Professional Discussion in Salon Industry Education

As an educator in the salon industry, there are many ways of sharing knowledge and ensuring it’s been received and understood.  Whether that’s through worksheets, practical sessions, theory lessons, video all educators must find engaging ways of making the information flow from them to their students. Many of the skills we teach, particularly within fields like holistic practice, can be ethereal or are based in the professional’s touch, and so may be harder to assess if the student has understood and is able to competently deliver the treatment being taught.  This is where professional discussion may be a great tool.

Professional discussion can be used to transfer knowledge and fulfil the lesson’s learning objectives. It involves engaging in a conversation with your students and allowing them to reflect on their learning whilst encouraging them to share experiences and insights that they may have had around the subject.

In this blog, we’ll explore how professional discussion can be used as a teaching method and look at the benefits, planning, and successfully delivering this style of teaching.

Benefits of professional discussion

  • Encourages critical thinking by encouraging students to think critically and reflect on their learning. It allows them to analyse information, apply their knowledge, and develop their own opinions.
  • Builds communication skills through including active listening, articulating their thoughts, and responding to others’ opinions in a safe space.
  • Increases engagement and motivation by creating an interactive learning environment.
  • Promotes collaborative learning and encourages students to work together, share ideas, and learn from each other as well as from, you, the teacher.

Planning a professional discussion

Before embarking on a professional discussion, you need to plan and prepare to ensure that it is productive and achieves the appropriate learning objectives. Here are some things to consider when planning a professional discussion:

  • Identify and define the learning objectives. These should align with the course curriculum and the overall learning goals.
  • Select a relevant and interesting topic that relates to the learning objectives. The topic should be challenging enough to encourage critical thinking and discussion.
  • Prepare a few questions and develop a list of open-ended questions that encourage discussion and reflection. Again, ensure that these align with the learning objectives for the lesson.
  • Assign roles to your students to ensure that everyone participates in the discussion. These roles could include facilitator, timekeeper, and note-taker. 

Executing a professional discussion

During the discussion, it is important to ensure that all your students participate, and that the conversation stays on track and doesn’t go off on tangents.

Here are some tips for holding a professional discussion:

  • Set expectations: At the beginning of the discussion, set expectations for participation and behaviour. These expectations should include active listening, respectful communication, and a willingness to contribute to the discussion.
  • Encourage participation: Encourage all students to participate in the discussion. If they are shy or reluctant to speak, gentle encouragement may be needed. Use open-ended questions to prompt responses and encourage follow-up questions to deepen the discussion. Ensure you watch for those students trying to contribute but being spoken over by more confident students.
  • Keep the conversation on track: Keep the conversation focused on the learning objectives and the topic at hand. If the conversation veers off topic, gently redirect the discussion back to your planned conversation.
  • Summarize the discussion: At the end of the discussion, summarise the key points and takeaways. Ask students to reflect on what they learned and how it relates to the learning objectives.

We hope that our mini guide to professional discussion has given you a reminder of this great learning tool if you haven’t used it before or maybe not used it recently.  It’s an effective teaching method that can be used across the personal care education setting to transfer knowledge and fulfil learning objectives. By encouraging your students to voice what they have learned and experienced it grows their critical thinking, builds communication skills, increases engagement with the course content, and promotes collaborative learning and shared knowledge.

In today’s world where our students and graduates face may anxiety through face-to-face contact after so much time in the impersonal online world, professional discussion can help students develop the skills they need to succeed in their careers.

By planning and delivering professional discussions successfully, educators can create a productive and engaging learning environment that supports student success and helps grow great well-rounded professionals with enhanced communication skills which is what our industry needs.  You often teach how you learn and so professionals going into the world experienced in holding conversations are more likely to ‘teach’ their clients well.

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