Some people recall their college speech course with the same enthusiasm as their recent root canal. But try to remember, if not too painful, one of the most important points the instructor made concerning your audience. It went something like, “know them.” Teachers pride themselves on knowing their audience. We like knowing their family, siblings, hobbies, test scores, lunch number, and future goals. It makes us think we know them. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to know these things. We need to know so much more.
Students are not the same kinds of learners that teachers once were. Their world is drastically different from what we knew as students. And that changes so much about teaching. It changes techniques, tools, methods, and even content, to an extent. But, the most important thing that must change is our attitude. If we hang on to our learning styles of decades past, our audience will see our teaching as a less that classic black -n- white show with nothing that seems to interest or apply to a student of the modern world.
What do today’s audiences demand from us? How can we deliver?