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Leadership question

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  • Leadership question


    Yesterday and today we had hazmat training in the class room. There were more than a few volunteers who where having side conversation during the class who all sat in the back. How should events like this be handled? if side conversations are happening after the first attempt to correct how is the situation to be handled?

  • #2
    There's probably no silver bullet solution. It may come down to your own personal teaching style. But here are a few ideas.

    - Engage with the disruptors: Ask questions, get opinions, and test the knowledge of the people who are talking. It interrupts their side conversation, and also draws attention to them. It might help keep them in check.
    - Mix it up. Maybe you tried to redirect them the first time. Something like "Cmon guys, knock it off." But if that didn't work, don't just keep saying "Cmon guys." Next time try silently staring at them until they stop talking. Don't start talking again until you have the room's attention.
    - Get the class involved: If there are volunteers from that same company who aren't disruptive, take them aside during breaks, and ask them to help keep their guys in line.
    - Encourage self-policing: If one or two of the disruptive people are a little older or more experienced, talk to them during breaks too. Tell them "Hey, you've got a little time in, and these young guys look to you to know how to act. I know hazmat isn't everyone's thing, but be a good role model for the junior guys in your company."

    Also, those power point lectures can be pretty brutal. Maybe look for ways to vary your approach. Like if some of the slides have background material that you're pretty sure some people already know , make it a question you ask, rather than just telling them the answer. "Who can tell me what the acronym TRACEM-P stands for?" that kind of thing. Show pictures of tankers with placards visible. Have them look up the UN number in the ERG. Engage the class in a discussion about how they'd respond to an incident with that chemical.

    Maybe your'e doing all this stuff. And don't get me wrong, those guys sound pretty unprofessional. But sometimes classroom management problems are a good opportunity to look at a training and try to figure out why you're losing people's attention in the first place. Just a thought.


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