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Over-enthusiastic co-presenter

By Colinmac ·
I'm co-training two 4-day classes of university students - 1 course has ended and the other starts on Monday. I have a wealth of practical experience in several systems, but my co-presenter knows the background theory inside out. She also attended that same university, is on first-name terms with the tutors and administrative staff, and can obviously relate very well to the students position.

The students are a little rusty on stuff they examined right at the start of their training, which has been theoretical until now. The idea of this course however, is to show them how theory relates to practice.

My co-presenter knows enthusiasm wins students over - and I'm usually marked as "enthusiastic" when training - but she has come to the stage where she refers to the students as "her children" and rushs to answer every question and query. Even when I give an answer, she will "add" to it, and is also putting theory back into the course, under the guise of "brushing-up" on rusty recollections.

I have little chance to demonstrate my prowess therefore, and hence get poorer marks from the students.

I only have 4 days to go with this co-presenter. Do I ignore her hijacking of the course (potentially resulting another set of poorer scores for me), or do I mention it and endure 4 days of sulks? The students "love her" and I'm going to come across as a grumpy old man producing a sour grapes complaint.

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stand your ground

by jdclyde In reply to Over-enthusiastic co-pres ...

be polite, but point out what it looks like if you were to re-answer anything that she says. It gives the impression that you are unable to answer and ask her if she thinks you really are unable to answer. Put her right on the spot for that.

You are suppose to work as a team, not try to show the other up and it sounds like she is a very needy person needing to be in the spotlight.

Don't make a big deal of it, and never work with this person again if the little talk does not work. Good luck.

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by Colinmac In reply to stand your ground

Thanks for that JD.
Unfortunately, I will have to work with her again on an ad-hoc basis and anything I say will be a big deal to her - she gets good reports and is extremely confident in her ability, so anything that brings that into question really hits hard.

She's just way too over-enthusiastic.

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If future work is needed together

by jdclyde In reply to Thanks

then it is even more important that you let her know how you feel. I would BET that she isn't even aware that she is stomping on your toes.

Make sure you do the "makes me feel" route, so it is not seen as an attack.

When you do this, it makes me feel..... you don't think I am able to answer, and it gives the students that impression as well.

Don't do the talk when anyone else is around, or she will be more likely to get defensive.

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Rather simple answer

by neilb@uk In reply to Over-enthusiastic co-pres ...

Give it a few days. Hopefully, you'll get some good answers from the likes of JD and other professionals.

Then, send her the URL to the thread...

Your first post sets your feelings out plain enough, anyway. An impartial reader might think that you're whingeing except for the "her children" example. That sets off warning bells that she's committing the cardinal sin of patronising the students - and you, as well.

You have to do something for your own and the students' protection, sulks or not. The fact that they "love her" does not detract from the fact that she's undermining you and the course's practical aims.

Just my two pennorth...

Neil :)

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Tuppence well spent.

by Colinmac In reply to Rather simple answer

Cheers for that Neil (and others). Your comments have given me food for thought. I'm so close to this that it is invaluable to have another's perspective.

Unfortunatly I don't have a lot of time, and I do fear that the knowledge transfer will be lost and that all the students will actually recall a month from now will be the "over the top" presentation.

I have also tried today to rework my material into bite-sized practicals - to avoid overrunning theory sessions leaving me looking unprofessional by having to rework my sessions on the hoof to meet the timetable - so I'm feeling much happier now.

Thanks again.

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Take time to talk with her about the reason

by Deadly Ernest In reply to Over-enthusiastic co-pres ...

for your inclusion, that you are there to help the students relate the theory (that she has clearly taught them so well - gentle nudge) to the practical application and that it is hard for them to focus on that aspect if she keeps refering back to the theory after you have given the field application answer.

I once had a similar problem and dealt with it by being first to speak and saying something like "Well I will ask Miss XXX to give you the theoretical answer and then explain how you apply that theory in the field." That we she gets in her theory and has no valid reason to jump back in again.

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The Dale Carnegie method

by maxwell edison In reply to Over-enthusiastic co-pres ...

If you lead her into thinking that the answer or the solution was her idea, then it would have a better chance of coming to be. The way to do this is in the form of a question or questions. Not leading questions, per se, but ones that will certainly lead only to acceptable outcomes.

For example, "Sally, I just don't think that I'm as big a part of these presentations as I could be. What do you think I could do to get a little more involved?"

She'll give you the answer, it will be her idea (or so she will think), and there will be a better chance of it actually happening. Of course, it will probably be a series of questions you pose to her in the course of the conversation, but lead it in the direction so that she actually comes up with the solution herself. How could she let her own idea fail? She probably won't. Inside of yourself, however, you'll know that someone else is being given credit for what you really wanted all along. But it's not the credit you're after, it's the outcome.

"Thank you, Sally. Those are some good ideas. Let's try them in our next presentation."

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Well as this is a Pratical Course

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Over-enthusiastic co-pres ...

Don't the students learn far more by making mistakes? I know that if I even ran a training course without a Mistake being made I worried as I was certain that I was loosing it and not doing a good enough job.

We need to allow the students to make mistakes so that they learn from them and constantly giving them the answers isn't allowing this to happen. I can remember one training course that I went to where the trainer realized that I knew the answers so to get through the work he constantly picked on me for the answers and forgot about the others there who where getting left behind as they where all lost quite quickly.

I just stop answering questions with some lame excuse that I couldn't see the drawing or whatever so I wasn't sure which way such & such was supposed to work could anyone closer to the display get a better look and answer the question?

What you need to do here is allow the students to make the mistakes and then allow this woman who is clearly over ambitious to explain the theory of Why It Is So If you allow the students to mess up and when they ask why it didn't work say something like "We have the best Theoretical Teacher available here I'm sure that she can explain why you got it wrong" and let her go at it. All you have to do is make the work so hard that they will make mistakes and then Sick the Co Presenter onto the problem. If she's so great she should have taught them this originally so after a short time she will have to start asking herself why they know so little. Yes She's going to blame you for this as it will be unthinkable that she has failed these students to her at least but if you push things hard enough for long enough it will be the students who benefit and while they may not give you great marks they will remember you as the one who taught them far more than anyone else in the course.

Sorry I don't play Office Politics at all well as I see the students in this case as the Big Losers and personal feelings shouldn't come into play you are there to teach not win popularity contests. This woman has gone the wrong way is and sheltering the students from the Big Bad World so they are effectively learning very little and will lack her protection once they leave that Uni and without a good grounding in the real life aspects they will be worse than useless workers in the field and give that Uni a Bad Name for turning out Under Grads without a clue.

The students or their parents are paying good money to learn and they are being paid a massive disservice by being treated in this manner. Theory has its place quite rightly but Practical work also has its place and you shouldn't allow Theory to be the overriding factor allowed to propagate here as it only hurts everyone in the long run.

You need to make an Impression I used to do this by walking into the class dragging a 12 foot stock whip and a pair of handcuffs and telling the students if they broke something or other I was going to handcuff them to that wall and whip the living daylights out of them and whip them some more for making a mess on the floor. While I never had any intention of doing this it made them all sit up and take notice and while I wasn't the slightest bit interested in being Popular with the students the funny thing was I was the one who they all raved about and where constantly telling everyone else just how great I was to learn from. That wasn't important to me but it did give me a nice feeling inside as I knew that I was doing my job and teaching them what they needed to know rather than just pushing them through the Mill and coming out the other end without learning a lot.

God I'm making Max look like a Diplomat aren't I?


Just a word of warning here don't come up with something so hard that you can not answer the question of why things failed to work correctly you just might catch her out in the process but you don't want to look as if you don't know as well.

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