Day 2 of Train the Trainer, Amman
Well, wonder of wonders, the hotel staff DID put up the kites and my agenda map, as well as putting all table top materials out. What a relief!!
I had a good night’s sleep so I felt much better today. We had to practice creating learning objectives and the four groups did a wonderful job! Considering that English is not their language, they are quite articulate.
The table of Arabic-speakers was much less populated today. I had asked the participants to sit with other people, so a number of them did. Interestingly enough, that table group completed every small group task faster than any of the others! And these tasks weren’t simple. In addition to developing learning objectives for one of their member’s learning goals, they also had to: select a learning objective and identify learning activities for each of the six perceptual learning styles (print, visual, interactive, aural, haptic and kinesthetic); compete against the other table groups to identify three different learning activities to achieve each of Bloom’s cognitive hierarchy, with no repetition (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, evaluation and creation). All the groups were wonderfully creative. Then they had to select learning activities for the learning objectives they created earlier in the day- and again, this table group was done first and, again, all groups were wonderfully creative.
By the way, their learning objectives related to: time management, security and safety, effective communication skills, gender awareness and self-awareness. I was particularly pleased with the self-awareness group’s selection of activities I had just introduced to them, including pop ups, art (draw yourself), gallery walk (look at different images and select three that define you) and scavenger hunt (I can’t remember what they would look for now).
Lunch is from 1-2 (we start at 8:30)- and after lunch I had the group throw Koosh balls at each other while I played Joe Cocker’s “Set me Free.” It turned into a battle royale. Although I kept them busy with the above-mentioned activities, it was more difficult to herd these cats. Perhaps because they were now very comfortable with me, or less intimidated by this new trainer from America, they started to be very chatty and often took phone calls. It wasn’t to the extreme extent that I experienced in Kenya, but it was still disruptive. I laid down the law: get back on time, don’t speak when others are speaking, and put phones away. This was much less effective than I intended it.
I’m going to be more strict about it tomorrow, because I checked with their supervisor, Zaid, to see if any of them had business reasons to be on their phones and he told me no one did.
There is only one learning activity (a gallery walk for the four Kirkpatrick evaluation levels) left to complete from Day Two, so it should be smooth sailing through the rest of the curriculum.
The home practice for tonight is for each participant to complete a table-format lesson plan, including title, goals, learning objectives, module titles, learning activities and expected durations. They can focus on any topic they like, it doesn’t have to be job-related. I also told them they could complete it in Arabic as long as someone would translate for me. There is apparently some sports match on tonight that many of the men mentioned, so I guess we’ll see if they come with their lesson plans. Some questioned if they could complete it electronically since their handwriting is poor. So I asked Majd to send me their email addresses so I could send them the lesson plan template in word. I just requested that they print out the lesson plan and bring it to class with them.
After we do the evaluation gallery walk, I’ll have them add in the means of measurement for each learning activity and then give the completed lesson plans to me for review and comment tomorrow night. With 22 participants, that should take a while!
As I had hoped and expected, it was somewhat easier for me to understand their accents. One fellow, Mohammad, is very comfortable with English, asked a number of very thoughtful questions, and translated my directions if folks appeared to be confused. Over lunch, although Trump’s policies frighten Jordanians (as he said, if any of the missiles fall short, they will hit Jordan!) he very reasonably reviewed past less successful Presidents (Bush, Nixon, Reagan) and put Trump into context for me. I still don’t like him, his rhetoric, beliefs or policies, but I now have a more balanced view.
Mohammad also discussed Hilary Clinton, who lost the election because she didn’t focus on the economy or pay attention to the needs of the middle class. I’m quoting him. He didn’t like her and would have preferred Bernie (oh, wouldn’t we all!)
Other interesting items, in no particular order:
Majd (I misspelled her name yesterday) had a very perceptive regarding how to recognize verbs that are too vague to be observable and measurable. She said the vague verbs tend to relate to cognitive (think, learn, believe) and emotional (fear, worry like) responses. I had never considered them from this perspective and I think it’s very useful. I’ll definitely add it to my materials and discussion in the future!
Majd told me that she just returned from 3 months of maternity leave. I was worried that she was exhausting herself translating all day, particularly since, as a new mother, she must already be exhausted. She said that her baby slept from 10 pm to 6 am without getting up. Both of us were surprised at this, but she attributed this to whatever her nurse is doing with the child. This nurse has also taught sign language to this little 3-month old: I’m hungry, I want to be held, and four or five other messages. Just incredible!
The hotel staff are amazingly attentive. They anticipate our needs, keep the room clear, and after today’s session, a manager helped me clean up, reset the tables, hang the flip charts for the gallery walk tomorrow, etc. Other members of the class have mentioned the staff, saying they were much better than staff in 5-star hotels.
It’s crazy, but not unusual for me when I travel and conduct long days of training- I have been in the hotel nonstop since I arrived. I am so exhausted at the end of the day (and my feet hurt!!!) that I don’t have the energy or will to go outside. Tomorrow should be much easier because it requires much less analytical thought, so hopefully I’ll be up for at least a short walk outside.
There wasn’t a wedding scheduled for tonight, but the front desk has told me that this is the wedding season and so they have weddings scheduled somewhere in the hotel every night. Now that I know the staff take good care to replace what they take down (they apparently take photos of the walls and table tops) I won’t worry if and when (mostly when) we have to clear the room for a wedding.
I think I probably looked ridiculous today. I put on a simple sleeveless summer shift with a green and gold pattern. Then I realized that none of the women in the class show their arms or their chests (or their legs, for that matter) They all wear long sleeves, loose blouses (there is only one woman who wears the long coats-very stylish ones, by the way) and scarves on their heads. There is only one woman who is bare-headed (Heba, young, slender, able to put away dish after dish of food at lunch- she must have a wooden leg!)
So, I pinned a long scarf I got in Dubai to cover my chest and arms. It wasn’t until lunch when I went to the bathroom that I saw the heavy pin had pulled the scarf down as low as my dress neckline! I repined it and found to my dismay when I came upstairs to my room that I had not fixed the problem at all. Good grief. Tomorrow I’m wearing long sleeves!
Boy, do they all love the prizes! I’ve given them flower-shaped ducks, puzzles, star stampers, mini slinkies, star student pencils, and bendable pink flamingoes. One woman in particular, surprisingly named Sandy!, whines and complains when others get the prizes. I had to tell her that if she volunteered to report out or write on a flip chart, she would earn what she wanted. So she did, and she selected what she wanted, then later wanted to trade it, then stewed some more. At that point, I had to ask if she was still in kindergarten!!!
I’ve got to go take a shower and hang up the laundry I cleaned in the sink (using shampoo), so I’d better end this now.