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close this bookAquaculture - Training Manual (Peace Corps, 1990, 350 p.)
close this folderChapter nineteen: Program design - week ten
View the documentSession X-1: Culture shock
View the documentSession X-2: Processing of pond construction project (and wheelbarrows)
View the documentSession X-3: Final interviews
View the documentSession X-4: Final trainee evaluation of training program

Session X-1: Culture shock

Total time: I hour, 40 minutes

Note: This session design is adapted from Session T-108 from the Small-Scale Marine Fisheries Training Manual, available from ICE.


· Identify different stages of culture shock;
· Begin to develop strategies for coping with culture shock;
· Share trainers' experiences with trainees.

Overview: As the end of training draws near, some trainees may already be experiencing some nervous anticipation about adjusting to their country of assignment. If this program has been conducted Stateside, they are preparing to depart to their countries and begin language training. If they are already in their country of assignment this session may be held earlier, or may be held at this point as trainees prepare to leave the familiar training environment to go to their posts. The most valuable aspect of this session is the time trainees spend in small groups, discussing their feelings and expectations about culture shock and sharing ideas for coping with it.

5 minutes

1. The trainer introduces the session, lists the objectives of the session, and presents a flow chart of the culture shock process.

40 minutes

2. The trainer tells the trainees how they will be dividing into smaller groups. They are told that they will be in their groups for 40 minutes. They should use their time in approximately the following manner to discuss the topics listed here (have this on newsprint):

· 10 minutes: Ways to cope with problems in stage two

· 5 minutes: Additional feelings that may be generated in stage three

· 10 minutes: Additional reactions that may occur in stage four

· 10 minutes: Hopes and fears regarding their experience with culture shock, how they cope, and their ability to adjust to the new culture

· 5 minutes: Prepare a short statement that summarizes the group's discussion.

The trainer tells the trainees that one group should write their ideas on newsprint for each of the first four topics (assign these, i.e. Group 1 records ways to cope, Group 2 records additional feelings, etc.), and each group should prepare a summary statement. Each group will need to choose a recorder and a spokes-person to present the group's list and statement.

30 minutes

3. Each group presents their list and statement, and highlights the most important points from their small group discussion.

5 minutes

4. The trainer summarizes the points that have been made during the presentations.

20 minutes

5. Several members of the staff share their own experiences that are appropriate to the points that have been raised.

Resources and Materials:

· Prepared newsprint with session objectives, flow chart (see example below), and time frames and topics for step number two above.

· Blank newsprint, markers, masking tape.

Trainer No · :

· As trainees present their lists, staff members should jot down notes about points that especially touch them and about which they have experiences to share.

· Everyone (staff and/or trainees) may not agree completely with the way the flow chart presented here breaks down the steps of culture shock. That is not really an important issue, as of course each experience is unique and people react in different ways. The most valuable aspects of this session are the sharing of ideas and feelings that takes place among the trainees, and that trainees take some time to acknowledge and focus on the fact that they will probably have some sort of culture shock experience to contend with as they adjust to a new situation. The flow chart provides excellent food for thought and brings up important issues that will stimulate the trainees' thoughts and discussions.

· The Master Trainer should point out that giving this matter some thought in advance will not prevent the feelings and reactions from arising, but may make it easier to understand and cope with whatever the trainee does experience.

· An example of a flow chart follows:


Session X-2: Processing of pond construction project (and wheelbarrows)

Total time: Approximately 2 hours

Note: If wheelbarrows were constructed early in the program they may have been processed as part of the Masonry Processing. If this is the case, but wheelbarrows were used during the pond construction project, it may be worth evaluating the designs again in this meeting in light of this field testing. It is also possible that the carpentry project was included as part of the masonry project and wheelbarrows were not constructed at all. The session design presented here is for the Pond Construction project. Essentially the same kind of process takes place for evaluating the wheelbarrow project. Having had the opportunity to field test the wheelbarrows during the construction project, trainees have an excellent opportunity to make a detailed, valuable assessment of the designs they used and determine improvements to be incorporated into future designs.


· Provide opportunity for group leaders to bring the project(s) to a formal conclusion;

· Review steps followed throughout the project(s) and fill in gaps that individuals may have in their notes;

· Provide opportunity for trainees to critique their work, identify strong and weak points from both technical and organizational standpoints;

· Reinforce technical [earnings and clarify points of confusion as necessary.

