METHODS AND TECHNIQUES
Where Part I deals with form, Part II looks at methods and techniques, areas on which labor and adult educators make decisions every day. The emphasis is on teaching in the classroom, the traditional setting that workers prefer. It is a structure that lets them know what to expect and what is expected of them. Interaction with other students often provides as much learning as the teacher, while students count heavily on the mutual support they find within the group, enjoy the social experience of the classroom, and look forward to its comaraderie.
What method best imparts information? How can students be involved more fully in the learning process? What should determine which methods will best suit a particular skill-building workshop? In the four chapters that follow, a number of specific techniques are reviewed.
The discussion method has long been considered the foundation of successful workers’ education. Teachers of the adult student who comes to school after a tiring day on the job must utilize this method as a primary tool for student involvement. To use it to maximum effectiveness takes planning, as well as skill and practice. Chapter 9 includes valuable suggestions on how to build a discussion outline and put it to work.
Chapter 10 examines ways to develop and use case studies. Case study material is readily available to labor educators; what material to use, how to develop cases and how detailed to make them, when to use short vignettes instead, and other questions form the core of this chapter. Tips on integrating case examples into the teaching plan should prove helpful to those who want to introduce simulated experiential learning into their classrooms.
In Chapter 11, oral history is discussed and its uses in teaching women’s role in labor history are explored. A method increasingly popular with labor educators, variations are suggested to utilize the students’ own family work histories in the classroom teaching process and to relate these to the labor, social, and economic history of the periods covered in these family accounts.
The final chapter in Part II describes a variety of games and exercises, easily transferable to a range of classroom situations. They are designed to build self-confidence by underscoring how much learning can and does take place on the job or in the community where students are involved all the time. Some of these games focus on the decision-making process, on problem-solving skills, and on how to set goals and plan ways to reach them.