Tuesday 27 December 2011

Incredible India: Up Against the Koenig Imperative

Boot camp revamp
I had a majorfalling out with my trainer this morning on a number of issues regarding thedelivery of the curriculum leading to a certification I am in interested.
When it comes to bootcamp training, it can be difficult to balance the issues of time, completecoverage, teaching, explanation and preparation for tests.
Much as I will liketo attain my certifications as soon as possible, my learning methodology hasnever been by rote, accepted views or concepts have to have undergirding logicand I need to know that I am extending my body of knowledge.
The burden of history
For someone who hasbeen in the ICT profession for 23 years, one can safely say a good deal of theconcepts we take for granted today have their foundations in fundamentallyprimitive things we did decades.
People new to thefield may have no need for the history of how, why and what things are today,maybe that is an advantage or disadvantage but it is impossible to expect thosewho have experience to just become sponges of new thinking without referencingknowledge they already have or activities that have practical affinity with thetopic under discussion.
Intensive versus effective
Again, thecurriculum is delivered in 6 8-hour days and sometimes Sundays, the danger ofsaturation looms, the trainer wanting to cover the requisite material, thetrainee wanting to pace the absorption so that the quality becomes of greatersignificance than the quality.
In other words,there might be a case for 5 hours of effective training over 8 hours ofintensive training, each trainee knows what they can handle before they beginto wilt and that is only just human.
Delivery prowess
Then, there areamazing differences between the two trainers I have had, the Microsoft OfficialCurriculum is tied to Powerpoint slides that were followed quite closely andmade the taking of notes less easy especially in a one-on-one teaching setup.
The better deliverymethod with regards to the Powerpoint slides should have been having the slidesoffered as notes to trainees to annotate thereby helping link discussion withconcept and reference.
In the case of myCCNA trainer, she is no less than prodigious, in the 4 days of my trainingalready, she has not one referenced a note, she fills the board with pointafter point with literal total recall, in the probably 500 sentences she haswritten on the board, she has only once asked if one point had been written andthat point was probably the least significant of the lot.
Rhyme without reason
Things began toreach a head yesterday when first certain definitions appeared to challenge theconventional use of language, English being the medium but meanings appearingto indicate the opposite.
I could not absorbthe idea that Least Feasible Distance could go on to mean Best Option,regardless of tone, context, syntax or semantics, this was an exceptional anomalyand I felt quite uncomfortable with this.
I dare say Englishis not really the same between what is spoken and written in America and whatthe English speak especially when there is a purist determination in one’s modeof expression – that is just a fact.
English usage and meaning
I have worried thatI might get caught out with American usage and Americanisms and a typicalexample I give is our pants are never exposed whilst Americans wear theirsopenly. Alright, pants are underwear in England but trousers in America ifviewed from an English perspective just as a negative is always a negative onour side of the pond no matter how many you string together whereas in Americathe mathematical double negative take precedent to yield a positive or theaffirmative.
Another usage ofActive and Passive which had the implication of opposites in the class seemedto be given a much more acceptable reading when explained in another contextfrom other material I reviewed.
Just as we haveEnglish and US English dictionaries, I am beginning to think whilst allowancescan be made for similarity and difference, there might be a case for clearlydifferentiating the material and not assuming English is really the same aroundthe globe.
However, it waswhen a formula was written on the board that combined two unrelated units thatI had had enough. I was not in class to jettison my engineering background andthere had to be a reason why that formula was the accepted code.
Oranges and apples
At this point, Iwas impervious to the illogical and scientifically incorrect; I could notimagine that all the engineering in Cisco had produced a dimensional andmathematical inexactitude withoutreason.
That reason was notforthcoming, I was to absorb this by law and learn it by rote – for a personwho was first precocious, then inquisitive, interrogative, curious,questioning, researching and challenging assumptions no matter how widely held,this was one of those moments where without reason there could be no progress.
Yesterday, I gotup, closed my book, slammed the lid of my netbook and was ready to walk out ofthe course, she was able to placate me but I was far from satisfied.
Now, I know
On returning to myhotel, that was the first topic I researched and then I saw the extensiveformula that got condensed to what was written on the board, the engineeringand mathematical proof was evident – that for me is what you call theimpartation of knowledge and the fulfilment of understanding – the why and howwas there to see.
So, in the morningI took my discovery to my trainer and she acknowledged she knew this but it wasbeyond the scope of the course I was on. Whilst that was appreciated, I felt aconflict brewing because I was not just going to take everything as gospel butwill require clear detail where assumptions are made that seem to challenge theconcepts of language or science as predicated from my “wealth” of experience.
By the time we hadexchanged a few good views about the material it was time for my trainer to sayshe could no more continue the training and I felt we had reached an irreconcilableimpasse.
I then had ameeting with the officials and technical manager where generally what theyseemed to be concerned with was the method (The Koenig Imperative – course materialdelivered within constrained time-frames leading to certification).
In some ways, Iacquiesced and we agreed to continue the course because the curriculum isreally an abridged version of the more serious engineering concepts that I willfind more interesting and aligned to my engineering background.
Patching up
I can understand mytrainer’s frustrations though I cannot say she fully appreciates that I cannotextend my knowledge of these concepts just by faith without seeking thefundamental reasons for why and how such conclusions were arrived at – it isjust the bane of my kind of background, that I have become a somewhat difficultand impossible trainee after her having delivered this curriculum to well over500 trainees is unfortunate.
I am not a robot,God help my intellect and we both need a healthy dose of patience with eachother.
We appeared topatch things up and continue with the training, an interestingly eventful day. 

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