|Non-formal Education Training Module (Peace Corps, 1991, 182 p.)|
Designing this NFE Module has been a challenge, as it had to suit just about everybody: Volunteers and their HCN counterparts working in almost any assignment in any of the vastly different cultures in which Peace Corps serves. As well, it had to suit both experienced and inexperienced trainers who might be working with either pre-service or in-service groups under a variety of time constraints. This task sometimes reminded us of the fable of the unfortunate princess who was doomed to sit locked up in a tower spinning straw into gold. Whether the resulting Module-after a year and a half of spinning-does in fact contain a glimmer of gold or whether it is just pretty good straw is up to you to decide. Here are some suggestions for getting the most out of it:
Connection with the Peace Corps NFE Manual
The Module has been designed to help Volunteers learn experientially the skills addressed in the Peace Corps NPE Manual (ICE #M0042), and especially focuses on facilitation skills, the most difficult to adequately transmit though the written word. The chapter(s) in the NFE Manual that are linked to each specific training session are mentioned on the first page of each Session under Peace Corpes NFE Manual Reference (See, for example, page 1).
For most of the training sessions, it will help participants' understanding if they read the appropriate chapters in the NFE Manual in advance. For your convenience, these chapters are mentioned at the end of each session and headed For Next lime (See, for example, page 13).
If you do not have enough NFE Manuals available at your NFE training site you can use the training Module without them. Wherever specific pages in the Manual are referred to and needed for an activity they are reproduced as handouts (See, for example, pages 57-62).
How to Adapt this Module to Your Needs
This NFE Module is meant to give you ideas for your training-not to lock you into any particular format. You are encouraged to throw out activities that don't appeal to you, to modify those that do to fit your particular group more closely, and to prolong or shorten sessions as needed (Suggestions for what to cut are presented at the end of each session, as Time Savers).
Before you make your modifications, however, it is important to understand that the Module as it stands is SKILLS-BASED, that is, it carefully builds participants' skills in facilitation of experiential NFE activities, especially in the first five sessions. Here is the logic behind the design:
Session 1 introduces participants to the idea of NFE through a series of NFE activities.
Session 2 explores adult learning in the U.S. and the host country context and introduces the experiential learning cycle.
Introduction: Nonformal Education Training Module / Page iii
Session 3 gives participants their first try at NFE group facilitation as they work on needs assessment techniques.
Session 4 allows participants to create and stage their own NFE activity (role plays) and write processing questions based on the experiential learning cycle.
Session 5 builds on the previous sessions by having participants create their own experiential learning activity (Problem Dramas or Critical Incidents), decide on their own questions for processing, carry out the processing with an audience and engage in critique of these activities.
Sessions 6 through 10 are more flexible; they can be moved around or changed somewhat more easily than the core activities in the first five sessions.
Session 6 gives participants a chance to make some useful NFE materials and practice using them by applying some of the experiential learning skills acquired in previous sessions.
Session 7 lets participants adapt an NFE game to the local cultural context, using their understanding of NFE from previous sessions, especially Sessions 1 and 2.
Session 8 helps participants learn how to set goals and objectives and plan activities WITH people, and practice using culturally appropriate planning techniques by applying them to a case study.
Session 9 introduces participants to evaluation purposes and techniques as applied to a case study. It also gives them a chance to design their own evaluation of the NFE workshop (or, in the case of an IST, to design evaluations of activities in their assignments).
Session 10 wraps up the workshop with a look at where participants have been and where they are going next. The group also has a chance to carry out the evaluation of the workshop that they designed in Session 9.
Planning the Timing of Your Workshop
The Module contains ten sessions, each designed to fit into about a three-hour time period. The Activity Sequence at the beginning of each session shows you exactly how much time each activity will take as well as the total time required for the session. You can do the whole ten sessions sequentially in a five-day period, or you can spread out the sessions over a longer period, if you like.
To add flexibility, at the end of most sessions you will find lime Savers: three suggested ways to adapt the session if your time is limited. There are no time savers suggested for Sessions 4 and 5, as these sessions form the core of the skill-building activities that Volunteers need to practice NFE in the field.
