|Emergency Management (United Nations Children's Fund, 390 p.)|
|Note to the Trainer|
6.1 Giving clear directions: The ideal of good training is the training must emphasize learning by doing. The ability of the course presenter to give clear directions for each phase of the activity is crucial to the success of the course. If participants are unsure of what they are supposed to be doing and why, they quickly become frustrated or hostile or both. Although written directions are given for each activity these are intended to reinforce the clear verbal directions given by the course leader - statements about "what", "why", and "how long for" should be made in regard to each activity.
6.2 Group facilitating: The emphasis on group work in a training course involves a shift from the "management from the front" approach to teaching, to highly structured activities which are largely group directed. Helping groups move steadily towards the set objectives is a vital skill required of course leaders. Facilitation does not necessarily involve intervention in the group's activity - often the most helpful thing is to withdraw for a while. In order to be an effective facilitator the course leader must be able to establish the right sort of relationship with the group - his/her presence should be readily accepted without causing disruption to the group activity. The course leader must be regarded as an able listener as well as talker. Unless a group is getting off the track, or intervention is invited for a specific purpose, the course leader should play a low key role. However, if firm guidance is required be authoritative never authoritarian.
6.3 Keep it brief: The presenter should respond to signs of boredom or agitation, and be prepared for comment or questions.
6.4 Questioning: This skill has many uses, from providing reassurance that directions are understood, to probing for understanding of complex concepts. Questions should be used frequently to monitor the presenter's success as a teacher, and the success of participants as learners. Clear formulation and direction of questions is essential. Establish at the outset that facilitators are always ready to answer questions. Be honest, if you don't know the answer call upon the resources of the group to help you out.
6.5 Pacing: Prior to the commencement of the course the presenter should check how much time to allow for each activity, and what degree of flexibility is possible. Pacing should be as unobtrusive as possible - participants can be encouraged to help with pacing if expectations are made clear at each phase of the activity.
6.6 Intervention: Considerable tact and experience is required if intervention in learning is not to become interference. During small group work occasional intervention may be required to provide general orientation, clarification or information. The course presenter must be a good listener and watch for non-verbal signals from participants that all is not proceeding smoothly. Occasionally groups are dominated in a non-productive way by one or two members. Verbal intervention on the part of the course leaders may resolve the problem, if not, the group may have to be broken up and integrated with other groups.
6.7 Closure: Requires a clear understanding of what the intended outcomes of each phase of the activities are. When these outcomes have been attained, that phase of the experience should be brought to an end, perhaps by making the outcomes overt and relating these back to the course objectives. Be prepared to pick up loose ends and be patient if participants feel they have not finished exploring a particular issue.
6.8 Summarizing: A great deal may happen in a short time in small group situations. Often time does not allow extensive reporting back by each group, therefore, it is up to the course leader to note the essential happenings and ensure that these are included in the final summary of events. Where activities are proceeding at a fairly fast pace frequent summaries which are both coherent and concise can facilitate learning.