Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI

Day 2 of Train the Trainer for Mercy Corps in Amman

Day 2 of Train the Trainer for Mercy Corps in Amman

On January 20, 2015, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , With Comments Off on Day 2 of Train the Trainer for Mercy Corps in Amman

Today was the second day of Designing and Delivering Dynamic Learning for Mercy Corps in Amman.

I was quite pleased with the participants’ home practice assignment, which was to create a lesson plan from needs assessment to goals to learning objectives, using a template that essentially asks them to identify what the learners will do to: define terms, explain the benefits of what they’ll be learning, identify any necessary tools or resources, describe the procedure involved and then practice what they have learned.

The participants got a kick out of my putting a happy face sticker on their lesson plans.
They love the toys. Today they earned little star stamps (which they stamped on flip charts, their manual, themselves and each other- in reward for identifying different creative learning activities they could use to accomplish one objective! They also earned bendable pink flamingoes in reward for completing their in class lesson plans: designing the agenda, selecting learning activities and their duration, and determining a means of evaluation. They really did a great job!

I had lunch with Ahlam and Jamila. Jamila travels an hour and a half from Amman to the Syrian camps to do child protection work with the refugees, and then travels back. She has been doing that for two years I think and it is emotionally exhausting work. I may be confusing who does what, because I know that Ahlam also works with children.

Jamila said that when she volunteered to take a job working in the Syrian camps, her friends and family warned her that it would be dangerous and she would be attacked. Thank goodness that hasn’t happened, but both Jamila and Ahlam said that working with the Syrian refugees has made them change their own values and perspectives on life. For example, Jamila said that she used to always buy the most recent and expensive things. If her phone got scratched, she would buy a new phone, etc. Now she realizes that these things have little value compared to safety, security, family, etc.

Oh, I just have to comment on Nour, who is a petite, beautiful young woman who received her Masters and began her own project despite being in her mid twenties, which I was told were very unusual achievements for someone her age. She was sitting with a plate piled high with various desserts. I can’t imagine where she was putting it all! (And yes, that is envy you hear in my voice…)

Just after lunch, Monther (who is involved in outdoor experiential learning, has dreadlocks tied up in a bunch on his head, a long black beard, beautiful eyes and an incredibly fast and creative mind) led us in an energizer. We formed a large circle out in the break area (which was incredibly smoky due to a large conference next door) and held hands.

Our first task was to say and do what he said to do, which included: jumping in, jumping out, jumping to the right and jumping to the left. Then we were to say what he said but do the opposite- so if he said jump in, we were supposed to say jump in while jumping out. The instructions to jump to the right or left resulted in folks bumping into each other as some when one way and the others went the other way.

The last task was to do what he said but to say the opposite of what he said. So if he said jump out, we were supposed to jump out but say jump in.

It was a great energizer because of the movement and jumping, as well as the laughter it continually generated.

The day was unusually tiring and stressful for me because I had to try to review and comment upon or revise the submitted partial lesson plans, while still facilitating the class. Every break, someone came up to me with issues or questions, so I had absolutely no down time. I always know it will be a trial to review and return the home practice so that the participants can take it home again to complete the lesson plans. It is worth the effort because it is the only way that the participants and I know that they understand and can design their own lesson plan.

All of the lesson plans, by the way, dealt with serious work subjects: child rights, child protection, proposal writing, conflict management- which is what their projects are about.

This may be TMI, but I have not discovered how to take a shower without literally creating a pool of water on the bathroom floor. I must not be the only one faced with this problem, because the bathroom is a short step down from the bedroom hall floor.
I’ve asked them to fix it and presumably they came and did something, but whatever it was didn’t resolve the problem.

It’s a good thing I’m so exhausted by the time I finally get to bed, because there is major construction happening right next door and it continues all through the night!!

Speaking of which, it is definitely time for me to get to bed.



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