Page 126 - ShowSight - November 2019
P. 126

                Breed Education
Breed educa- tion does start with you: You the seminar
presenter, You the learn- er, and You the seminar coordinator. Breed edu- cation serves prospective adjudicators, be they judges or breeders. What you put into the learning or teaching experience, is what you, and others, get out of it. In the case of the seminar coordina- tor, what you put into it affects the learner(s) and
the teacher(s). In this issue, we will look at what it takes to pre- pare for a breed(s) seminar(s), from the perspectives of the presenter (teacher) and learner. The next article in the series will cover prepa- ration by the seminar(s) coordinator.
If you are a breed seminar presenter, or are thinking about becoming one, the AKC has resources that should help you put together and/or present a good breed-specific seminar and hands- on workshop. The biennial AKC Judges Education Symposium was most recently held on December 14, 2018 in conjunction with the AKC National Championship Dog Show in Orlando, Florida. This symposium was targeted at judges education committee members. Sue Vroom (AKC Executive Field Representative/AKC Judges Education Liaison) was one of two speakers that addressed the 40 attendees representing 30 different breed clubs. Among the topics of conversation were the responsibilities and function of the Judges Education Committee, the role of the JE Chairperson, developing a strong mentor committee, what makes a good breed presenta- tion, seminar, and workshop paperwork were just some of the top- ics covered. A full report can be found in the AKC Judges Educa- tion Newsletter, Spring 2019. Being biennial, the next one should be around the same time in 2020. Watch the AKC web site for future announcements.
When beginning my foray into training others within my fields of occupational expertise, I leaned quite heavily on the successful techniques used by effective trainers to which I had been exposed. The commonality across those techniques was the theory of adult learning. On my path to becoming a better trainer, and a coordina- tor of learning experiences, I took a course which used the Smith & Delahaye textbook, How to Be an Effective Trainer. It is specifi- cally targeted at the adult learner, as adults and children learn in different ways.
Most parent breed clubs have assembled a seminar presentation that can be delivered by designated parent club representatives. This presentation may or may not include audio-visual media or paper- based informational material on the breed. Effective presentations engage almost all the senses.
Effective seminar presenters have several traits in common. They are first and foremost, thoroughly knowledgeable about the history and evolution, purpose, and typical structure, movement, and tem- perament of their chosen breed. They are steeped in the traditions, not fads, of their breed and nuances of stylistic interpretations while
remaining steadfast to breed type and the breed standard. In addi- tion to this deep well of breed-specific knowledge, effective seminar presenters are also dynamic speakers with the ability to engage their audience and keep their attention. They sense when an audience is puzzled by certain points in the presentation and easily reframe that point, making it easier for the uninitiated learners to comprehend. Effective presenters usually have good speaking voices that project, and if not, they request a microphone well in advance of the sched- uled presentation. They are quick to adapt to unplanned changes and/or technical difficulties. Through it all, an effective seminar presenter maintains a sense of purpose and a modicum of humor to deal with the array of personalities encountered during the presen- tation preparation, delivery, and follow-up.
Preparation begins well in advance of seminar and workshop delivery. This starts with the presentation materials themselves. The presenter may or may not have been a part of preparing the par- ent club breed presentation. However, they should be completely familiar with all aspects of the audio-visual pieces, if, when, and how used, and the varying handouts, be they in paper format or on a USB stick. There is nothing more vexing to adult learners than to have a seminar presentation read to them from material in a slide presentation or in paper format. While a few parent clubs still insist that presenters read the breed presentation script verbatim, the adult audience is quickly lost in the monotony of this type presentation. When giving learners the breed materials on USB sticks, be it the entire breed presentation, or handouts converted to PDF or other format electronic documents, ensure that these are briefly reviewed and projected so the entire class can see what to expect in the USB stick. Presenters should practice delivering the entire seminar content. This is can be done with another dog fancier that is not familiar with your breed. The listener should be instructed to ask questions, interrupt, lose focus, act puzzled, etc. In summary, the listener should attempt to portray all those behaviors that a seminar presenter may encounter during the live presentation. You, the pre- senter, should practice how to answer questions, maintain control, and bring the class back from a tangential topic.
If your breed still does the work for which it was developed, or a close facsimile thereof, it is helpful to have videos of dogs at work embedded in your presentation, or that can be played apart from it. Be prepared to explain to the learners what they are seeing or hearing through the stages of the work endeavor. This may be the only opportunity the learners will have to “see” your breed at work.
In terms of the nuts and bolts of the preparation for the presen- tation and workshop, you will need to have the presentation in a format that is utilized by the hosting seminar group. This is most often a laptop with a connection to an overhead projection system onto a screen. Be prepared for laptops of all ages and capacities. Ask ahead of time what features the hosting group’s laptop and seminar room possess. Do not assume that the laptop has a CD drive (micro or full size), multiple USB ports, has one or the other PC or Mac operating system, MS PowerPoint and/or Adobe Acrobat software or video-playing software. Ask if the seminar room has connections from the laptop to a sound system and microphones and if lights are dimmable. By the same token, do not expect that the hosting group will be able to accommodate your every technical need. Most host- ing groups are fortunate to have obtained a space that allows live dogs, is in conjunction with a major dog event, has an AV system, chairs and tables, and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to rent.
The seminar presenter should prepare the audio-visual presenta- tion so that it adapts to the hosting group’s hardware and have >
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