Tip #497: When Participants Come To Class Late: Does That Reflect Disregard or Respect for Learning?

“In an information society, education is no mere amenity; it is the prime tool for growing people and profits.” John Naisbitt

I have just returned from piloting 10 four-hour business management sessions for the owners and staff of small private medical practices in Nairobi, Kenya. The sessions were scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Each session began at 9:00 a.m. with 3-4 participants. By the time that each session ended, there would be 12-18 participants.

For one session, two participants came in two hours into the class, one participant came three hours into the four-hour class, and one participant was there for maybe a maximum of 40 minutes.

For another session, one man came in just before the session ended. For several sessions, one woman came in just after the end of the session.

Given the impossible traffic and transit situations in Nairobi, that was sometimes the earliest that they could get to the classroom.

On these occasions, I felt honor-bound to give them one-on-one coaching regarding the content and activities.

It was very clear that they all took the classes very seriously. Regardless of when they arrived, they immediately took the pre- test and then jumped into whatever discussion or activity that was in process.

In the recent past, I would have interpreted their coming late as a clear indication that they didn’t value the training. However, in this case, I began to realize that they came for as much time as they possibly could because they valued the training so highly and did not want to miss a moment if they could help it.

It may only be relevant for those classes. I’ll have to see if it applies in future settings.

It’s at least a new and different perspective on the issue.

May your learning be sweet.


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