At the beginning of each session you will find first a list of Materials Needed, and then a Step - by - Step sequence of the things you will need to do to get ready for the session. You will notice that in addition to the usual preparation (making of flip charts, assembling materials, photocopying handouts, etc.) some sessions will require significant advance preparation on your part. In Session 2, for example, you will need to work with HCN language instructors, cultural coordinators, etc. to help them prepare short role plays demonstrating how teaching and learning traditionally take place in the host culture. In preparation for Session 3, you will need to visit a local development organization that uses a participatory approach, find out what kinds of needs assessment techniques they use and collect one of them for participants' use in the workshop.
All of these preparatory activities are explained thoroughly in the text. The important thing is to build in enough time to carry them out. Taking the time and care to do this extra preparation will make the NFE Module directly relevant to your cultural context.
While the Module focuses on pre-service training, it contains extensive recommendations for adapting the content to the needs of in-service groups. Activities designed especially for IST groups are written in a different, bold typeface and are headed FOR IST (See, for example, page 7). If an activity can be used for either a PST or an IST it is headed FOR PST/IST (See, for example, page 6). In other words, for Activity 2, pages 6 and 7, you have a choice for your IST group; you can do either the Proverbs activity on page 6 or the Map Exercise on page 7. A PST group should only do the Proverbs activity since the Map Exercise would not be relevant.
To give you ideas for different ways to use the activities, OPTIONS are sometimes presented. They are boxed and starred so that you can see them at a glance. OPTIONS usually consist of suggestions for how to set up or process an activity (See, for example, page 6). Occasionally, an OPTION is a suggestion for doing a completely different activity or adding an extra session (See, for example, the second Option on page 52).
NOTES to the trainer are included at various points within the activities (See, for example, page 28). NOTES emphasize important points, add additional explanations about training techniques, cultural content, etc.
Warm-ups and Evaluations
In order to give participants as much facilitation practice as possible, you can encourage them to take on responsibility for carrying out warm-ups and evaluations. After Session 2 (See For Next Time page 36), it is suggested that you pass around a sign-up sheet for each of the remaining sessions.
While each session begins with a warm-up linked to the session's content, participants may want to choose another one instead from Appendix I. Or, they can do something simple instead: lead a song, tell a culturally relevant joke or story, or lead a few energizing exercises. Suggested evaluations are found in Appendix II.
For your convenience, all handouts needed for the activities in a given session can be found at the end of that session. Each is labeled HANDOUT, and references the specific activity it is used with (See, for example, pages 15-24). You can reproduce the handouts by removing them from the binding, photocopying them, and replacing them in the Module for the next trainer to use.
Icons have been added to the text to help you see important planning or facilitation points at a glance:
Peace Corps NFE Manual Reference
Reference identifies sections of the NFE Manual with information relevant to the skills and processes covered in this particular session.
Step - by - Step
Step - by - Step signals the beginning of the directions you need to explain and carry out an activity (See, for example, page 5).
Keep Time shows you where to keep an eye on your watch while participants are working in small groups (See, for example, page 6).
NOTE provides training hints and cultural considerations. You may find these notes helpful in planning the session (See, for example, page 7).
OPTION gives you ideas for modifying activities to suit your particular group or your training style (See, for example, the first OPTION on page 48).
For Next Time
For Next Time suggests what participants need to do before the next session. It contains Peace Corps NFE Manual references, special sign-ups and other advance planning activities they may want to get involved in, and occasionally, suggestions to read supplemental handouts on their own time (See, for example, page 13).
At the end of each session are several references to a selected list of other books and training manuals found in Appendix m. You might want to have these and any other NFE materials in your In-Country Reference Center available in the training room for participants to browse through during breaks.
Involving Host Country Nationals in the Workshop
It is highly recommended that you involve HCNs in the training wherever possible to add cultural relevance and to provide opportunities for Volunteers to share their ideas and opinions. For an IST, you may be able to involve the HCN counterparts of your Volunteer participants; for both IST and PST groups you may want to involve language instructors, cultural coordinators, administrative staff, cooks, drivers, and so on. Be sure to brief HCN participants beforehand about what is required of them. If the HCNs are trainers themselves, you may wish to discuss the place of the activity in the experiential learning cycle.
