|Emergency Management (United Nations Children's Fund, 390 p.)|
|Note to the Trainer|
5.1 Keeping objectives clearly in view: Every good training must be clearly specified of objectives to be achieved in a limited time period. It is important to keep the objectives in mind (and in the participants' minds) as there is limited time for digression. Participants expectations must be added in the objectives. Any "unable to do" expectations must also be indicated from the beginning. Considerable tact and diplomacy may be required to keep participants on the right track.
5.2 Climate setting: Climate setting begins when the participants walk into the course. Initial impressions are of tremendous importance - you can switch people on or off very rapidly. Use selected tactics, both verbal and non-verbal, to establish a warm, supportive learning atmosphere. The facilities provided, the seating arrangements, the course leader's appearance and manner are all crucial to the sort of climate created. "Ice breakers" should be used in the initial stages of the course -time invested pays off well. Sensitivity to the course climate is required as the course progresses, and the facilitator should be prepared to warm things up if necessary.
5.3 Stage setting: Although the training activities are carefully designed as learning experiences, adults tend to be conservative and resent new experiences. Setting the stage for an activity in a manner which makes that activity appear relevant, worthwhile and even enjoyable requires careful preplanning.
5.4 Synthesizing background experience of participants with course activities: Ensure that some information is available about the professional background of course participants prior to the course. This can be supplemented where necessary during warm-up activities, e.g. participants can be asked to briefly describe who they are and why they have come. Invite sharing of experiences relevant to aspects of problems being discussed and encourage participants to regard each other as valuable learning resources. If this is done skill fully the learning experience will become much more closely related to the "real" world.
5.5 Consolidation: Following each phase of activity or at the end of each day during a training course it is essential that the course leader draws all of the threads of the learning experience together to form a firm basis from which learning can move forward. It is important to make clear to participants what has been gained from a particular activity, and to emphasize how these outcomes relate to the overall achievement of course objectives.
Many of the activities demand a concerted effort from participants, and this can only be sustained by generating a feeling that the outcomes of each experience represent a worthwhile gain in learning.
Without frequent and skillful consolidation the succession of different activities and changes of pace can leave participants feeling bewildered.
5.6 Sensitivity to individual needs: In a training course people from a wide variety of backgrounds come together for a relatively short period of time, therefore facilitators need to be extra sensitive to the needs of individuals.
5.7 Feedback: A good training design should be based on behavioural theory: input, process, output cycles. The effectiveness of this as a learning process depends on the feedback available to learners on the quality of each output in relation to the objectives of the course. Feedback is required from the earliest activities of the course so that the subsequent behaviour of the learners can be progressively modified in the light of feedback obtained. The course leader must be able to assess when feedback is required and what form it should take - sometimes the reinforcement provided by an encouraging smile is adequate. On other occasions participants may need a detailed list of criteria to use as a basis for evaluation of the "output". As well as providing feedback to course participants, the course leader must look for and accept criticism from course participants on all aspects of the course and the manner in which it is presented. In this way both teaching and learning can be improved.