I must admit I was a bit taken aback when I read one trainer’s assertion that:
“‘Kooshball-ism,’ as I like to refer to all the gizmos and tactics, which are espoused in the oh-so-many books and Trainers Warehouse catalogs, is so 1980’s-1990’s. Our profession has evolved dramatically since that era.”
I agree that our profession has evolved. However, I would contend that it has evolved in the direction quite contrary to that trainers assertion. I observe that brain research continues to support the importance of establishing stress-free, interactive learning environments.
I think it’s important to remember that in the training and teaching community, we have many different types of trainers each of whom teach different topics to different types of groups. While some of the techniques that folks share with one another on Linked-IN may be more appealing to us than others, our job as trainers is to view the discussions as a brainstorm, from which we can isolate ideas that are most in keeping with our own style and group needs. We each need to filter it for ourselves. I don’t believe that there is a single best way to quiet a loud group, for instance — the “best” way depends on the facilitator, the group, the topic, the nature of the “noise,” etc.
Trainers have a tricky line to walk. They must focus on professionalism and excellence, while making the experience of learning stress free and fun. A huge amount of brain research tells us that people learn more when they are relaxed, when all of their senses are engaged, and when their experience is emotional as well as intellectual — hence the effectiveness of stories, music, games and other playful devices.
So, I would be careful not to throw out the baby with the bathwater. Playful tools (whether that be a clapping technique or a Koosh ball) must be introduced and conducted with professionalism, purpose and respect.