Overview: The construction project involves many steps and is completed over a period of time. During that time, some trainees may be more involved in some steps than in others and may need to learn more details about the steps in which they were less involved. In addition, it is important to take time to assess the final product as well as the steps of the process used to achieve that product in order to identify strong and weak points, problems and solutions, etc. and draw conclusions that may be applied next time trainees oversee a pond construction project. This meeting is facilitated by the group leaders for the construction project. Near the end of the meeting, the trainer who was in charge of this project also offers his/her input.

1. The trainee coordinators facilitate a discussion of the project. This should take place mainly in the classroom in order to ensure that everyone can hear, see and participate, but should also include a walk out to the actual project site in order to look at the completed pond. This may occur at the beginning or at the end as the group leaders see fit, but if it occurs at the beginning, they should point out specific things the trainees should look at and be prepared to discuss.

2. The trainee facilitators should begin the session with a review of the entire project, chronologically, from beginning to end. The discussion should address:

· What actually occurred at each step (including site selection considerations, surveying, staking out the pond, scarifying, digging and construction of cores, construction of dikes, tamping dikes, sloping pond bottom, balance of cut and fill, placement and construction of drainage, inlet and overflow structures, finishing touches, sealing, erosion control, etc.).

· What worked well, what didn't work well for each aspect.

· Suggestions for alternative or improved techniques, solutions or approaches including both technical and extension aspects.

· Special problems or difficulties encountered, solutions tried or recommended.

· Results: condition of finished pond, what caused any unanticipated results.

· Economics: materials and tools used, costs of construction, total time and labor, efficiency regarding costs and labor.

· Analysis of group organization aspect: effectiveness of group coordinators, unique aspects of being a leader, unique aspects of being a group member not in the leadership role, how well group worked together, problems encountered, what helped, what people learned about themselves, what people learned about group projects, changes and improvements since last group project based on experience from that project.

The discussion should involved a lot of group discussion, sharing of ideas, asking and answering of questions.

3. Near the end of the session, the trainee group coordinators should ask the trainer in charge for input. The trainer should provide insights and observations, constructive criticisms, reinforcement of positive aspects, and suggestions. He/she should share some personal experiences and ideas, and give any helpful hints or techniques he/she may be able to provide.

4. The trainer should ask the trainees to spend ten minutes or so listing important points that came up during the discussion that they want to be sure to remember for next time they are involved in a pond construction project, and/or a group project of any kind as either a leader or participant.

5. In concluding, the trainer should congratulate the group on the project and on the discussion, as appropriate, and should thank the group coordinators.

Resources and Materials:

· Blackboard, chalk, eraser (in case trainees want to illustrate points or ideas, or if group leaders want to put up an outline for the discussion

· Other materials group leaders may request (newsprint and markers, etc.).

Trainer Notes:

· The trainer in charge of this project should meet with the group coordinators well in advance of this session. They should be given ample time to prepare, and the trainer should provide suggestions for ensuring that the issues listed in step number two (above) are addressed. He/she should ask the group leaders to allow time at the end for him/her to share some observations with the group. It is also a good idea to encourage the group leaders to take the initiative in critiquing their own leadership in the project, and encourage them to prepare themselves for both giving and receiving feedback in a constructive manner.

· The trainer in charge of this project should also be well prepared. He/she should have been taking careful notes throughout the project in order to be able to provide good, accurate, useful input regarding observations made as trainees worked through all of the steps, as well as technical points that may have been overlooked, not clearly understood, or that can be offered to supplement the knowledge the trainees have. The trainer's input should also be provided in a constructive, positive and helpful manner.

· This project provides a perfect opportunity for trainees to feel a real sense of accomplishment. There will probably have been errors made, but if the errors serve to enhance the trainees' learning, then they will have been worthwhile. If the group tends to be very hard on themselves, the trainer should make a point of helping them put their errors into perspective. He/she should try to help the trainees recognize both their accomplishments and the new knowledge they obtained through the project.

Session X-3: Final interviews

Time frame: Very variable. Approximately 45 minutes per trainee.


· Review the trainee's analysis, final conclusions and most significant [earnings regarding the management of his/her pond;

· Review and reinforce the most basic, essential elements of good management for Oreochromis niloticus, and ensure that the basic management plan is clear and fresh in the trainee's mind as he/she departs for his/her country of assignment;

· Acknowledge each trainee's efforts and accomplishments over the course of training, and bring his/her technical training to a formal close;

· Express the staff's congratulations to each trainee upon successful completion of the program.

