All employees, especially technicians, must understand that humility and respect are the foundations of learning. To put it another way, humility and respect define a positive learning attitude.
My field experience indicates that most automotive technicians are very positive about learning. I believe I have a decent perspective on the topic because, first of all, I've turned wrenches and attended classes (still do, too!).
Since 1993, I've presented technical training seminars in 38 states and across Canada. I've been reporting on auto repair since 1976.
Few technicians survive in this trade without realizing that they're never done learning. They say that you're done learning the day you're pushing up daisies!
Sadly, some arrogant, thick-headed and/or insecure techs simply don't have a positive learning attitude. What's more, they tend to exhibit their negative attitude by disrupting classes in a variety of ways.
For example, they behave as if they already know everything, or else they know more than the instructor does.
First of all, no tech knows everything. If he or she did, then he or she would consistently diagnose and repair every vehicle that rolled in the door, day in, day out without a mistake. Not only would the tech solve every single problem, he or she would unfailingly perform at 100-percent efficiency.
Second, there are many techs who, indeed, know more about certain topics on certain vehicles than certain instructors do. (Note how carefully I qualified that statement.)
There's an extraordinary range of vehicle systems on the road today. There are so many that it's difficult to impossible to know them all inside and out.
Mature techs with a positive attitude toward learning appreciate how challenging it is to master a few automotive makes and systems, let alone dozens of them.
Compare this to the human body. It hasn't changed or evolved anywhere near as much as an automobile has within the last 50 years.
Nonetheless, reasonable and mature people recognize that one doctor cannot and does not know everything about fixing every part of the human anatomy. As a matter of fact, medical specialization is a fact of life, one that's saved countless lives overall.
Let's return to that negative attitude toward learning. It often manifests itself in churlish behavior such as talking and clowning around during class. Unfortunately, it may be as aggressive as openly insulting an instructor or yelling at him.
Consistently, the sharpest techs I've met are always the ones who routinely attend all the training they possibly can. They recognize that in this business, learning is an ongoing process, year in and year out.
What's more, they are mature and humble enough to know that they don't learn unless they shut up and listen.
Another indicator of a positive attitude is this philosophy: If I learn just one new thing in this class, then the seminar was worthwhile. Other times, the most important thing someone learns is that his or her diagnostic/repair procedures are accurate and effective. That reinforcement and approval is invaluable.
Last but not least, humble, respectful behavior is part and parcel of being a real grown-up. It's also part of being a sincere student as well as a mature professional. Sincere and competent students don't speak until a teacher recognizes them.
Sincere students don't do things that disrespect or offend instructors or fellow students.
Some people are so arrogant or insecure that they have to behave like the big man on campus, the top gun. They try to command or dominate every room, every conversation. Perhaps they could find the appropriate audience for this behavior at a tavern.
They shouldn't expect to find it in a classroom.