Do you feel like you have so much information to share that you need to make the most of every moment when you teach financial education classes? Research has shown us that how we teach may be more important than how much we teach. Here are five tips to get the most bang-for-your buck when you only have an hour or two to make your points.
- More fun, more learning.
When adults and teens are actively engaged and enjoying themselves, they literally take in more information and retain it better. It doesn’t have to always be laugh-out-loud fun, but it can’t be boring, negative or judgmental. For a start, minimize lectures, PowerPoint and worksheets. Maximize humor, conversation and engaging activities.
At the Florida Prosperity Partnership Conference, president/CEO Kaye Schmidt suggested only offering what is immediately relevant to the participants. What can they do today and tomorrow? They’ll be more likely to come back when they are ready to focus on next week and next month.
- Sacrifice content
It’s only natural to want to cram in as much as possible when you get people into the room, but it’s the law of diminishing returns. If it’s too much and they are not enjoying themselves, they won’t take in as much, retain what they heard, and they won’t come back.
- The environment makes a difference
A dark windowless, bare room with uncomfortable chairs and dreary surroundings sets a very different tone than a well lit, attractive room with comfortable seats. Being uncomfortable and in a depressing environment is actually distracting and leads to less learning.
- Set a positive tone
Avoid starting off the class with a pre-test, assessment or a worksheet. Likewise, don’t ask people to write down their money mistakes or fill out a budget worksheet with their income and expenses. If they’re already feeling down about money, it just takes them to bad place. Instead, use humor and start with an ice-breaker that focuses on a positive experience when people made good choices and experienced a success. Think about what would make it easier for students to learn rather than on what you want to teach.