Deb in Amman 2013 – 4
Today people still weren’t in class until 9:20. I welcomed them and then said that I appreciated their evaluations and wanted to discuss two of them.
I admitted that I had hated feeling that I was scolding them yesterday. I needed to know how I should manage the content and the time so I could deliver what I had been hired to provide.
They responded that they liked my honesty and transparency- and respected me for it. Basel explained that they needed more time to discuss activities than I gave them, and that their continued conversation focused on the training content, not social chitchat. I acknowledged that I was at a disadvantage because, unlike in the States where I could wander around and listen to group discussions to see when they ceased to be fruitful, I couldn’t do that here. We agreed that they would tell me if they need more time and that I would share any decisions regarding what content to keep or eliminate when time was at a premium.
I also mentioned that I felt very disrespected when people didn’t come on time. As trainers, they certainly would not like their participants to come in late. They accepted that calmly.
They handed in the lesson plans that they partially completed (title, goals and learning objectives) for my review. Five of them were in Arabic and Maize, one of the translators, kindly wrote out what they had written in English.
I noticed immediately that several of the participants had created skill-building lesson plans rather than attitude-changing lesson plans. I showed them my template for creating skill-building learning objectives, in which they were greatly interested. Then I emphasized that this class was focused on attitude-change and therefore I would give them feedback and suggestions using that template. I ended up rewriting about 8 of the 15 lesson plans.
For one of those written in Arabic, I dictated my comments to Maize so that she could write them in Arabic. For the others, I didn’t have that luxury of time. So I wrote my comments in English and the participants asked their peers or Maize to translate for them.
I learned something new about energizers. I’ve always considered them to be about adding physical energy to the participants (through a quick exercise or Koosh toss). Wael said there were actually two types of energizers: the physical ones with which I’m familiar and mental ones. He explained that sometimes participants are highly geared up but not focused on thinking and learning. In those cases, he gives them a puzzle or a mathematics problem to rein in their physical energy and stimulate their mental energy. I think that is fascinating.
I had no computer woes until the mid afternoon, when my computer died. It wasn’t until I got back to my room around 5:45 p.m. that I discovered the battery was dead. Somehow the cord got jostled out of the electric plug.
When I was preparing the PowerPoint, I spent hours and hours selecting cartoons- many of which I’ve never had an opportunity to show them. Since they laugh at only a few of them, it is probably not such a bad thing.
We will have 9 people facilitating their 10-minute learning activities tomorrow, with simultaneous translation. On Sunday, we will be in the CSP training room instead of the hotel, with 6 people facilitating, all of whom will conduct their programs in English.
I always want to be sure that the participants are well prepared for the fourth day, so I insist on finding out what each plans to do. I kept having to provide a reality check that 10 minutes total time meant only about 7 minutes of actual activity. The rest of the time would be devoted to providing instruction at the beginning and leading debriefing discussion at the end. I had to attempt to rein in at least 9 participants who had great ideas that would probably require a half an hour or more.
I had a funny discussion with one man who spoke about giving 2 minutes for the participants to create something together and 2 minutes to complete a brainstorm. I thought that was hilarious, and so did several other participants standing with us, because I haven’t seen this group accomplish ANYTHING in less than 30 minutes! For goodness sakes, I thought they could create agendas for the training program they were designing in their small groups in a snap, since many of them appeared to use agendas. It took them 30 minutes instead of the 5 minutes I anticipated!
Of course, one group’s agenda was a work of art. Their time management program agenda:
Spend it wisely
The ticking clock
Elite like Rolex, Efficient like Swatch
Buy one, get two free
Thank you for being on time
I’d be happy to tell you the learning objectives that these were based on, but they’re written in Arabic, so no dice.
The two other groups chose incredibly difficult topics: Dealing with a Culture of Shame and Equity for Women. These folks are highly committed!
Many of them provide this training out of a passion for a cause or to improve their communities, as an addition to their paid work.
Oh, one unhappy thing today was my realization that all of the candy (which I had hidden) had been taken. I told the hotel managers about it. They really took it to heart because later that morning, one of the managers came in with a huge bag of enormous candy bars and said they would provide more for tomorrow’s session. What an amazing customer service orientation! We were all very impressed.
There is much more to tell, but it’s late, so I’ll end here.
Tomorrow should be a fascinating day.