Thursday, September 22, 2011

Hard to Follow Instructors

Have you ever had a hard to follow instructor?  Do not give up!  Difficult instructors are actually a blessing in disguise and present a new opportunity for learning and insight.  As with bosses, co-workers and classmates, we all see what it is like to interact with various personality types that differ from our own and although it may be difficult to collaborate all of the diverse ideas at first, we ultimately achieve synergy when we open our minds to the combination of multiple perspectives.  In the process, we gain epiphanies that we didn’t have before when we open our eyes not just to working with a new personality, but how that personality broadens our learning capacity insofar as expanding our repertoire of future interactions. 

For example, if you have a professor who is extremely detailed and “by the book” with regard to standards and expectations and you are on the far side of creative, it forces you to exercise your mind in a new way that can prepare you for a similar expectation in the future. You never know. . . the Type A instructor could be a precursor to a Type A boss or landlord and thinking in this new way will provide necessary practice for these exchanges.  In contrast, you may encounter the opposite situation where an instructor with fewer boundaries and more flexibility will prompt you to fine tune your communication skills as you seek to ascertain specifics from your instructor with regard to guidelines and expectations to ensure that you are successful. 

Ultimately, your instructor will appreciate increased communication that shows that you are a conscientious student.  In the end, learning how to exercise your communication skills in new and diverse ways can only benefit you by preparing you for similar “real world” situations, not to mention, no two people are alike.  So, the next time you encounter that “difficult” instructor, rise to the challenge and expect that only positive learning experiences will grow from it, despite your strong efforts to push through its trials and tribulations!
Additional tips on working with difficult instructors include the following:
  • Combat difficult lectures by sharing notes with other classmates, form a study group (you can even do this through social media), or (if you’re brave) meet with the instructor to review your notes and answer your questions.  
  • Did you know that many ELI instructors have on campus office hours?  You will be surprised how much your persistence will pay off.
We have all had instructors who seem to be on different planets, but that doesn’t mean the class has to be a loss. 

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