Activities for which HCNs are indispensable are clearly marked (See, for example, page 114, Trainer Preparation, 4). You may find other ways to involve interested HCNs, either as workshop participants, as observers (as an audience for a flannelboard demonstration, for example), or as cultural consultants.
· Encourage Controversy-NFE can be an emotional topic, as it hits participants right in their values, their convictions, their long-held assumptions about the way people should be with each other and how international development should proceed. Because NFE is by nature controversial, let participants know they don't have to agree-either with each other, with the training design, or with you. As adults, they are free to come to their own conclusions, learn what they want to learn, and reject (sometimes only temporarily) what doesn't make sense to them.
At the same time, try to keep the group on track by letting them know when it is time to move on. If an enthusiastic discussion begins to divert the group from what they need to accomplish, let them know that you will be happy to continue talking with them informally after the session is over.
· Be Aware of Cultural Sensivity - Avoid setting up unnecessary barriers between American and HCN participants by talking about U.S. culture as "our way" or how things are done "back home. Give each culture equal weight in the process.
· Encourage Participants to take the Training Seriously -Trainers are sometimes bothered by participants who don't pay attention: the one at the back of the room writing letters, the one who diverts the small group discussions with jokes or irrelevant gossip.
Try enlisting their special talents to help you facilitate a session or a small group activity. Ask their opinion in large group discussions. Talk to them after class about how the training might be modified a little to meet their needs. Get them to take the training seriously by taking them seriously.
· Integrate the Big Talkers; Encourage the Silent Ones - Often a group will have one or two highly vocal participants who tend to dominate the discussion as well as a few who seem interested but keep their ideas to themselves. You can balance the group a little better by trying some of the following:
Change the make-up of the small groups often. This way, quieter people will eventually meet up with other quiet types and be able to speak up, while the talkers will meet and be challenged by talkers like themselves. You can form small groups in different ways: by counting off around the room by fours (if you want four small groups), by asking people to form groups with people they don't know well, by letting people choose their groups, etc.
In a large group discussion, after asking for ideas on some topic, ask participants to jot down one or two ideas before anyone speaks, then call on volunteers to tell what they have written, or go around the room and ask for each person to read their ideas one by one.
· Talk to the vocal participants after the session and enlist their help in encouraging others to speak up. They may not realize they are dominating the discussion. Don't force the quiet ones to talk by calling on them. People have different learning styles. Some prefer to listen and reflect quietly rather than saying publicly what first comes to mind.
Look for body language. People who are ready with ideas often sit forward, or meet your eyes, or shift in their seat while another participant is speaking. Ask them if they have something to add.
· Refer to group norms that you have posted in the training room. If the group has decided, for example, to "respect everyone's ideas," you might remind them that "respect" means allowing silent voices to be heard.
· Break Off Lengthy Discussions Kindly - Interesting discussions must sometimes be cut short in order to respect time constraints or cover other important topics. If several people have indicated they still have something to say either by waving their hands or by starting to speak, you might say something like "OK, first Linda, then N'Fila, then Mark, and then we'll have to stop because we're running out of time." This is both kinder and more effective than just trying to shut the discussion down at a particular point ("OK we've got to move on now").
· When the Whole Group is Silent - When people feel hesitant about speaking up, or when it is hot or people are tired, you may have difficulty getting discussion started. If you ask a question and no one answers it, wait - and count to five very slowly to yourself without betraying any anxiety or irritation. If no one answers, smile and reprise the question. Wait again. People may need time to think. If discussion continues to be slow, try using BUZZ GROUPS (participants discuss the question with their neighbor for 5 minutes). Then go around the room, asking several pairs what they came up with; the whole group will be surprised at the number of good ideas that emerge.
See the Peace Corps Nonformal Education Manual pp. 70-71 and Chapter 7 for more group facilitation hints.