Deb in Amman
Hello. Today was another good day. They experienced a focus question, questionnaire, case study, game and role play/hands on activity. They assessed each activity, they created all but the role play/hands on activity with me, and then they created their own. They loved it all.
Mamoud came with Mona to bring me the DVD on which he had every one of the videos from last week. He had also designed a snazzy cover and as a surprise to me, had a candid photo of me on the back of the DVD cover. He is very proud of it (apparently he has included animations). I want to skim it tonight (it’s late) because he’s dying for feedback. He worked long and hard (including late nights) to get it down and send it out to all of the participants. What a sweet guy.
Mona told me that everyone had told her how wonderful the class was. She thanked me, which was very nice. She also invited me to dinner at a Dead Sea restaurant on Thursday. That will be lovely.
Lina told me that my weekend plans are set. I go to Petra early Friday morning, spend the day there, and then go to Aqaba for the night and snorkeling the next day. I will get back in the afternoon or evening on Saturday. It should be wonderful.
Today, between the morning and the afternoon, three of the four new Koosh-like balls that Tarek bought disappeared. Good grief! Then the participants told me that I would be able to replace the stolen Koosh and glitter wands in downtown Amman.
Rosey(who is a Bulgarian married to a Jordanian- and has resided in Amman for the past 23 years) took me downtown. This meant driving to Rainbow Street, parking, and then hiking a number of blocks and down three incredibly steep stairs to the downtown street. There, we found shops galore. Shops with barrels or sacks of all kinds of herbs or nuts or grains. Shops with shoes, toys, clothing, electronics, cloth, head scarves for women and head coverings for men, dried fruits, fresh fruits, frozen fish, all kinds of breads, plus all kinds of gift shops. Rabbits, all kinds of birds, and baby chicks colored pink, blue, green, yellow, purple, and orange! A complete Roman amphitheater and columns still standing hundreds of years later. Roads so narrow, made narrower by cars parked on either side and shops spilling their wares out to the road- and still trucks and buses come zooming along.
Throngs moved through the streets, sometimes carrying us with them. I wanted to find a hat to wear when I go to Petra, but had to finally purchase one of the head coverings that men wear. It will keep the sun off my face and off my neck. I don’t know that I’ll look particularly stylish, however.
Rosey took me to Wild Jordan for dinner, where we ate out on a balcony overlooking the city and had wonderful salad (and a hummus sandwich for me). I had a lovely time, but was exhausted by the time she dropped me off at the hotel around 9 p.m.
Deb in Amman, April 4
Hello. Last night, I was so tired, I just couldn’t bring myself to finish my letter for April 3rd.
Today was another great, if jam-packed and somewhat stressful day. We had to begin Day 4 by finishing up activities from Day 3 related to accelerated learning techniques- and more specifically, selecting metaphors to enrich a learning program.
Then we were able to get into Day 4. Noor (a very bright, articulate young woman) brought me a gift of two magic tricks to use in training. One involves a scarf that you make disappear into a thumb glove (a pretty obvious hiding place). The other is much more interesting. There is one dice inside a box and you are supposed to ask the participants how many dice they see. The obvious answer is one. Then you hit the box and the dice (which is magnetic) sticks to the top of the box, letting 6 tiny dice that were hidden inside it suddenly appear. It was very sweet of her- and now I just have to figure out how and when to use the dice trick. Pretty cool!
Mohammad, who lives in Aqaba and is a dive master, got excited when he learned that I would be going to Aqaba on Saturday and offered to arrange my snorkeling adventure. Later that day, he informed me that everything was all set. I’m not actually sure what he has arranged. It may not be necessary, because I had told me that I would be staying at the Intercontinental (which is what Lina had initially told me) but it turns out that I will be staying a the hotel with a dive shop and immediate beach access. So I don’t think I’ll need to bus somewhere else. Anyway, I’ll clear that up with Mohammad tomorrow.
The poor guy, he was the only person from the class who stayed at the training hotel. Every day, he has asked me different questions about what he could study that evening- and checked with me throughout the day to make sure he understood different concepts or techniques (which he did).
He proudly showed me a completely new lesson plan and Power Point he had created using what he had learned in the class so far. It was wonderful!