Overview: Final Interviews are not at all like previous personal interviews. They are very formal, and both the content and format are different. There are a series of steps that take place in the final interview that address both technical and non-technical issues.

1. The Project Director welcomes the trainee to the interview and explains that the interview will be comprised of several parts.

10-15 minutes

2. The trainer who worked with the trainee's reports throughout the program has the trainee's final report in hand. He/she asks the trainee a series of questions about some of the more significant issues raised in the report these may include unique approaches to management, techniques the trainee developed, special problems that were encountered, interpretations made by the trainee in his/her analysis, etc. The other staff members who are present may choose to ask follow-up questions as the discussion progresses. In concluding this part of the interview, the trainer who evaluated the report acknowledges the effort the trainee put into the management of the pond and into the preparation of the report, congratulates the trainee on the quality of the report (if appropriate), and returns it to the trainee. Finally, it is pointed out that the report is an important and informative document, and the trainees is encouraged to keep it so that he/she may refer to it in the future.

5-20 minutes

3. For the next part of the interview, another trainer asks the trainee to tell the staff what fish would be considered the culture species of choice for most warm water aquaculture situations. (The trainee is expected to give Oreochromis niloticus as a reply).

The same trainer then asks the trainee to describe the most basic, simple management plan that could be used to raise O. niloticus successfully. The trainee is told to emphasize the points that are especially important in light of the characteristics of this fish. (In reply, the trainee should describe the management scheme that was presented in the special technical session on a "Basic Management Strategy for O. niloticus").

5 minutes

4. The Project Director (or Project Manager) asks the trainee to reflect back over the past ten weeks of training and to express what he/she considers to be his/her most significant accomplishment.

5 minutes

5. The Master Trainer provides any final feedback to the trainee, and acknowledges the progress that the trainee has made over the course of training. (The Master Trainer may choose to include some observations from the staffs point of view regarding the trainee's own comments regarding his/her most significant accomplishment).

5 minutes

6. The last part of the interview is the reading of the trainee's final evaluation. The Project Director explains that the staff has prepared a written final evaluation of each trainee that will be provided to the in-country staff. The purpose of the written evaluation is explained, and the Project Director reads it to the trainee.

7. After the evaluation has been read, the Project Director congratulates the trainee on his/her successful completion of the program. The rest of the staff also congratulates the trainee, and the interview is completed.

Resources and Materials:

· Comfortable, private meeting area with ample seating for up to six people
· Trainee's final report: the trainer who read it should have it at the interview
· A written evaluation of the trainee, prepared by the staff for the in-country staff
· Any notes that the staff has prepared regarding comments to be made in part 5 above

Trainer Notes:

· Final interviews should be quite formal. Staff members should dress appropriately, and the interview should be held in a clean, comfortable, private location.

· At a minimum, the Master Trainer and two other trainers should be present in the interview. One of the two trainers is the one who worked with the trainee's reports throughout the program. Any other available trainers should also be present - this is an important moment and it would be ideal to have all trainers present to lend support in the interview, recognize the trainee's accomplishment and offer congratulations on completion of the program. Unfortunately, this is often not feasible since staff members are usually very busy evaluating final reports. In addition to the Master Trainer and the two trainers who must be present, the Project Director should be present, if possible. In the case of a stateside training program, it is advisable to have a Peace Corps/Washington staff member, preferably the project manager, present. For an in-country program, the appropriate APCD should be present.

· For the first part of the interview, the discussion of the trainee's final report, the trainer who read it can brief the rest of the staff quickly about unique aspects of the trainee's pond management, highlights of the report, and the questions he/she plans to ask the trainee. During this part of the interview, the staff should pay attention to the time. It is possible to get so involved in the discussion that twenty or thirty minutes can pass, and it is very easy to get backlogged on the interviews. On the other hand, this part should not be rushed or off-handed; the staff should show interest in the trainee's pond work and report.

