My husband and I began watching the Amazing Race during its second or third season after a friend couldn't stop raving over the program.
During that season when there were six, or nine, teams left; and they were in a desert country, with a clue that told them to dig in their designated sand lots to locate a scarab to get their next clue. Not a single team knew what a scarab was and they were digging around the sand in the hopes they would find "something" and there weren't any other things they might find instead of a scarab. I was astonished that not one of these teams, raised in the United States, had any concept of something I just assumed everyone knew. This was after the movie "The Mummy" played in theaters, which made this even more incongruous to me. It was then I realized that many Americans, older and younger, than I, did not have the same experience as I did.
I grew up in the suburbs outside of Washington, DC and I remember learning so many things during my years in public education. During my sixth grade year, when we were studying Greek and Roman history, we learned about how the Christians moved their holy days to coincide with the Pagan holy days in order to convert them to Christianity. I don't know anyone who learned this sort of concept in elementary school.
This experience created an "ah-ha" moment in my life. It was then I understood that there are gaps in everyone's experiences and knowledge base. That means we as trainers and educators, we must find a way to bridge the gap between our assumptions and others experiences.
There are many ways to work toward this understanding and bridge the gap between ourselves and those we want to educate. Here are a few things I have found from my experience:
Caryn Morgan, corporate trainer, obtained her Masters Degree in Adult Education and Training