Cover Image
close this bookAquaculture - Training Manual (Peace Corps, 1990, 350 p.)
close this folderChapter fourteen: Program design - week five
View the documentSession V-1: Guest lecturer - site selection, pond design and pond construction
View the documentSession V-2: Quiz - week five
View the documentSession V-3: Site development/pond design
View the documentSession V-4: Processing of masonry project
View the documentSession V-5: Issues in peace corps aquaculture programming
View the documentSession V-6: Introduction of seminars and seminar topics
View the documentSession V-7: Fish fry
View the documentSession V-8: Personal interview - week five

Session V-6: Introduction of seminars and seminar topics

Total time: 1 hour 30 minutes


· Inform trainees about seminars;
· Announce seminar topics;
· Assign seminar topics to trainees;
· Distribute text books.

Overview: Up to this point, trainees have not had access to written materials, and most learning has been through observation, experience and field trips or visiting resource people. By working with their ponds, visiting other facilities, and doing a variety of field exercises that involved both application and communication of technical concepts, trainees have not only learned a great deal and acquired many new skills, but they have also been able to formulate much clearer, more specific questions than they had at the beginning of training. This point becomes evident during this session, and trainees have an opportunity to recognize the progress they have made. They know what they want to know, and they are very eager for information. At this point, they gain access to written resource materials and many other sources of information as they share responsibility for a series of in-depth, highly informative seminars.

5 minutes

1. The staff facilitator reviews training activities up to the present. The list of activities in which they have participated will include (at minimum) the following:

· Made observations of a pond system;
· Written detailed management plans;
· Handled and moved fish;
· Begun managing ponds;
· Dissected fish;
· Submitted technical reports;
· Had access to a variety of resource people through field trips and guest experts;
· Had field experience with surveying and pond design;
· Had experience communicating technical information in the classroom and in the field.

10 minutes

2. Ask trainees to individually brainstorm, on a sheet of paper, the questions they have about fish, fish culture and/or fish culture extension work. Tell them that this will not be handed in and will just serve as a tool for the next step.

5 minutes

3. Ask trainees for observations about the questions they have listed. Point out that through their hands-on work and interactions with resource people, their questions about fish culture and extension have become more focused and specific.

25 minutes

4. Divide trainees into small groups of about five each. Using their individual lists, they should develop a group list of the categories in which they have questions. Have them write this on newsprint.

20 minutes

5. Each group posts newsprint. Compare and discuss the lists.

Inform the trainees that since there is so much information to be addressed, an efficient means of doing so within the time constraints of training is necessary. Tell them that the areas they have listed will be organized into a set of topics, and that they will each be responsible for researching and presenting a seminar on a topic. Point out that these seminars will provide the bulk of specific information that they will receive in training, and that they are to be of very high quality. Also point out that they have a tremendous responsibility to one another to do an excellent job since they will be counting on each other for information on topics other than their own. Inform the trainees that, in fact, the staff considers these seminars so important that during the presentations, any seminar that is not of high quality will be stopped. "Not high quality" may mean inaccurate information, incomplete information, lack of organization, unclear or unprofessional delivery.

10 minutes

6. Explain that the staff has already organized the many areas they have cited into a list of seminar topics, and hang up a newsprint list of these topics. Ask the trainees to list their first three preferences for their seminar topic on a sheet of paper to be handed in. Tell them that the staff will assign their topics at a specified time later in the day. Explain that their choices will be considered, but that it is not guaranteed that they will be assigned one of the topics they have requested.

15 minutes

7. Trainees receive and sign for textbooks.


8. Following the meeting, the staff meets to decide on seminar topic assignments. In making this decision, the staff must take into account the trainee's preference, strengths and background. In addition, there will be some topics that have been requested by many trainees, and others that have not been on anyone's list of choices. The seminar assignments are posted later in the day.

9. Trainees are informed that they are to turn in outlines of their seminars the following morning. Outlines are to be done individually at this point, even if a topic is assigned to a pair of trainees rather than a single trainee.

Resources and Materials:

· Newsprint, markers and masking tape;
· Prepared newsprint list of topics;
· Flip chart stand (optional);
· Notebook paper, textbooks and other materials to be distributed to trainees;
· Sign-up list for documenting that trainees have received books.

Trainer Notes:

· An alternative design for this session is to have the trainees use their lists to compose their own list of seminar topics. When this alternative design was used in past programs, the session took much longer because the group usually had difficulty reaching an agreement. In addition, it was impossible to be assured that all necessary topics would be included. The method described in this session has proven to be more successful;

· The way the seminar topics are organized and divided among the trainees depends upon the number of trainees in the group, and to some extent, the backgrounds of the trainees. A typical list of topics and breakdown among trainees is as follows (for a group of 25 trainees):

· Extension/Administration - 2 trainees

· Site Selection/Construction - 3 trainees

· Anatomy/Physiology/Taxonomy - 2 trainees

· Stocking/Sampling/Growth - 2 trainees (*)

· Feeds/Feeding - 2 trainees (*)

· Water Quality/Fertilization - 2 trainees

· Handling/Parasites/Disease/Predators - 2 trainees (*)

· Reproduction/Genetics - 2 trainees (*)

· Harvest/Transport/Processing/Preservation/Preparation - 3 trainees

· Marketing/Economics - 1 trainees

· Levels of Intensity/Complexity/Alternative Management Strategies - 2 trainees

· Pond Ecology and Maintenance - 2 trainees

· For a smaller group, the topics followed by (*) can be assigned to one person rather than two. For a larger group, the group can be divided so that there are two complete sets of seminars. The advantage of this is that there is generally more discussion and questions during the presentations if the groups are not too large. The disadvantages are that the staff can become overextended and the logistics can be complicated.

· Pond Ecology and Maintenance replaces the topic entitled Pond Management that was formerly used. With the addition of the Levels of Intensity topic and some of the other changes that were made in the program over time, much of the material that used to be included in the Pond Management seminar (for example, integrated agriculture and alternative culture systems) has been included in other seminars. The Pond Management seminar therefore became more of a general integration of most of the other topics from a broad perspective. The title Pond Management no longer quite fit and actually seemed to cause some frustration to the trainees assigned to that seminar as they had difficulty defining their role. Thus, it is hoped that this modification of the title as well as restructuring of the content forms a new, substantive seminar topic.