“Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Oscar Wilde
It took until just before lunch to complete the Day One content (designing learning objectives). Since lunch is at 1 p.m. and the class ends at 4 p.m., I had less than 2.5 hours to cram in the relevant Day Two content. Talk about pressure and stress. Luckily, Day Two is a relatively light day, otherwise I never could have accomplished it.
I laid down the law in the morning on Day Two: that I could not cover the content adequately if folks didn’t get there on time. We are scheduled to start at 8:30 am and some folks don’t get there until 8:50 am or later. They are also rather lackadaisical in coming back from their 10-minute break (which is actually ridiculous, since the break food and beverage is situated in another space in the same large room.
We discussed options (starting and ending later), which was not happy for the many women who needed to pick up their babies (their husbands just don’t do that or much else, if anything, to assist with domestic chores). Everyone agreed that they would be there at 8:30.
Today, 8 people were there on time and it wasn’t until 8:55 that we had most of the class. I was not a happy camper at all, so we discussed it again. People claimed difficulty with traffic (which is a real issue) but others just advised folks to leave earlier.
Anyway, we accomplished most of the content and activities- and then I went back to the hotel and completely collapsed. I did try to figure out a way to accomplish the content that K and M want for the staff train the trainer and determined there was no possible way to achieve all of that in one day.
I discussed this with M. D, who recommended that I send K an outline that indicates the time required- and if I made the program start at 9 and end at 3 everyday, there was a good possibility he might approve the second day.
The good news is that T now picks me up every day by 8 am or a little after, and he knows shortcuts that get us to the Quality Suites in 10 minutes!! So at least that stress is gone.
Today is the third day of the train the trainer and it is lots of fun. We started with a bingo-like game with questions related to the content from the first two days. They had never played this before and man, did they get into it. Of course, it was only supposed to take, at maximum, 30 minutes- and with this crew I had to stop them after an hour.
The high level of excitement, humor, competition and pure energy continued and spiked several times throughout the day.
Our process for the day was to experience a participatory activity, assess it, review a reference about it (that laid out what it was, how to use it, how long it might take, what its benefits were, which levels of learning were best achieved with the activity, and which learning styles were most appreciative of the activity), create it with the entire class, and then create another one individually (except for those who needed to work together for translation purposes).
We began with a focus question, then a questionnaire, a case study, a game (a relay race), and a role play/simulation activity (using Tinker Toys to make a merry-go-round). After I drew answers from the group to model how to create an activity, I would give them only 10-12 minutes to create their own.
They were wonderfully imaginative. And almost all of them volunteered to report their activity because I rewarded them with devil ducks, clappers, ecology ducks and/or Smartie candy.
They were amazed that participatory activities; (1) do not have to cost a thing, (2) are fun and easy to design, and (3) can be created in a very short time. Each of them left the class today with a focus question, questionnaire, case study and game they had created and can now use in their own training programs.
Tonight, I have yet to read all thirty of the complete lesson plans that they had for home practice last night. They had the choice of using a table lesson plan template or an outline lesson plan template. A complete lesson plan should include: title, learning goals (what the participants will learn and why they would care about it), learning objectives including key content, learning level and active verb), agenda, learning activities, AV, handouts and how the learning will be evaluated. I sure hope they’re great…
There is one woman in the class, whose name I don’t know, and whose English is very spotty- who is also just brilliant. She has comments and questions about absolutely everything, talks to me at almost every break, and has given me new perspectives on a number of things, bless her heart.
The group is very astute. It’s exciting to hear the comments of the folks who speak in Arabic, because I am continually amazed at how well they comprehend and can apply the content (once I hear the translation). Lots write kind notes and thank you’s on the evaluation forms.
The home practice for tonight is for the participants to identify a metaphor to use in their training to bring it alive, and then further enrich it with enhancements that engage as many senses as possible (to create an accelerated learning program). After their amazing game ideas, I expect great things from them!
May your learning be sweet.