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close this bookAquaculture - Training Manual (Peace Corps, 1990, 350 p.)
close this folderChapter ten: Program design - week one
View the documentSession I-1: Trainee arrival
View the documentSession I-2: Orientation
View the documentSession I-3: Expectations, rules and norms
View the documentSession I-4: Individual focusing
View the documentSession I-5: Pond observations
View the documentSession I-6: Processing - pond observations
View the documentSession I-7: Personal Interview - week one
View the documentSession I-8: Processing of week one - bridge to Peace Corps, goal setting

Session I-1: Trainee arrival


· Welcome all trainees upon their arrival and ensure that all trainees and their luggage are accounted for;

· Provide opportunity to meet training staff;

· Provide transportation from the airport to the training site;

· Notify trainees about logistical arrangements and the schedule of events prior to the formal Orientation session;

· Help trainees to get settled into their accommodations.

Overview: The specific arrangements that are made for handling trainee arrival must be determined for each situation. In any case, however, it is important that trainees be met as soon as possible upon their arrival, whether coming to training individually or as one large group. The following is not a session design, but is a set of guidelines and suggestions for staff. The procedures used here can be modified to fit other situations.

1. At least one day prior to the trainee arrival date, staff should be sure they are fully prepared, and should do a step-by-step run-through of the events to take place the following day. This is tremendously helpful in finding potential problems and identifying details that have not been fully addressed. A helpful tool is a checklist which should include the following:

· Each trainer has a copy of the flight numbers and arrival times of all trainees, as well as a rooming list showing the room numbers of all trainees, and a list of points for the trainers to remember;

· Each trainer should be thoroughly familiar with the route to the airport and the location of airport parking lots;

· The trainer in charge of vehicles should have checked over all vehicles, have them full of gas and ready to go. If appropriate, have tarp and rope on hand for securing and protecting luggage in the pick-up truck. He/she should also have worked out a very detailed schedule for exactly which vehicles will be used for which trips, as well as which trainer will be driving each one for each trip. (This can get quite complicated if the trainees are arriving separately and their arrival times are spread out enough to necessitate several airport runs. The distance between the airport and the training site can also affect vehicle availability for each trip. The person coordinating this should be sure to figure in generous loading and travel time in determining vehicle availability);

· The trainer who is the contact person for the lodging staff should have the names of the trainees staying in each room posted on the doors, and should have all room keys in his/her possession to distribute to trainees;

· The trainer who is the contact person for the lodging staff should have gone through each room, making thorough notes of the condition of each room, all furniture, etc., and noting any damaged furniture, stains, etc. prior to the arrival of the trainees. These notes should be photocopied, and one copy should be given to the lodging staff before trainees arrive, while the other copy is maintained in the training staff office;

· All necessary arrangements should be made regarding meals during the day of trainee arrival. (Once training begins, there will be a set schedule, but the day of arrival often requires special arrangements). Be sure it is clear which meals will or will not be provided by the training program and which, if any, are to be at the trainees' own expense using their travel advance money;

· Trainers should have prepared a sign to hold up as trainees arrive;

· Trainers should have their name tags;

· Trainers should have handouts to give the trainees upon their arrival (an example showing the kind of information to be included on the handout is attached);

· If trainees are to receive registration and/or walk-around checks upon arrival, a trainer should have those checks as well as sign-up sheets to document trainees' receipt of the money. In addition, all necessary arrangements should have been worked out with the local bank or whatever means will be used for cashing checks.

2. On the day trainees arrive, trainers have a sheet of instructions or reminders, and carry out the procedures that have been decided upon. The following points are included on their reminder sheets and provide a general outline of the flow of events:

· Leave for the airport in plenty of time to meet first arrival;

· At the airport, find out where would be best place to have trainees pile their luggage while waiting for others to arrive;

· Wear name tags;

· Have Peace Corps Aquaculture Program sign;

· Meet all trainees as they come off the plane, welcome them and introduce yourselves;

· Get trainee's name, check off that s/he has arrived, look up room assignment;

· Tell trainee that since there will not be a formal meeting tonight, you are giving him/her a handout with important information. He/she should be sure to read it now;

· As trainee waits, you fill in name, room number, loading time and departing time. Note: There are different handouts, one for the first two runs and another for the late run. Be sure you give out the right one!;

· Show trainee where to put luggage until it's time to load the truck;

· If someone's luggage did not arrive, have the trainee wait until a trainer is available to accompany him/her to the desk to give directions for delivery;

· If a trainee does not arrive, check at the airline desk to see if he/she had checked in. Also, call and notify the Master Trainer about the situation;

· For the first run, trainees will have several hours between arrival at the motel and departure for supper. Suggest that they use the time to settle in, unpack and get acquainted. Suggest that since they are not yet familiar with the area, it would be best if they stay in the general vicinity of the motel for this afternoon. If they choose to take a walk, suggest they go with at least one other trainee;

· For the late run, note the time you arrive, since the van is to leave for supper about fifteen minutes later. Announce the exact time the van will leave for supper once you pull into the motel. Be sure to leave for supper on time.

3. Upon arrival at the lodging area, a trainer meets the arriving trainees,distributes room keys and provides any necessary assistance for settling in.


· All necessary vehicles, full of gas, clean and in excellent condition;

· Rope, tarps;

· Welcome signs;

· Trainer name tags;

· Handouts for trainees (see sample below);

· Trainee checks, if appropriate;

· Sign-up sheet for trainee checks;

· Lists for each trainer with arrival times, flight numbers and room assignments for all trainees;

· Checklists or reminder sheets for trainers, including clear schedule of vehicle use that tells which vehicle is to be used for each trip, the time of departure and arrival, and the trainer who will be driving;

· All room keys for trainees' rooms.

Sample Handout:


Trainee Name:

Welcome to the Peace Corps Aquaculture Training Program.

Luggage: Please bring your baggage to the front of the terminal at (time) for loading. Departure time: Your vehicle will leave the airport at (time).

Living accommodations: You will be living at __________. Your room number is_____ . Smoking is not permitted in the rooms.

Travel and Walk-around Allowance: You will receive two checks - one for $20.00, which will cover meals and incidental expenses incurred during travel to the training site, and one for $28.00 which will cover incidental expenses for the first week of training. If you wish to have your checks cashed, please sign them and return them to the trainer with a piece of photo identification. The checks will then be cashed and the money will be given to you.

Meals: This evening, vehicles will leave for dinner from the motel at 7:15 pm. (For people arriving on the later run, this section read: Vehicles will leave for dinner 30 minutes after arriving at the dorms. For this evening, you will be dropped at a Pizza Hut, and dinner will be at your own expense, to be covered by your travel allowance. Starting tomorrow, the training program will provide your meals.)

In the morning, vans will depart for breakfast promptly at 6:30 A.M. We will not be returning to the motel after breakfast so please come ready for the day.

Tomorrow Morning: Tomorrow, please bring the following with you to Orientation:

· All the forms you received in your invitational packet from Peace Corps;
· Your WHO card if you have one;
· Some form of identification that has a photo;
· One visa photo with your name printed on the back.

There will be more forms to complete, so be sure to bring any addresses and phone numbers you may need. This includes information for insurance beneficiary forms, emergency contact people, student loan forms etc.