· For the second part of the interview, described in step number three above, trainees should not have any problem answering the questions. However, there are exceptions to this. In some cases, it may take a few moments for the trainee to "click in" to the management plan that was presented in the earlier session. The trainee may be very nervous and have a lapse of memory, or may go into a very detailed plan rather than describe the concise version. To help get the point across, the question regarding the management plan can be posed in the form of a hypothetical scenario that makes it clear the description should be concise. An example of a scenario used in past programs follows:

Imagine you are at J.F.K. airport waiting to board your flight to go overseas. You and the other trainees are having a lively discussion about O. niloticus, and you notice a gentleman has been moving closer to your group and appears to be listening to your discussion. Suddenly, he gets up, comes over to you and says "Excuse me, but I couldn't help overhearing that you were talking about O. niloticus. I have been raising catfish for years, but I've been hearing a lot about this O. niloticus lately and I'm interested in trying to raise them." Just then, your flight is called over the intercom and you have one minute before you must board your plane. In that one minute, tell this farmer the most basic, simple plan he could follow to raise O. niloticus. Since he already has some aquaculture experience, be sure you emphasize the points that are especially important in light of the characteristics and potential problems with this particular fish.

· If a trainee is unable to answer either or both of the questions in this second part of the interview, the staff must use their judgement about how to handle it. Sometimes, a few follow up questions from the staff will trigger the trainee's memory and he/she will be able to proceed. Another recommendation is to ask whether the trainee remembers discussing these issues before. If the response is yes, the staff may stop the interview, ask the trainee to go review his/her notes and collect his/her thoughts, and set a time to resume the interview.

· As mentioned in the notes on the Personal Interview in Week Nine, the feedback that is provided during part five of the final interview should emphasize the positive. There should be no unpleasant surprises in the final interview, and except for very special circumstances, this part of the interview should serve to emphasize the trainee's strengths and achievements, and boost his/her confidence. Difficult or sensitive areas should have been discussed at the Week Nine interview.

Session X-4: Final trainee evaluation of training program

Objective: Provide staff with feedback from trainees that can be used to evaluate the program and improve future programs.

Overview: Each trainee is asked to fill out an evaluation form similar to the ones they completed on a biweekly basis through most of the program. These are collected at the final interviews and are very useful to staff for evaluating their own performance and effectiveness, and for improving planned activities, session designs, training techniques and logistics. Following is a trainer note and a sample of a form used in past programs.

Trainer notes:

· With so much going on at the end of the program, it can be difficult to ensure that each trainee receives a form and that a completed form is collected from everyone. One system that worked fairly well was for the trainers to give an evaluation form to each trainee when notifying that individual that his/her final report was accepted. At this point, the trainee will no longer be distracted and under pressure (since the final report is completed), and should be able to give time and attention to filling out the form thoughtfully. The trainer asks each trainee to bring the completed form to the final interview, but should point out that the form will not be collected until the interview is completed. Another alternative is to give out the forms at the final interview and ask that they be turned in at the final dinner, but, based on experience in this program, this seems less likely to result in all forms being returned.

· An example of a final evaluation form follows:





1. Please rate the following training activities on a scale of 1 to 5.(1=not valuable, 5=very valuable):

Orientation Sessions (first two days of program)

1 2 3 4 5

Set of pond management plans (stocking, feeding, etc.)

1 2 3 4 5

Management of your own pond1

1 2 3 4 5

Masonry/Carpentry exercise

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Resource people

1 2 3 4 5

Long field trip

1 2 3 4 5

Site selection/pond design exercises

1 2 3 4 5

Trainer Panels

1 2 3 4 5

Pond Construction Exercise

1 2 3 4 5

Final Pond Report preparation

1 2 3 4 5

Personal Interviews

1 2 3 4 5

Additional comments (especially on activities you rated particularly high or low):

2. Please rate the training program staff on the following (1=low, 5=high):

Technical competence

1 2 3 4 5

Commitment to Peace Corps Aquaculture

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Concern for your personal progress

1 2 3 4 5

General attitude

1 2 3 4 5

Effectiveness as trainers

1 2 3 4 5


3. Please make any comments you may have regarding the suitability of the training facilities.

4. Please rate your skill levels in the following areas compared to ten weeks ago on a scale of 1 to 5 (1=no improvement, 5=excellent improvement):

Pond site selection/surveying

1 2 3 4 5

Pond construction

1 2 3 4 5

Water quality

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Stocking rates

1 2 3 4 5

Fish handling

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Extension methods

1 2 3 4 5

Economics and marketing

1 2 3 4 5

Report writing

1 2 3 4 5

Speaking in front of groups

1 2 3 4 5

Problem solving

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Planning/goal setting

1 2 3 4 5


5. Please make any general comments you may have on the training program and the impact it has had on your understanding of fish culture, the role of the volunteer, your self-confidence, commitment to Peace Corps and fisheries program, motivation, etc.