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Jon Kennard


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Superheroes of L&D: Episode 5


In the fifth episode of the series, Stella Collins  continues her quest to take the world of L&D into superhero territory to try and solve another of the most common problems facing industry professionals.

Sue and the twin villains Constance Interrupting and Quentin Questions

Our heroine Sue is struggling with two cunning villains determined to disrupt excellent learning – Constance Interrupting and Quentin Questions.  You’ve met them yourself; they drag everyone’s attention back to their viewpoint at every turn; they ask seemingly irrelevant questions and disrupt thinking and open discussion. Tension mounts as everyone wants to ask them to move on but daren’t! 

And they are so cunning because you’ve already agreed you value questions, there’s no such thing as a stupid question; so how can you get round these clever menaces, Constance Interrupting and Quentin Questions and give everyone the chance to ask questions?

‘Don’t get me wrong’ says Sue ‘I welcome questions but sometimes constant interruptions deter others from offering their suggestions.’ This can be is particularly true if you’ve got more senior people with junior staff or learners who are more introverted or reflective.

Sue continues with her superhero suggestion ‘I have devised the Wall of  Words… flip chart paper, landscape decorated to look like a wall where ideas, suggestions and questions are constantly posted (they all have post-it notes, they lend themselves to be brick shaped!!) for the section we are currently covering. Then at the end of a section we refer to the Wall of Words and answer questions, talk over suggestions and share ideas.’

It seems to work well and Sue gets more input from the quieter learners and Constance Interrupting and Quentin Questions still get to ask their questions but with less disturbance to everyone else. They may be extraverts who want to think externally and writing out their questions helps them or they may be particularly active and find being able to get up to put up a question gives them some time standing or moving around.

As a brain-friendly superhero Sue knows the first of seven vital review periods is immediately at the end of a session; ‘it also lends itself nicely as a recall anchor for some of my learners.’

And now she’s going to adapt her Wall of Words further by adding a little Duke of Edinburgh graffiti to mix it up and provide additional input.

Learn how to get round the wiliest of learning villains and eliminate all your ‘difficult delegates’ by joining us at How to be a Brain Friendly Trainer 5-7th November in Stratford on Avon.  Full details at

Superhero sounds by: Hemera/Thinstock

Author Profile Picture
Jon Kennard

Freelance writer

Read more from Jon Kennard

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