Session I-2: Orientation

Total Time: 4 hours, 35 minutes


· Complete and collect all required Peace Corps forms, discuss Peace Corps policies and address any other administrative business;

· Provide overview of training program;

· Introduce staff and trainees;

· Provide the trainees with important logistical information;

· Provide opportunity for trainees to discuss their expectations of training and address those expectations;

· Present rules of the program and suggest that trainees develop a set of norms;

· Explain the assessment component of the program;

· Make announcements to prepare trainee for upcoming events.

Overview: The Orientation Session is the first formal meeting and serves as a welcome and introduction to the program. It is unlike most of the other activities that will occur in the program in that it has more of a lecture format (with staff members doing most of the lecturing), and it is considered more "pre-training" than actual training. It does, however, set a tone for the program and demands attention to detail and careful planning on the part of the staff in order to ensure a smooth, professional and comfortable atmosphere. The Orientation Session should serve to answer most of the trainees' more immediate questions about the general flow and logistics of the program and to fully address any necessary administrative business so that trainees leave the session prepared to begin training the following day.

30 minutes

1. Designated staff member(s) arrive at orientation area and make all necessary preparations. Set up includes:

· Arrange chairs, blackboard, flip chart stands (be sure posters, prepared newsprint, etc. are within easy reach of the speaker and stacked in the order in which they will be used);

· Be sure chalk, erasers, extra newsprint, markers and tape are conveniently placed for the speaker;

· Prepare table with extra copies of all mandatory and optional forms, sign-up sheets, etc.;

· Prepare a table or box for the collection of completed forms;

· Set up a table and chair near the entrance with trainees' name tags, markers and a box with check-off list for collecting photos as trainees arrive;

· Set up refreshments area (this may involve putting water in coffee urns, filling ice chests, or whatever is appropriate as well as putting out cups, spoons, etc.);

· Be sure rest room facilities are clean and properly stocked.

10 minutes

2. Trainees arrive. A trainer greets them as they come in, collects a visa photo from each trainee with the trainee's name on the back, and gives each trainee his/her name tag.

Suggest that trainees who prefer to be called by a nickname write it on the name tag with a marker. Keep a list of any trainees who have not brought visa photos, and instruct them when and where to meet a trainer to have a photo taken. Trainees are seated.

15 minutes

3. The Project Director welcomes the trainees and presents an overview of the organizational structure of the training program, the training facilities and any other appropriate introductory information. The schedule for the orientation meeting is presented, and the training staff and any visiting Peace Corps or local officials are briefly introduced.

35 minutes

4. The Project Director (or visiting official from Peace Corps) gives a brief introduction to Peace Corps and goes through all of the mandatory and optional forms. He/she should have a copy of each form on hand to show trainees, as well as extra copies available for them to use. The trainees are given time to complete all of the forms as the Project Director goes over them, answering their questions as necessary. With the help of one or two trainers, all forms are collected. In addition to the Peace Corps forms, trainees are given two copies of a handout that lists the Grounds for Separation and the Assessment Dimensions for the program. They sign one copy and return it. The other copy is for them to keep in their personal files.

40 minutes

5. The Project Director (or visitor from Peace Corps) goes through the Peace Corps Policies with the trainees. Trainers participate by offering examples and observations from their own Peace Corps experience. Medical Policies are covered briefly (to be covered in more depth by the medical officer) and handouts on Malaria and AIDS (as well as any other handouts supplied by the medical office) are distributed.

15 minutes

6. Trainers should have refreshments (coffee, tea, soft drinks) available.

10 minutes

7. Each staff member introduces him/herself to the group, giving a brief description of his/her academic and work background and Peace Corps experience.

30 minutes (adjust based on size of group)

8. The Project Director or another staff member asks trainees to divide into pairs and spend ten minutes interviewing their partners. After the ten minutes, the group rejoins and each trainee introduces his/her partner to the group. Information provided should include (but not be limited to) the trainee's home state, university attended and academic major, country of assignment, and a brief statement about why the trainee first considered joining Peace Corps. Each introduction should be limited to approximately one and a half minutes, though usually they are shorter than that.

10 minutes

9. The Master Trainer or another staff member informs the trainees about the basic logistics of the program. Information to be covered includes:

· Emergency names and phone numbers or locations (for example, where to reach the medical officer, Training Director, Master Trainer, etc.);

· Trainees' mailing address and arrangements for outgoing mail; Phone numbers where trainees can be reached or messages can be left for them;

· Lodging (where) and meal arrangements (schedules);

· How shopping and other personal needs can be met;

· Arrangements for recreational activities, if appropriate (for example, safe places to jog, availability of a volleyball net or basketball court, etc.);

· Normal departure times of vehicles for routine training activities;

· Normal training hours.

40 minutes (Optional - See last point under Trainer Notes)

10. A. (5 minutes) Ask trainees to jot down some of the expectations they have about training. To help them with this suggest that they think about what they will need to get from/do in training in order to be effective overseas, and/or to think in terms of challenges they expect to face or skills they will need.

B. (20 minutes) Tell trainees that they will be breaking into small groups. Each group is to choose a recorder and a representative who will present their lists to the large group later. Within each small group, they are to spend 15 to 20 minutes discussing the lists of expectations they have as individuals, and compile a group list, on newsprint, of eight or ten main expectations that they have for training. After giving these instructions, indicate how the groups will be divided, and have them break up into those groups. (Groups should be of approximately five or six trainees each.

C. (15 minutes) A representative of each group comes up, one at a time, posts the group's newsprint and briefly runs through it, explaining the expectations listed.

15 minutes

11. The Master Trainer reviews the trainees' lists of expectations and addresses each point, giving some indication of whether or not the expectation is likely to be met during the training program. During this section, the Master Trainer can add other information relevant to the points being addressed. (For example, one trainee expectation might be that staff members will teach the trainees skills and share their experiences with the trainees. This would be an appropriate time for the Master Trainer to explain that, at least during the earlier part of the program, the trainers will not serve directly as technical resources and will not answer technical questions).

20 minutes

12. A. The Project Director or other staff member presents a general schedule for the ten weeks of training. It should be pointed out that this is a general overview of the flow of events, but that the actual schedule will be determined largely by the trainees' pace.

B. The Project Director makes some general statements about the program, including the following points:

· The program will cover all important aspects of fish culture, with some fine-tuning for the different countries;

· Most Peace Corps fisheries programs are very similar in terms of the concepts involved and the kinds of problems encountered, with only a small amount of variation in the necessary skills. This is why trainees who are going to different countries can receive their initial technical training together in a program that teaches basic, generic skills;

· Training may well be one of the more difficult things the trainees have ever done. We are accustomed to a teacher directed learning process, where there is an "expert" who supposedly knows all about the subject, all you need to know, and gives you this information. Here, we use a different kind of learning. Learning will be your responsibility. We are here to make sure this happens, to provide opportunities and make resources available. We're interested in developing skills, not collecting facts. The staff serves as facilitators rather than as instructors in a traditional sense;

· Tell trainees that expectations will be discussed again after the first week, once they have had a chance to experience the program for a while. At that time the staff's expectations of them will also be covered.

C. The Project Director discusses the assessment component of the program, and informs trainees that assessment will be discussed further after the first week. Included in this discussion is the emphasis placed on self-assessment, staff assessment of trainees, note-taking by trainers, and the schedule for personal interviews. It is also made clear that special interviews can be scheduled at any time upon the request of the trainee or staff. The Project Director briefly reviews the assessment dimensions and grounds for separation, making reference to the form the trainees received earlier.

D. (Optional - See last point in Trainer Notes) The Master Trainer explains the rules of the training program, pointing out that rules are nonnegotiable, unlike norms. He/she also recommends to the trainees that they get together to develop a set of norms among themselves. Norms are negotiable policies that will enable them to coexist as comfortably as possible. Suggested topics for norms include smoking in common areas, noise,lights out, sharing of responsibilities for keeping rooms, vehicles and work areas clean, etc. Rules may include:

· No smoking in classrooms or vehicles;

· No open alcohol in vehicles;

· Vehicles depart on time;

· Sessions, meetings, and activities begin on time;

· All training activities are mandatory unless otherwise specified;

· Unauthorized absence is grounds for administrative separation per Peace Corps Policy. A written request is required to obtain authorization to be absent;

· Trainees are to represent Peace Corps responsibly in the local community;

· Trainees are to follow the rules of Individual Training unless otherwise specified.

E. (Optional - See last point in Trainer Notes) The Master Trainer explains Individual Training, i.e., unless otherwise specified, all training activities should be considered to be individual. Individual training means that trainees work independent of one another, not independent of the staff, the training program, or other resources that become available. This is an extremely critical aspect of the training program. Reassure trainees that group activities and sharing of ideas will be built into the program as well, but that they will be notified about those activities as they occur.

5 minutes

13. The Master Trainer or another staff member makes announcements about what will follow for the remainder of the day, departure times for tomorrow, meeting time for evening slide show, etc. Included in these announcements is that trainees are to turn in any technical materials they brought with them to training. Explain that this is an important aspect of the program, reminding them of the comments made earlier about training being a different way of learning. Assure them that their materials will be returned to them later in the program. Designate a specific time and the staff member to whom they should give their materials. Ask them to bring two lists of everything they are turning in ·one to be signed by the staff member and held by the trainee as a receipt, the other to be filed by the staff.

Resources and Materials:

· All staff members, including Project Director;

· If feasible, visiting Peace Corps officials (representative from OTAPS, Country Director, etc.) can provide a formal welcome from Peace Corps and help cover Peace Corps Policies;

· Comfortable meeting room, adequate chairs and tables;

· Prepared posters to be used during meeting. Suggestions include:

· Overview of the organizational structure of the program;

· The schedule for the day's meetings and activities;

· Training Class I.D. Numbers and Project Codes (to help in filling out forms);

· Trainees' mailing address and phone number while in training;

· Emergency contact names, numbers, addresses or locations;

· General ten week schedule, for example:

· Week One: Introduction to Peace Corps and Aquaculture Training
· Week Two: Introduction to Field Work and Fish Culture Concepts
· Week Three: Basic Pond Management
· Week Four: Surveying and Site Selection
· Week Five: Advanced Site Selection
· Week Six: Pond Construction and Extension
· Week Seven: Aquaculture as an Applied Science
· Week Eight: Fish Culture in the United States (refers to field trip)
· Week Nine: Country Specific Aspects
· Week Ten: Harvesting, Final Reports and Interviews;

· Flip chart stand and newsprint pads;

· Name tags;

· Polaroid and film;

· Markers, Masking tape, Blackboard, chalk and eraser;

· Extra copies of all mandatory and optional Peace Corps forms;

· Two copies per trainee of Grounds for Administrative Separation and Assessment Dimensions;

· Copy of Peace Corps Policies for Project Director;

· Medical handouts;

· Sign-up sheets for people who require eyeglass neutralization;

· Trainees' checks and sign-up sheets, if appropriate;

· Notebook paper and pens;

· Refreshments and supplies (i.e., coffee, tea, soft drinks, cups, spoons, etc.).

Trainer Notes:

· The logistics involved in this meeting are complicated. Every detail should be assigned to a specific staff member, and staff must be sure to walk through each detail the day before the meeting to be sure everything is prepared;

· All staff members should wear name tags. In addition, staff should be dressed neatly and somewhat formally;

· The visa photos that are collected are to be put on a poster in the office to aid staff in learning trainees' names as quickly as possible;

· Trainees should have received the Peace Corps forms in their invitational packets and should have arrived at training with all mandatory forms completed. However, it is very common for trainees to have forgotten them, never to have received some of them, or to have been confused by them. This is why staff should have copies of all forms on hand and should go through each form;

· Trainees who wear eyeglasses or contact lenses will need to see an optometrist for eyeglass neutralization. Providing a sign-up sheet during Orientation will enable staff to know how many trainees will require this, and facilitates scheduling of appointments;

· Handouts about some medical issues may be provided by the Peace Corps Medical Office and should be distributed, but staff should refer trainees who have questions about medical issues to the medical contractor or Peace Corps Medical Office;

· It is possible that trainees will have their first appointment with the medical contractor following this meeting. If this is the case, they should have been instructed to bring their WHO cards, if they have them;

· If the meeting will be followed by a shopping trip in town, provide some suggestions during the announcements, pointing out any relevant information about field conditions (for example, there are a lot of mosquitoes so they may want to purchase insect repellent, or the sun is very strong so they should have hats and water bottles, etc.);

· The trainer who is the contact person with the lodging staff may want to arrange a meeting in the evening to discuss the upkeep and rules of conduct for the lodging facilities;

· These sections are optional during Orientation. These sections can be covered in a separate session (see session entitled: Expectations, Rule and Norms) that follows the Orientation session, either in the afternoon of the same day or the morning of the following day. This will depend upon the day of the week upon which the trainees arrive and how the first day or two has to be scheduled.

Session I-3: Expectations, rules and norms

Total time: 1 Hour, 5 minutes


· Provide opportunity to share expectations about training;
· Promote understanding of trainer roles in training;
· Clarify rules and develop norms for training;
· Explain meaning and purpose of individual training.

Overview: Often trainees arrive without having given a lot of thought to training itself. Until now, many are likely to have been thinking more about actual Peace Corps service, speculating on what it will be like to live in a foreign culture or to be away from friends and family. In this session, trainees are encouraged to focus on what they expect, want and feel they need to get out of training. Comparing their expectations with those of their peers can serve both to alleviate some stress (there is comfort in finding that others share their hopes and fears), and to provide new food for thought regarding important skills or aspects training they may not have considered before. The staff will address the trainees' expectations, clarifying which are likely to be met, which probably will not be, and offering other comments that may help to explain and put into perspective some of the training methodology. This should help to establish a firm base, and should institute an atmosphere of trust that continues throughout the program.

10 minutes

1. The Master Trainer asks trainees to jot down, individually, some of the expectations they have about training. To help them with this suggest that they think about what they will need to get from/do in training in order to be effective overseas, and/or to think in terms of challenges they expect to face or skills they will need. It may help them to get started if the trainer throws out some questions such as, "What do you think you'll be doing? What will the staff be doing? What will be easy/hard? How will you learn?" If the trainer does choose to ask these questions, make it clear that they are just meant to help them think and that each specific question does not need to be addressed individually.

20 minutes

2. The Master Trainer tells the trainees that they will be breaking into small groups. Each group is to choose a recorder and a representative who will present their lists to the large group later. Within each small group, they are to spend 15 to 20 minutes discussing the lists of expectations they have as individuals, and compile a group list, on newsprint, of eight or ten main expectations that they have for training. After giving these instructions, indicate how the groups will be divided, and have them break up into those groups. (Groups should be of approximately five or six trainees each).

15 minutes

3. A representative of each group comes up, one at a time, posts the group's newsprint and briefly runs through it, explaining the expectations listed.

15 minutes

4. The Master Trainer reviews the trainees' lists of expectations and addresses each point, giving some indication of whether or not the expectation is likely to be met during the training program. During this section, the Master Trainer can add other information relevant to the points being addressed, and should explain the role of the trainers. Make it very clear that they will facilitate the learning process, but will not initially serve as technical resources. (For example, one trainee expectation might be that staff members will teach the trainees skills and share their experiences with the trainees. This would be an appropriate time to explain that, at least during the earlier part of the program, the trainers will not serve directly as technical resources and will not answer technical questions). If appropriate, explain again why trainees' technical materials were collected.

5 minutes

5. The Master Trainer explains the rules of the training program, pointing out that rules are non-negotiable, unlike norms. He/she also recommends to the trainees that they get together to develop a set of norms among themselves. Norms are negotiable policies that will enable them to coexist as comfortably as possible. Suggested topics for norms include smoking in common areas, noise, lights out, sharing of responsibilities for keeping rooms, vehicles and work areas clean, etc. Rules may include:

· No smoking in classrooms or vehicles;

· No open alcohol in vehicles;

· Vehicles depart on time;

· Sessions, meetings, and activities begin on time;

· All training activities are mandatory unless otherwise specified;

· Unauthorized absence is grounds for administrative separation per Peace Corps Policy. A written request is required to obtain authorization to be absent;

· Trainees are to represent Peace Corps responsibly in the local community;

· Trainees are to follow the rules of Individual Training unless otherwise specified.

The Master Trainer explains Individual Training, i.e., unless otherwise specified, all training activities should be considered to be individual. Individual training means that trainees work independent of one another, not independent of the staff, the training program, or other resources that become available. This is an extremely critical aspect of the training program. Reassure trainees that group activities and sharing of ideas will be built into the program as well, but that they will be notified about those activities as they occur.

In concluding the session, the Master Trainer can recommend that the trainees keep a journal to help them track own progress and watch their own reactions to various situations, etc. (Journals will be private and will not be seen by staff).

At the completion of this session, make any necessary logistics announcements. Take a fifteen minute break before moving on to next activity.

Resources and Materials:

· This is an important meeting and should be held in a quiet, comfortable location with no distractions;

· Newsprint, markers, masking tape and/or flip chart stand;

· Paper and pens should be available upon request.

Trainer Notes:

· The Master Trainer facilitates this session. It is important that the facilitator be someone with whom the trainees will have contact throughout training so they can easily request clarification or express concerns on the matters discussed here;

· Much of what is covered here can be missed by trainees since it foreshadows and attempts to explain confusing aspects of training that they have not yet experienced but about which they will later have many questions. It may be helpful to point this out to them during the session;

· During the explanation of individual training, there are likely to be some questions and some trainees may express disagreement or reservations. Facilitator must be prepared to discuss it and field questions until everyone seems to understand this rule. Make it clear that it is not negotiable and is taken very seriously. Encourage anyone who continues to have questions about this as training proceeds to request a meeting with the Master Trainer. It is important to discuss this openly, without becoming evasive or defensive, and to give some sense of why individual training is critical and how it will benefit the trainees in the long run.

Session I-4: Individual focusing

Total time: 1 to 4 hours, approximately


· Allow trainees to concentrate on the specific professional demands of their jobs as PCV's;

· Focus trainees on what they will actually need to learn and do during technical training in order to be competent fish culture volunteers, allowing them to sort this out from other aspects of being a volunteer, such as those that will be covered in language and country specific cross-cultural training;

· Provide a transition from the "pre-training" they have experienced so far to the individual approach to technical training that will characterize training from this point on.

Note: This session follows the Expectations session or Orientation (if Expectations was incorporated) . Except for the brief, approximately five minute introduction, there is no set time frame for this activity as it is strictly individual and will vary among the trainees. An approximate time frame for the entire exercise is from one to four hours.

5 minutes

1. The facilitator (generally the Master Trainer) gives an introduction, reminding the trainees of what has been covered up to now and making a link between the Expectations session and this one. Point out that administrative business has been addressed, introductions have been made, and some time has been spent becoming acquainted with the area. There have been discussions on what training might be like, expectations of trainees have been discussed, and some of the ground rules and logistics of the program have been explained. Tell trainees that the staff thinks of everything up to this point as "pre-training". Now, if they are ready, actual "training" will begin.

Remind trainees that, as has already been discussed, training is fast-paced and can be hectic. Tell them this may be their last opportunity to really take some time to be alone with their thoughts and think hard about the questions about to be uncovered on the newsprint sheet that is hanging at the front of the room. Tell them that they may find the questions help them to get focused. Ask trainees to think about the questions and write down their thoughts. Point out that paper and pens are available up front. Tell them that after a while, trainers will come around and ask to read what they have written, and that trainers may ask to speak with them. Remind them that this is an individual exercise and they should not talk with one another.

2. Uncover newsprint. Newsprint has the following six questions:

· Where are you going?
· When you get there, what will the people expect of you?
· What will it take for you to be effective?
· Where are you now?
· Why are you here?
· What do you need to do here?

3. The staff sits quietly and waits approximately 30 to 45 minutes before circulating around room. If during this time a trainee appears to be finished and takes out a book to read, starts writing letters, or begins some other unrelated activity, a trainer should walk over and quietly and politely say something like, "That's not training, please put it away for now".

4. After some period, approximately 30-45 minutes, staff members begin to circulate and ask to read what the trainees have written. The staff should have previously divided the room among them so that each trainer works with certain trainees. The objective of the timing is to give everyone ample time to give more than a cursory response to each question, yet not to leave trainees sitting for so long that they become confused and get off track in addressing the questions from too many different perspectives, thus becoming scattered rather than focused. This is difficult to assess.

5. Trainers begin to meet individually with trainees (meet in a location outside of the room) to discuss what they have written. If a trainee has responded to the questions in a very abstract way or if the responses suggest that he/she is preoccupied with vague speculations about what life in a foreign country will be like, with innermost feelings about deciding to join Peace Corps, or is otherwise not yet at a point of focusing on the job at hand in technical aquaculture training, the trainer should spend a few minutes talking with the individual, then send him/her back to the classroom (see Trainer Notes for more specific suggestions).

6. When the trainer feels that the trainee has focused in on spending the upcoming ten weeks on learning the specifics of aquaculture so that he/she will be able to be an effective, professional and credible aquaculture extensionist, the trainer gives the trainee a training notebook and guides him/her to the next activity (Pond Observation Exercise).

Resources and Materials:

· Comfortable classroom for the group, with other meeting areas nearby for individual meetings between trainers and trainees;

· Newsprint or poster prepared with the questions listed above;

· Flip chart stand or tape;

· Notebook paper;

· Pens;

· Binders (at least 1 1/2 inch diameter rings), one per trainee;

· Dividers for binders (one packet per trainee).

Trainer Notes:

· This component is a modification of an exercise that has been controversial since Peace Corps aquaculture training began. In past programs, it was extremely ambiguous, i.e., trainees received no instructions and very little guidance. Rather than feeling focused as a result of the exercise, some trainees felt even more confused, and viewed the exercise as a "mind game". Over the course of the three years that the University of South Carolina conducted the training, several modifications were made in an attempt to find an approach that retains the value of the exercise, but eliminates the negative repercussions. Although the exercise remains controversial, the design presented here is one that we feel worked well. Some trainees still claimed that it was a "waste of time", but the majority felt that it had value for them, and was very helpful to provide this opportunity for trainees to prepare themselves and focus their concentration for training. Those who did not consider it useful, while not appreciative, at least did not seem to harbor the same type of bitterness that was the norm for many in earlier designs;

· The skills and attitudes of the staff have a tremendous effect on what the trainees gain from this exercise, on their feelings and attitudes, and on the trust they will feel towards the staff and the program. It is imperative that the staff spend a good deal of time discussing this exercise and that everyone on the staff has a clear understanding of its purpose. They should spend as much time as possible practicing, through role playing, to develop their techniques and learn about their styles before actually beginning to interact with the trainees;

· Properly implemented by the staff, this exercise should be perceived by the trainees as a helpful, positive experience. The staff's attitude toward the exercise will do much to determine its success;

· Each trainee will approach the questions differently. Often, trainees with a strong technical background will already be thinking in terms of further developing their technical skills, and will jump right in with ideas about raising fish. In many cases, trainees with weak science backgrounds express some fears about their ability to learn the technical skills, and often they will even avoid the whole technical issue, concentrating their responses instead on their personal feelings about working in a developing country, experiencing culture shock, etc. As with all generalizations, however, there are plenty of exceptions, and in reality their will be a wide range of largely unpredictable responses;

· While there are no "right" answers, there is a set of ideas that it is hoped will result from these questions. Trainers should not be rigid in requiring exact wording or in trying to get every trainee to go through an identical thought process, yet they should try to guide the trainees toward these bottom line ideas. Following are the kinds of responses it is hoped trainees will eventually reach to the posed questions:

· Where are you going? This is a grounding question, and the trainee should be encouraged to give a simple, straightforward response, stating the country to which he/she has been assigned;

· When you get there, what will the people expect of you? Though the trainee might initially respond to this in a wide variety of ways ("They'll expect me to be very rich", "they'll expect me to ride a horse and carry a gun", "they'll expect me to speak their language", etc.), the objective is to direct the trainee towards thinking in terms of his/her professional role and the responsibilities he/she will be expected to fulfill in light of that role. Thus, what is being aimed for here are responses such as "They'll expect me to be an expert in fish culture", "They'll expect me to be able to answer all their questions and solve their problems related to raising fish", "They'll think I know everything about fish culture", etc.;

· What will it take for you to be effective? Trainees may have initially reacted to this question by thinking mainly about cultural sensitivity and language skills. These are certainly valid responses and should be acknowledged as such, but again try to direct them towards other aspects of being effective in a professional role. A main concept to try to get across here is the importance of being able to establish professional credibility. For example, "I'll need to know what I'm doing, and people will need to believe that I know what I'm doing", "I will need to be competent, and confident enough in my own knowledge to gain the trust of others", "People will need to perceive me as a credible professional", "I will need to present myself in a professional manner", etc.;

· Where are you now? This is another grounding question that serves as a reference point for the next question. Again, encourage a very straightforward response. They are at the Peace Corps Aquaculture Training Program;

· Why are you here? Some trainees will respond to this by discussing their reasons for joining the Peace Corps. This is an important personal process for some trainees, and if it seems appropriate, the trainer may take a little time to discuss it with them. But to help the trainees with the focusing process, ask them to answer in light of question number four. Help them to distinguish specifically that they are at the Peace Corps Aquaculture Training Program, rather than simply in Peace Corps or in a particular country. They are here in order to learn about raising fish and to develop the technical skills and expertise needed to be effective as fisheries volunteers;

· What do you need to do here? The response to this, again, is sometimes self-reflective and abstract. For example, "I need to work hard and listen to the instructors". What should be encouraged is a more tangible, directly job-related response, such as "I need to get experience raising fish", "I need to learn to raise fish by actually doing it", etc. This question can be used to get at the idea of learning through experience being the most effective way of learning. However, care should be taken here. In the past, the question posed was a different. It was, "What do you need to have?", with the objective being for the trainee to request a pond. (This was based on a modification of a previous approach to this exercise from earlier programs). Rigidly requiring that a trainee make this request seemed to be a key contributor to the frustration trainees experienced in this exercise. For many, the idea of jumping into a completely hands-on situation before receiving the more familiar type of preparation through lectures, readings and demonstrations is a completely foreign one, and will not even be considered. If the trainer simply hints around until the trainee is practically forced to say what the trainer wants to hear, it triggers resentment, mistrust and a sense of "playing a game". If the trainee feels that the best way to learn fish culture is through receiving lectures, reading books, and then trying to apply the [earnings under the direct instruction of the trainers, that is a perfectly reasonable line of thinking even though it is not the way training is conducted in this program. In fact, all of those methods of learning do occur in training, but not in the order that is likely to be the most familiar to the trainee. Thus, the trainer should not devalue or ridicule that suggestion. When the interview with the trainee reaches this point, a better approach is for the trainer to help the trainee see some of the advantages of having the opportunity to develop clear questions in order to recognize and be able to utilize helpful information that may become available, and also point out how learning a skill through actual experience impacts on the level of resulting confidence in one's abilities;

· The staff guides the trainees through this process through one-on-one interviews. Analogies can be useful tools in helping trainees think clearly about questions 2,3,5 and 6. It is extremely critical that trainers really read what the trainees have written and listen carefully to what they say. This will help the trainer to determine an approach that is consistent with the trainee's own thought process. In addition, it is easy to miss a point that has already been made and/or clearly understood by the trainee, and then throw that individual completely off track in trying to guide him/her toward the same idea. This is extremely frustrating to the trainee, since without realizing it, the trainer may have given the impression of dismissing that idea as unimportant;

· The manner and attitude of the staff has a great impact on how the trainee feels about this experience and on the value of the exercise. Although it is true that there is a set of ideas that are being sought in the responses to the questions, there are really no "right" or "wrong" answers. The staff should be very careful not to get so caught up in their own objectives that they give the impression that the trainee's answers are "wrong" or "bad", or come across as angry or impatient. This is a very individual exercise, and the way trainees respond will be as varied as their individual personalities. Since the goal is to help them focus, much will depend upon their individual states of mind as they enter the program. Some may already be thinking about what they want to feed their fish, while others may still be grappling with personal issues related to leaving home for two years. Staff members must be sensitive to this and must make every effort to make this exercise a positive, helpful one.

Session I-5: Pond observations

Total Time: 8 to 15 hours (time will vary according to individual progress)


· Sharpen observation skills;

· Build trainees' confidence in their ability to learn independently through their own observation and deductive reasoning;

· Give trainees opportunity to identify their own perspectives, habits and biases in observing something for the first time;

· Begin developing an eye for various physical characteristics of a pond system;

· Familiarize trainees with work area.

Overview: Up until this point, sessions have been designed to orient the trainees, prepare them for the program and help them set broad goals for training. This is the first actual technical exercise in the program. The trainees will be required to make very thorough and detailed observations of the entire pond system area and to record those observations in an organized way. They will have the opportunity to try to draw connections and conclusions about what they observe. In addition to learning about the system, they will develop many questions about fish ponds and aquaculture that they will be encouraged to write down and explore over the course of training.

Trainer Note: If trainees have not yet received their training notebooks (empty binder, paper, dividers), they should receive them before beginning this exercise. The trainer should stress that the notebook should be built into an extremely valuable resource for the trainee to take overseas. The trainee should think of it as a comprehensive textbook that he/she will write for him/herself.

5 minutes

1. Instructions are given to the trainees individually. Instructions may be given at the classroom or wherever the trainee is at the point of completing the previous exercise. The trainee receives the following instructions:

· You will be given directions to the pond area, and the boundaries in which you are to work will be specified;

· Please investigate this area very carefully, record all of your observations in detail, and make comments on what you see. Use diagrams when appropriate;

· A trainer will check with you from time to time to see how you are progressing;

· Please remember that this is an individual training activity. (Refer to discussion of individual training that took place during the Expectations session).

When giving instructions, the trainer should also include any restrictions (i.e. do not enter buildings, do not throw switches, etc.) as appropriate, and any necessary warnings (i.e. there are poisonous snakes in the area, bring drinking water, etc.). Once the instructions have been given, the trainer directs the trainee to the pond area.

8 to 15 hours

2. Trainees work independently in the field, making their observations and notes, and eventually receiving input and guidance from trainers. Trainers are out in the field observing the trainees, but should not interfere with them unless a trainee needs to be reminded of a given restriction or is in danger of harming him/herself or a piece of equipment. When a trainee who has been working for quite a long time and writing down a lot of notes appears to have slowed down or reached a block in his/her thinking, the trainer approaches and asks to see the trainee's notes. This is the point at which the trainer must exercise judgement in determining how much guidance to give the trainee.

The number of times the trainer confers with the trainee over the course of the observations will vary, and at some point, the trainer will determine that the trainee has done a thorough and complete enough job to move on to the next exercise. The attached list of observations can serve as a guideline, though it is not imperative that every single point on the list be included in the trainee's notes as long as the appropriate level of detail has been reached in most areas and all general categories have been noted. A map of the ponds is required.

10 minutes

3. The trainee completes the exercise and is given directions for moving on to the next step. The trainer has a short discussion with the trainee during which the amount of work the trainee has done should be acknowledged, and the trainee is encouraged to recognize the amount of progress that he/she has made. It should be made clear that although the trainee has done a good job of making increasingly thorough observations, he/she has not necessarily seen all there is to see and will probably continue to see and learn more as experience is gained working at the ponds. The trainee is then told that the observation notes will be the first section of the training notebook. The trainee is instructed to put the notes into a neat and organized form so that they will be useful in the future. The notes are to be turned in the following day for the staff to look over, then returned to the trainee to be put in the notebook. At this point, the trainer guides the trainee to the next step.


· Notebooks, pens;

· Insect repellent (if appropriate);

· A pond system that includes several ponds, a water supply and a drainage system. The more variety and features the area provides, the richer the exercise will be. Different types of water sources, ponds of different sizes and construction, a variety of soil types and vegetation, and support facilities such as holding tanks, settling tanks, etc. all add to the value of this activity. A few other suggestions: Have some ponds full and stocked with fish, some full of water but without fish, some empty and dry. Fertilize some ponds several days prior to the exercise, fill others shortly before the exercise so there will be a variety of water colors due to different levels of plankton blooms. Have a few pieces of equipment such as seines, cast nets or cages in sight. If possible, ponds should have examples of different types of inlets or drainage structures such as sluices, standpipes or monks.

Trainer Notes:

· This exercise serves as an initial transition to the methodology employed by the training program. For most trainees, the way learning occurs in training is a departure from their previous educational experiences. The assignment often seems ambiguous to the trainees, and some will feel overwhelmed as they begin the task. Although they will not receive direct input or verification from trainers on the accuracy or completeness of their observations or conclusions, trainers will provide some guidance regarding each trainee's approach to the task. As they work, they will notice improvements in their own observation skills. While some will be frustrated initially, trainees discover a great deal about their own strengths and skills and gain confidence in their ability to learn independently;

· Prior to going into the field, each trainer should have previously been assigned certain trainees with whom he/she will work throughout this exercise. To avoid confusing trainees, trainers should not provide guidance to trainees to whom another trainer has been assigned unless the trainee has a specific logistical question. If a trainer has to leave the area, he/she should bring another trainer up to date on the progress of the trainees with whom he/she has been working so that the other trainer can take over effectively. Consistency among trainers is critical to ensure a positive, supportive process;

· There are many ways in which the trainer may give the trainee guidance, and the type and amount of help given will depend on several factors, including the amount of information the trainee has already accumulated, the depth of detail of that information, and the confidence level and enthusiasm of the trainee. The trainer should be creative in using analogies and other techniques to help the trainee find a way to continue the exercise. Some possibilities and suggestions:

· Often the trainee has stopped "seeing" things because he/she is looking at the area from a limited perspective. For example, a geology major may have made a thorough survey of soil types, but may have completely missed the variety of vegetation, the fish in the ponds, or a net lying on the bank. A biology major may have diagrammed every plant, tree and insect, but not even noticed the plumbing system. In this situation, the trainer can help make the trainee aware of his/her "bias" by asking that individual how a plumber, farmer, real estate agent, zoologist, etc. might describe the same area;

· Some trainees get caught up in details and miss the "big picture". For example, they may overlook the general topography of the area or the fact that there is a system rather than several independent ponds. Other times, just the opposite is true. In the first case, encourage the trainee to "zoom out", or ask the trainee to imagine that he/she has been hired by a potential buyer in another state who is counting on the description the trainee will provide to determine exactly what the area looks like. In the latter case, where more detail is needed, choose one thing in the trainee's notes, perhaps a drainage structure or individual pond, and ask the trainee to provide enough detail for someone to be able to build a similar drainage structure or pond from those notes, or to see exactly what the trainee sees, without actually having to visit the site;

· In some cases, the trainee will have a tremendous amount of information, but in such a scattered form that he/she does not recognize relationships or has major gaps. Here, the trainer should encourage the trainee to organize the notes and to categorize the observations in a logical way;

· Often trainees who do not have a science background feel that they are at a disadvantage and lack confidence in their ability to see what they think they should see, or make sense of their observations. A trainer can help by pointing out the progress the trainee has made over the course of the exercise and giving some reassurance of the value of the observations that have been made so far;

· Important! Trainers must remember that this is an exercise in observation, not a test of knowledge in aquaculture. While trainees should be encouraged to think about what they see, try to draw some conclusions and make connections, it is not necessary that they understand the function of everything they see or draw only correct conclusions at this stage. While a trainee who majored in aquaculture may know the correct terminology for and functions of certain structures or equipment, other trainees will not. A caution here is that the trainer must not give the impression that speculations made by the trainees are correct, but should just encourage the trainees to write down their questions and ideas so that they can refer back to them later as more knowledge and experience is accumulated.

Sample list of observations that reflect the level of expected detail:

· Construction

Dike sides are sloped
Dike widths
Pond bottoms are sloped
Water depth at shallow and deep ends
Drain at deep end
Pond size at ground level, water level and in bottom of pond
Water depth in various ponds
Depth from bottom to ground level in various ponds
The site is on slope, direction of slope
Certain places around ponds have been built up
Grass is planted on dikes, type of vegetation on banks
Grass or other vegetation on pond bottom
There are a variety of soil types (colors, textures, sand, clay)
Dikes in some ponds eroding
Cracking in the bottom of some dry ponds

· Water System

Pump (all specifications on labels)

Where tubes go in, where tubes go out

Power source

Motor unit is separate from pump unit

Log sheet

Various tools in pump house

Construction of pump house

Grease on grease points

Inlet piping

Location of inlet piping in each pond
Location of valves, how valves work
Pipe material and size

Source of water

Depth and width of canal


Location in ponds

Type and size of pipe

Main system outlet locations

Drainage area and canals

Description of drainage device

· Site/Environment

Birds, other predators or signs of them
Distance to town, roads
Surrounding vegetation
Buildings, structures
Directions (north, south, east, west)

· Individual ponds (for each pond)

Color, turbidity
Presence of fish
Depth of water
Films and debris on surface
Presence of other animal life
Erosion/vegetation on banks.

Session I-6: Processing - pond observations

Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes


· Share feelings experienced during the Pond Observation exercise;

· Discuss Pond Observation exercise from non-technical standpoints including learnings about trainees' own reactions, problem-solving approaches and perspectives;

· Share some of the technical observations made about pond systems;

· Apply this experience to the development of strategies for observing unfamiliar pond systems;

· Develop clear, specific questions based on knowledge gained from this exercise.

Overview: The Pond Observation exercise is the first technical exercise in the program. It involves working individually and dealing with a fairly ambiguous task, a very new kind of challenge for many trainees. In addition to its technical aspects, this exercise provides an adjustment period for the trainees and a transition to a new way of learning. In processing the Pond Observation exercise, trainees have an opportunity to share some of their feelings while going through this adjustment, and to think about what they learned about their own reactions to new situations, as well as how they approach problem-solving. In addition, this session helps clarify and reinforce some of the technical [earnings, and provides an opportunity to think about the application of these [earnings to future situations.

5 minutes

1. The trainer briefly reviews what happened during the Pond Observation exercise, and tells the trainees that, in this session, they will have a chance to discuss the exercise.

5 minutes

2. The trainer points out that there were actually many aspects to this exercise, and asks the trainees from what standpoints it could be discussed? (For example: technical, dealing with frustration/ambiguity, observation skills, approaches to problem-solving, working independently, working in physically demanding conditions, etc.) The responses of the trainees are recorded on the board or newsprint.

15 minutes

3. Once there is a list on the board, the trainer assigns some order to them for the following group discussion, going from the non-technical aspects to the technical ones. The trainer then facilitates a group discussion among the trainees to allow them to share their experiences related to each of the aspects listed. The trainer can pose some of the following questions to stimulate the discussion:

· How did they feel when they first went out into the field? (frustrated, bewildered, confused, nervous, lonely?);

· What were some sources of frustration?

· How did they deal with or react to what they were feeling?

· Did they set goals?

· How did they go about developing a way to tackle the job?

· What did they learn about their own observation skills?

· What did they learn about their own perspectives?

· How many looked at the area from the point of view of their academic background or other experiences? (Ask for examples of people seeing something, but not seeing something else. For example, "I saw all the different species of plant life but didn't even notice the pipes going into the ponds");

· How long did it take before you looked at the ponds as a system?

5 minutes

4. The trainer asks the trainees to individually write down three to five things they learned about fish ponds based on their observations that they didn't know before.

20 minutes

5. The trainer tells the trainees that they will be dividing into small groups (four to six trainees per group). Once in their groups, they have a two part assignment. They are to spend the first ten minutes comparing the things they wrote down about what they learned about fish ponds. They are to spend the second ten minutes developing, as a group, a strategy to address this question:

· If you were to go visit a pond system now that you had never seen before, describe, step-bystep, how you would go about studying it, and briefly give the reasons for each step.

The strategy each group develops should be recorded on newsprint.

10 minutes

6. The large group reconvenes and a representative of each small group presents their group's strategy.

5 minutes

7. The trainer gives the following homework assignment, to be turned in the following morning, then returned to the trainee to keep in his/her notebook: List fifteen questions you now have as a direct result of your observations of the pond system you studied.

The trainer concludes the meeting by making a few final points to remind the trainees that, since most of them are still unfamiliar with fish ponds, haven't yet fully developed their "eye", and still lack a great deal of technical information, they had to make some assumptions in processing what they observed. This is an important first step that assigns some order to their thought processes, but they should be sure to make a point of taking opportunities to test their assumptions and verify the accuracy of their conclusions as they go through training and gain more information. They should also be encouraged to recognize how much they were able to learn on their own, and to note their own progress and accomplishments as they went through this exercise.

Resources and Materials:

· Blackboard, chalk, eraser;

· Newsprint pads, markers, masking tape.

Trainer Notes:

· This occurs early in training at a point where trainees may still be unclear about the Individual Training aspect of the program. To avoid confusion and/or mixed messages, it may help to acknowledge this. The trainer can remind the trainees that they were told in orientation that training is individual unless otherwise specified and that they were told there would be opportunities to share ideas built into the program. Point out that this meeting is one of those times, but that once leaving this session, individual training is to be resumed and the subject matter covered here is not open for further discussion among them;

· An alternative approach to processing the Pond Observation exercise is to do it with small groups of trainees as they complete their observations. In this case, the processing takes place every time about four to eight trainees have completed the observations. The design remains essentially the same, except that in step number five it will probably not be necessary to break into even smaller groups (if there are more than six trainees, however, it may be worthwhile to break into groups of four or five). Although this approach is labor intensive for the Master Trainer (or whichever staff member is facilitating the processing), it has been very successful since it provides more immediate processing, thus making the trainees aware of the value of the exercise while it is fresh in their minds and other activities have not superseded this experience.

Session I-7: Personal Interview - week one

Time Frame: Average approximately ten minutes per trainee, but vanes greatly.


· Welcome each trainee to the program on an individual basis;

· Allow staff members to become acquainted with each trainee on an individual basis;

· Provide opportunity for trainees to express any concerns, thoughts or questions they may care to share with the staff;

· Allow the staff to learn, on an individual basis, what each trainee expects, hopes or wants in terms of his/her personal experience in training.

Overview: The first personal interview takes place as early as possible, usually around the middle or end of the first week. It is usually very short, just meant to establish a personal contact with each trainee and to provide an opportunity for trainees to share anything they wish to discuss with the staff. The actual length and content will vary considerably based upon the trainee's input. The Master Trainer conducts each interview, preferably with a trainer present as well. Feedback is very rarely shared during this interview.

There is not a set process for these interviews, as what occurs is strictly dependent upon the individual trainees. The following is a suggested approach that can be taken by the Master Trainer, with some sample questions that can be asked to initiate conversation.

The Master Trainer greets the trainee and explains that the first personal interview is simply meant to provide an opportunity to welcome each trainee individually, and to make an individual contact with each person. He/she can say that often trainees have questions they would like to ask or things they would like to discuss with the staff, so this also serves as an opportunity to address anything the trainee would like to talk about.

After those introductory statements, the Master Trainer might ask the trainee some of the following questions:

· What were you doing right before you came to training?

· What are your impressions so far?

· Based on what you have heard and seen so far, what do you anticipate as being some of the more interesting/valuable/difficult/easy aspects of the program for you, personally?

· What are some of the things you plan to work on and/or most hope to get out of training?

· Do you have any questions, concerns or comments you would like to discuss?

· In future interviews, we will be giving you feedback on your progress here. Are there any particular areas in which you are especially interested in receiving feedback?

In closing the interview, the Master Trainer should tell the trainee that future interviews will be structured somewhat differently. They will be more formal and structured, there will usually be a trainer present as well as the Master Trainer, and there will be more discussion of the trainee's work and progress, including feedback on the trainee's performance. The Master Trainer should also point out that the trainee never has to wait for a scheduled interview to talk with staff members, and is welcome to request a special interview with any staff member at any time.

Trainer Notes:

· Since these interviews often take place during Pond Observations, it is possible that trainers, occupied with trainees in the field, may not be able to attend these interviews. In this case, the Master Trainer conducts them alone, but can tell the trainee that trainers will be present in future interviews;

· This interview, since it is less formal than future interviews, can be held outdoors as long as there is a private, reasonably comfortable place to meet;

· After the trainee leaves, the trainer should note down some of the major points that came out during this interview. This is important because concerns or requests expressed may be of the sort that should be addressed again in later interviews. For example, if a trainee is still feeling very unsure about the decision to join Peace Corps at this time, it will be important to check back with him/her later in the program. If the trainee has requested feedback in a particular area, the staff should make a point of making the kinds of observations that will enable them to provide that feedback in future interviews.

Session I-8: Processing of week one - bridge to Peace Corps, goal setting

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes


· Process the week's activities by providing opportunity for trainees to share experiences and feelings;

· Share ideas about new ways of learning based on experiences in first week;

· Define the purpose of training in the context of service in the Peace Corps aquaculture programs and of what will be expected of trainees upon arrival in those programs;

· Discuss and provide information about the role of aquaculture Volunteers;

· Provide opportunity to consider the assessment component of the training program in the context of the needs of Peace Corps field staff;

· Inform trainees about the expectations the training staff have of them;

· Encourage trainees to set personal goals for training.

Overview: This meeting takes place at the end of the first week, and serves several purposes. The first week of training can be a strange and intense experience for many trainees, and this meeting provides an opportunity to process that experience. After a week of individual work during which trainees may have felt alone and sometimes confused, it can be reassuring to share the feelings they had and to discuss what they learned about working in this environment. Some of the topics that were touched on in Orientation are reviewed again now that trainees have some experience with the program to help them put them into perspective. In addition to processing, this meeting also serves as a forum for providing additional information about the job of a fish culture extensionist that will help trainees put training into context. Trainees are informed of the staff's expectations of them. Finally, now that trainees have had a chance to get oriented, they are encouraged to set personal goals for themselves related to the training program.

10 minutes

1. The facilitator begins the session by reviewing what the trainees have done over the course of the week. He/she asks the trainees to share some of the experiences and feelings they had during the week.

15 minutes

2. The facilitator asks trainees to list what they have learned about new ways of learning. As the trainees repond, a trainer records their list on newsprint.

10 minutes

3. When the trainees feel that the list is complete, the trainer tapes the sheets of newsprint along the front of the room. The facilitator asks the trainees to take ten minutes and write down how they plan to apply what they have learned this week to the rest of training.

15 minutes

4. At this point, the facilitator gives a brief lecture during which the following topics are discussed:

· The organizational structure of Peace Corps (in terms of the aquaculture programs) including the roles, relationships and interactions among Peace Corps/Washington, Peace Corps field staff, host government agencies and other development and/or private volunteer organizations involved in aquaculture programs;

· A more detailed description of the role of the Associate Peace Corps Directors (or field Project Manager), and his/her working relationship with the Volunteers;

· The role of the aquaculture Volunteers in the Peace Corps aquaculture extension programs overseas, including information about the programming strategies and how volunteers fit into the different stages of aquaculture development as fits the planned program design.

10 minutes

5. The facilitator asks the trainees what they feel are some of the important skills and characteristics that a volunteer must possess in order to be effective. Encourage the trainees to make links between these skills or characteristics and the job of the fisheries volunteer, and to explain how each point affects the volunteer's effectiveness.

10 minutes

6. The facilitator now asks the trainees to turn their thoughts, in light of what has been discussed to this point, to what the Peace Corps field staff will expect of them. Again, this is to be a verbal discussion among the trainees.

10 minutes

7. At this point, the facilitator refers to the assessment component of the program that was initially introduced during the Orientation session. He/she stresses that the main purpose of this component, as well as the dimensions that are used, are based on the needs of the overseas staff regarding the volunteers who enter the fisheries programs. The importance of honest self-assessment is again emphasized with reference to its relevance to the aquaculture programs. Trainees are encouraged to express their thoughts or questions about either self-assessment or staff assessment.

5 minutes

8. The staff's expectations of the trainees are explained. These include:

· Honest self-assessment;

· High level of commitment and effort;

· Very high quality work;

· Trainees take responsibility for their learning;

· Trainees take advantage of opportunities;

· Trainees are on time and prepared for all activities;

· Openness to giving and receiving feedback;

· Trainees take responsibility for their own health and well-being;

· Keep an open mind, take risks, suspend cynicism, do not fear failure;

· Participate actively;

· Sensitivity to the image of Peace Corps in local community;

· Take responsibility for maintaining facilities, equipment, etc.

5 minutes

9. In concluding the session, the facilitator points out that training can serve as a transition period for developing and enhancing the characteristics they listed and for trying out what for most will be a new role. The trainees are given an assignment to reflect upon what has been discussed and upon their own past experiences, and to set some personal goals for themselves for training. These are to be written down and turned in the following morning. Make it clear that the goal statements will be returned to them within a day or two and they may be referred to in future feedback sessions.

Resources and Materials:

· Newsprint;

· Markers;

· Flip chart stand;

· Masking tape.

Trainer Notes:

· This session can be facilitated by the Master Trainer, the Project Director, or Project Manager. It can also be co-facilitated by some combination of a regular training staff member and/or the Project Director, and a visiting official such as an Associate Peace Corps Director or the other Peace Corps staff;

· The timing of this session is important. It should be scheduled at the end of the first week. However, it is also important to consider what other activities the trainees are involved in. If trainees are in the midst of stocking their ponds, for example, it may be difficult to get them all together at a time when they will really be able to focus on the content of the session. If it is more likely to have the trainees' full concentration and attention a day earlier or the first morning of the second week, this should be considered.