of year, schools have headed to recess and teachers escape to either the ski slopes or the joy of sleeping late. I did corner a teacher friend of mine who is doing neither, and who gave me some thoughts that might have a radio application. Ben, a local English teacher, is using the recess to evaluate his own teaching methods and effectiveness. Are you evaluating your effectiveness?

He’s using the time away from the grind to find a way to sharpen his process so he’s more effective in getting through to his students. Here are some quick tips to consider to make your talent management sharper and evaluate your own teaching process:

1. Simplify.   Teachers routinely “go back to the drawing board” and simplify their process to help their students retain more and become better. In fact, every one of these quick tips somehow circles back to simplicity and fundamentals.

Have you considered the best possible way to simplify your message for your talent? In an era where there are mounds of data to share with them, sometimes taking the simpler approach can get through to the talent. Just as a teacher boils down the process to evaluate specific and measurable criteria, a programming “teacher” needs to do the same for talent.

2. Evaluate preparation and study habits. One of the greatest teachers of all time was the late UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. He stated it best: “Discipline yourself so that others won’t need to.”
Great teachers figure out a way to get to the root of students’ habits and improve the process by teaching repetitive skills. Have you walked through your talents’ preparation habits so you have a deeper understanding of their process? Conduct an audit of their process to determine areas of opportunity or improvement. And don’t be afraid to boil it down to the simplest terms. Back to the great John Wooden again: He’d spend a half hour of the first day of basketball practice teaching his men how to put on their socks.

3. Reaffirm your willingness to offer help and guidance. Great teachers frequently offer their help, even when everything seems to be working well. They want to establish to the students that the “door is always open.”
Have you reaffirmed to your on air talent that the door is always open? Sometimes you may think that talent understands this obvious point, but they may think you’re busy or preoccupied, and they won’t ask for help. A great schoolteacher establishes a back-and-forth relationship that allows the student to talk about what’s working in the learning process and what isn’t. Do you have that relationship with your on-air talent?

4. The most important lesson from Ben the teacher: “Acknowledge your students’ success as a means to encourage future growth.” Sounds simple if you’re someone who manages talent, but it’s frequently the missing ingredient. Whether it’s a great teacher from the local schools, the great coach John Wooden, or a great programmer, great teachers inspire talent to grow!

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