There are three kinds of students in corporate education. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, I call them learners, vacationers, and prisoners. Learners are those who are genuinely interested in the course material and recognize the value of the class. On the whole, they will participate appropriately. Vacationers are those who have nowhere better to be, and are in attendance because they wish to appear productive. They will participate sporadically or not at all, and as long as they are not disruptive (they take their cell phone calls outside the room, or they don’t snore too loudly), I let them be. Prisoners are those who resent being ordered to attend. They will participate so as to prove that they know more than the instructor (which, depending on the instructor, they may). This participation will be disruptive unless their expertise is acknowledged and perhaps channeled in a constructive way, such as helping other students.

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