Laurel and Associates, Ltd. – Madison, WI



On September 12, 2013, Posted by , In Travelogue, By , , With Comments Off on Lusaka

Today was the last day of training: Academic Quality Management. We again began with 5 people (including Judith, Monica and Tabo, who have all come every day this week). By the end of the day, we had had a maximum of 18 (people come and go continually).

The day went well, with some surprises. The first surprise was when an entire table collapsed, just barely missing the legs of the participants seated around it. The second mishap was when a chair I was sitting on broke, tumbling me rather abruptly to the floor.
I probably have a bruise or two, but I’m fine. The group asked me if I’d ever seen Faulty Towers (which I haven’t). I’m sure it’s full of mishaps.

We had an illuminating conversation about the questions they ask potential students; i.e., their religion and their marital status. They also ask students to identify their sex on the college application. These are illegal because they are discriminatory. But this is what I learned:

They felt that they needed to know a student’s religion to determine if the person would support blood transfusions and would work on the Sabbath. I pointed out that they could ask those questions of every student applicant, without raising the issue of religion. I think they bought that approach.

They need to know the sex of the student applicant for two reasons. First, they have a quota for male applicants to ensure that they do not take all of the slots away from the women. Second, they need to know the student’s sex when planning accommodations, since men and women are not housed together. So much for that.

With regard to marital status, they said they need to know because in Zambia, the men rule the family and have a huge influence on what their wives do. All I could do was reiterate the importance of only asking questions that directly relate to the college syllabus requirements- and asking everyone the same questions.

We also had an interesting conversation about the need for the nursing students to be able to run and to lift 50 pounds. The PMTIs tried placing these requirements in their ad and the government told them that was discriminatory. (However, the military ad requires applicants to be tall, and the government doesn’t consider that discriminatory).

So, their fall back position was to suggest during a recruitment interview that student applicants who appeared to lack those capabilities should consider a different career. That was considered discriminatory.

I suggested that they inform all student applicants during the recruitment interview of the physical requirements for nurse training. If the students don’t screen themselves out at that point, make sure to give all students a physical test as part of the screening process. They’re going to consider that.

They had a ball creating learning plans, using a template provided by Katie Garrity, Dean of Health Education and Public Safety at Southwest Technical Institute in Fennimore, Wisconsin. When they were done, two of the lead lecturers said that they could now be training consultants and design learning plans for the Zambian General Nursing Council. They hadn’t realized how easy it was!

I introduced Bloom’s taxonomy so that they understood the importance of identifying the desired level of learning. We also talked about different learning styles, which was apparently an eye opener for many of them. They primarily lecture. When I asked them what other training methods they used, they responded: tests, exams, case study, role play, simulation, discussion, and application activities.

I promised to send them my list of over 50 other participatory learning activities and proceeded to explain a number of them. They were very excited about that.

The lesson plan and participant materials worked like a charm. We had a lot of fun, because of course I was facilitating a subject matter that I love and know very well. I also was very generous in giving them prizes for activities, which they loved.

At the conclusion of the session, the most senior lecturers talked about how they would be changing their teaching styles to incorporate the participatory activities. Hurray!

At the beginning of the session, I had asked Judith to make me a pipe cleaner bracelet. She is incredibly creative- this bracelet is 1 ½ inches wide and very colorful. At the end of the session, Ellah (who had been to most of the sessions, is a senior lecturer and very bright and personable) gave me a box of pipe cleaner creations that she had made for me: a beautiful bracelet with copper balls, two “pins” in the shape of Africa, and earrings, as well as a big hug. All of this is surprising because they’ve never seen or worked with pipe cleaners before!

When Ella gave me her gifts, she asked me if I knew the story behind the Zambian flag (the bracelet she gave me had all of the colors). I didn’t, so she explained: the red is for the blood that was shed, the green is for the vegetation, black is for the black people (although she clarified that it meant the freedom of black people, not the exclusion of non-black folks), and the orange was for the copper.

Many gave me hugs, wanted my business card, and/or kissed me. Judith said that she would miss me, and I will miss her. I really want to adopt Tabo. I’m going to miss his bright mind, sweet nature and beautiful smile. I know that we will keep in touch. It was a lovely conclusion to the 8 days of training and a very warm send off. I’m so grateful to have met them all.

They want me to come back to train in the Copperbelt and again in a year. They were very firm about that. I don’t know that it is very likely, but I guess one never knows.

Then one of the hotel staff came in with a cd to see if I would download some of my music onto his disc. I was gratified that I could actually do that. He happily sat next to me as I copied probably 200 songs onto his disc. However, when I went to burn the disc, it said that there were too many items. It was only then, after 15 minutes of downloading, that he told me his cd would only take 15 songs!!!!! So I trashed most of the copies and goodness only knows what the remaining 15 songs he actually got include.

I decided to leave the full box of training materials with Vivian, since she’ll be the one most likely conducting the training in the Copperbelt. Vivian had pointed out that these training materials were purchased for the course, so I should be reimbursed for them. For some reason, I thought I had to pay for them myself.

She now has a large box full of: devil ducks, doctor and nurse ducks, reading ducks, motivational ducks, math ducks, googly-eyed plastic fish, bendable pink flamingoes, spinning tops, plastic puzzles, butterfly fans, fake gold coins, small slinkies, star student pads of paper, and the remainder of the pipe cleaners.

I know I’ll have enough room in my suitcase to pack the training materials (Koosh balls, glitter wands, etc.) that need to go back with me, in addition to the items I bought in Livingstone. Otherwise, I would have had to go buy another suitcase tomorrow.

Tomorrow, I don’t have to get up at 5:45 or put on make up. I can go for a walk (there is a museum not that far away where I can learn all about the Zambian people). I can relax and pack in leisure.

John said that he would swing by at some point to remind the hotel not to charge me tax. Vivian said she would find time to come to say good bye.

I’ll miss them, too.

So, thus ends the saga of the 8 days of training. I’ll continue to write about my adventures until I get back to Madison. But thanks for keeping me company on this trip.



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