Training Day…er, Week

11 Oct

Last week Daniel and I participated in a Training of Trainers workshop.  A dear friend, Dr. Mary McDonald, came from the States and a team of Church of Uganda development workers came from Gulu to join the CLIDE staff for the training.  The purpose of the workshop was to train development workers, who spend a large portion of their time training others, how to include participatory techniques into their lessons because adult learners retain:

20% of what they hear

40% of what they hear and see

 80% of what they hear, see, and do

As an instructor, knowing that you can increase knowledge retention and application just by adding participatory techniques to your lesson plans is very motivating.   This training is a bit different from our usual trainings because we were training people how to train while training them.  Confused yet?  In addition, we had the secondary goal of teaching people how to integrate spiritual truths into their teaching (instead of just reading a verse or two at the beginning of the training).

Participatory methods are very useful in our work here as we have found that teaching in Uganda is, at times, a whole new world.  We end up with many unique situations—things that never impacted our teaching in the US, for example:

  • The literacy rate is low (about 65%) so handouts and meeting agendas aren’t really useful in many communities.  Imagine training for evangelists where only 2 of those participating can even read the Bible.  How do you teach people the Word of God so that they can share it with others?
  • The seasons really impact our training schedule.  Daniel has been doing livestock trainings in a nearby village and the 9am meetings begin at noon during the digging season—then the weeding season and so on.  When your students rely on their gardens for food to feed their families, those things take precedence.
  • Transport and food are always issues.  In some areas it is nearly impossible to have a meeting unless a meal is provided.  Hungry stomachs and tired feet (from miles of walking to reach a training) make it very diffcult for information to reach receptive minds.

We each facilitated sessions during the workshop: I taught Knowledge, Attitudes and Skills (or Head, Heart and Hands).  The idea behind this session is that our lesson plans need to have objectives that challenge each of these areas.  In many instances it is easier to use the banking style of teaching: you are the expert and you have many words to deposit into your students’ brains.  BUT, people will always retain more information if they participate in the training.  We practiced this is in the training by asking questions instead of always giving answers (very similar to the way that Jesus interacted with groups) and we incorporated attitude change objectives into our lesson plans.  True, lasting change will not happen in a community (or anywhere) unless the heart (or attitudes) of the people change.  This is just as true when we are talking about proper sanitation as when we are talking about living for Christ.

Daniel taught a session on codes.  Codes are things that represent another thing and stimulate discussion.  For example, look at this code (actually, this would be a much better code without the words but I figured you could get the idea from the picture):

This is an excellent code because it stimulates discussion about the topic.  When looking at this picture you can ask the SHOWD questions:

  1. What do you see?
  2. What is happening?
  3. Do we have this in our place?
  4. Why does it happen?
  5. What are we doing to do about it?

Or you can use the SPADE questions:

  1.  What did you see?
  2. What problems do you perceive?
  3. How does this apply to our situation?
  4. What can we do to improve our situation?
  5. Are there any environmental, ethnic or ethical issues that must be addressed?

As you can see, if you were looking at this picture (without the words) you could start a discussion about these things in which the group could DISCOVER the answer (and the connection between bad water and sickness) without being TOLD the answer.  Skits, testimonies and proverbs are also excellent examples of codes.  This method works very well in pre-literate cultures because people don’t need to be able to read in order to watch a skit or look at a picture.

Trainings always make for a long week of TIRING days.  I think we were in the office from 8am-8pm almost every day…with breakfast, lunch, and dinner ALSO in the office.  It was a great week and I think the staff learned a lot about including participants in the training and incorporating spiritual elements into each of our trainings (and just how important that is) BUT even this extrovert needed a little recharge time to recover 🙂


One Response to “Training Day…er, Week”

  1. kstoufer October 11, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Rachel-What a great description-clear and concise! Congratulations on a great training! Maybe we should put “recharge the trainer” as one of the essential steps in a training!
    Well done-Karen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: