Ten ways to fail when you use this material
Most guides of this kind tell you a specific number of ways to
succeed as a trainer. We want to take a contrary view of this task and tell you
ten ways you can fail when using these materials to train your elected
officials. Success will come to those who turn these contrary ideas on their
heads and do just the opposite of what has been suggested.
1. Don't bother to discuss the training with any
elected officials before they come to the first workshop. After all, you're the
training expert, and they are just your clients.
2. Plan to hold the training in places that are convenient for
you and the other trainers. Don't worry about the trainees. They all have big
3. The same goes for when you hold the training. Your clients
should be able to adjust their schedules if they are really interested in
4. Don't waste your time checking out the training facilities
before the workshop begins. Everyone knows it's the content of the training that
5. The UNCHS (Habitat) materials are so complete it doesn't make
any sense to review them prior to the workshop.
6. Stick to lectures as much as you can and don't bother to use
small group exercises. They waste a lot of time and take up too much space.
7. If you feel you must use the exercises, start with the first
one in the handbook and proceed with others in sequence until the time runs out,
or you run out of exercises.
8. Don't make any changes in the exercises. The authors
obviously knew what they were doing when they wrote them.
9. Always adhere to the amount of time the authors suggested for
each exercise. Even if a learning event is going well, stop it when it's time to
move to another topic or event.
10. Don't spend time on evaluations or follow up. The
councillors will get in touch with you if they have any questions or want more
Your first reaction to these 10 avenues to failure may be that
they are silly and have no place in a guide of this kind. Unfortunately, we have
witnessed too many trainers who seem to worship this kind of negative advice. No
doubt you have experienced these kinds of trainers also.
We suggest you take a moment or two and review these 10 ways to
fail in relation to your own training institution's way of doing things. If any
of the 10 reflect current practice or behaviour, maybe it's time to call a staff
meeting to talk about them. In any event, we hope none of the actions listed
above will seep into your efforts to train councillors.
There are other things we could say, generally, about how to use
the materials in the 11 councillor-role-specific handbooks (handbooks 2-12), or
how not to, but we suspect you have heard them before and are anxious to move
on. In the next few pages we will discuss the workshop exercises as contained in
the various handbooks and how you can use them more effectively in your efforts