Mousa (the young Christian “Don Juan”) told me that the first two days of the training, he wondered if he would be able to remember and apply anything. Then, when he did the home practice assignment to create a lesson plan, it amazed him how easy it was for him to do because everything fell into place.
Two different young women told me essentially the same thing. It was very gratifying to hear!
Today the participants selected an object from a bag and were instructed to create a 2-minute presentation about it: a story, selling us on its benefits and features, or working with us to find possible uses. Instead of poking around in the bag to find something that was meaningful to them, it appears that they simply put their hand in the bag and took out whatever they felt first.
That became apparent when one after the other came over to me to show me what they had selected (golf tees, a miniature orange traffic barrel, a top) and ask me what they were.
Twenty-four out of 28 participants were able to give their 2-minute presentations (some wonderful, some funny, some very creative) and get brief participant feedback before I had to end the class. A good 8 or 9 of them gave their presentations in Arabic, which Maha kindly translated. We’ll have to finish the remaining four presentations tomorrow.
I have half a mind to eliminate the Jeopardy game I use to start off Day Five, but it was such a winner for last week’s group, I hate to do it. I guess it will depend in large part on when the participants get to class. Our 8:30 a.m. starting time has typically been 8:55 or 9:00, which makes things much more difficult. I also need to give the participants 30 minutes to design their AV, which will be flip charts- and give them the feedback oath so they give constructive and honest feedback to each other. If we have 9-10 participants in each of the three taping rooms, we’ll need to start the taping by 10. You see my dilemma.
When the class was over, a very kind man collected the candy, Koosh balls, and glitter wands (so I could hide them). And Mahmoud drove me back to the office, where I met up with Lina (who gave me the information about my trip to Petra and Aqaba), and then went with Mona, Meredith (a communications consultant with Ecodit) and Pritti (the marketing consultant from I don’t know where) and Mona’s husband, Richard, to a restaurant on top of a mountain far above the Dead Sea.
It was a pleasant trip (the three of us consultants were seated intimately in the back of the car), the scenery beautiful, and the restaurant had a terrific view from the terrace, which is where we sat. There was a nice breeze, we could see Palestine- and there was Indian (who knows why) music and great food.
The sunset was lovely and then we searched for Venus (found 1) and Mars (found 1 that was an airplane, 1 that wasn’t Mars, and finally 1 that was) and had lots of good conversation about religion (I’m sure I mentioned in an earlier letter that Richard is writing a book about religions).
On the drive back, I could barely keep my eyes open. But we had to stop at Mona and Richard’s house to get an envelope to deliver to someone at the hotel. We all went up to their apartment, which I’ve described before. Their magnificent view was even spectacular at night, with the lights of Jerusalem in the distance.
Once we got back to the hotel, I found out that the addressee of the envelope had checked out of the hotel, so I’m going to have to give the envelope to Meredith to mail when she is back in the States (she goes back on Sunday). Then I needed to write about my experience conducting the training and the benefits that the participants received- so that Meredith can put it into a press release.
Then find three previous Laurel Learning Tips related to training large groups in an interactive manner, to send to Trisha and Piotr for Bassey.
Then score four pre-tests that came in today (and were completed today) so of course almost all of the answers are correct. Maha is quite literal- if people need to complete the pre-test, that’s what she has them do. I had pointed out to her yesterday that these pre-tests were no longer pre, if you know what I mean. I’m going to have to throw them out.
Speaking of literal and task-focused, Maha created a schedule of work for me (and her) next week that was going to start on Saturday!!! Luckily, she didn’t realize that I would not be conducting a two-day train the trainer class for the staff. That freed up two days. Otherwise, my trip to Petra and Aqaba would have had to cut out Aqaba. Whew!
I have not yet reviewed the 28 lesson plans- and quite honestly, I can barely keep my eyes open. I’ll just have to review them and return them next week. I simply cannot keep getting 5 hours of sleep. (Uh oh. I just looked at the clock and it is already 12:30 a.m. on Thursday. I haven’t had my shower yet, so a long night’s sleep is still not in the cards for me. Oh well, one more day!
P.S. Mona spoke with me about returning to provide coaching to the trainees in 7 to 10 months. I said absolutely!