Beware outside consultants? - Part 3, me (and others)
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
I've been thinking a lot about my previous two posts regarding Drs. Willard Daggett and Ruby Payne. Both make a great deal of money and have built mini-empires out of their speaking engagements, writing, and/or consulting enterprises. Both have serious, serious concerns attached to their work. When phrases like 'riddled with unverifiable assertions' or '[as] full of crap as a Christmas turkey' get used, that's not good...
Daggett and Payne aren't the only ones to experience some criticism. For example, I have tremendous respect for Dr. Rick DuFour and the work that he and his team have done on professional learning communities. I've learned a boatload from their books and use On Common Ground as a required reading for my data-driven decision-making class. But I've been hearing from some educators across the country that they feel that the presentations are starting to get stale, that there are only so many times the Faces of Hope video can be shown before it loses its impact, that after one institute there's no need to go back for more. Miguel Guhlin also points us to some criticism of Marc Prensky (whose ideas have been useful to me).
A number of folks in the educational technology community serve as speakers and/or consultants. Will Richardson, David Warlick, and Angela Maiers, for example, do this as their primary vocation. Others such as myself, Doug Johnson, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, Miguel Guhlin, Dean Shareski, Sylvia Martinez, and Wesley Fryer occasionally do this on the side in addition to our regular employment.
What obligations do we have as speakers / consultants?
For those of us who do some professional speaking or consulting, this excerpt from the National Speakers Association's Code of Professional Ethics is probably a good place to start:
Article 1. The NSA member shall accurately represent qualifications and experience in both oral and written communications.
Article 2. The NSA member shall act and speak on a high professional level so as to neither offend nor bring discredit to the speaking profession.
Article 3. The NSA member shall exert diligence to understand the client's organization, approaches and goals in advance of the presentation.
Article 4. The NSA member shall avoid using materials, titles and thematic creations originated by others, either orally or in writing.
Article 5. The NSA member shall share knowledge and experience with others.
Article 6. The NSA member shall treat other speakers with professional courtesy and dignity.
Article 7. The NSA member shall limit services to those areas in which the member is qualified to serve, taking into consideration available opportunities for the member to develop new materials or undertake new fields. When unable or unqualified to fulfill requests for presentations, the NSA member shall make every effort to recommend the services of other qualified speakers, agencies or bureaus.
Article 8. The NSA member shall maintain the trust of clients, and fidelity concerning the business or personal affairs of a client, agents and other speakers who may reveal confidential information.
Article 9. The NSA member shall protect the public against fraud or unfair practices and shall attempt to eliminate from the speaking profession all practices which bring discredit to the profession.
Article 10. The NSA member shall not be party to any agreement to unfairly limit or restrain access to the marketplace by any other speaker, client or to the public, based upon economic factors, race, creed, color, sex, age, physical handicap or country of national origin of another speaker.
But these may not be specific or comprehensive enough. For example, the primary criticism of Daggett is that he just makes up stuff. Does that come under Article 2? Article 9? Or not at all? The primary criticisms of Payne are that she is overly stereotypical and makes unproven assertions. Under which article(s) do those fall?
Here are some key things that I think we speakers/consultants owe the organizations with whom we work:
This list is not meant to be conclusive but rather a starting place for conversation. What else should I have included?
It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.
- A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
- This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
- The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.