|Trainer's Handbook - A 14 Days Teaching Methodology Course|
|PART I. TRAINERS CHECKLIST|
In order for this Teaching Methodology training to become productive and fruitful, a trainer needs to go through thorough preparations.
Prior to the training, the following has to be clarified:
Organisers and trainers need to be sure of the course objectives. Objectives should capture the key ideas, skills and values to be transmitted (or acquired by the participants). For example:
· At the end of this course, participants should be able to understand, identify different questioning techniques and apply them in a practical teaching situation.
The ideas or knowledge being focused upon in these objectives is UNDERSTANDING what questioning is all about. The skill level is DIFFERENTIATING questioning techniques. Lastly value (application level) is IMPLEMENTING or demonstrating such knowledge and skills through actual use in the teaching situation.
2. NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
For this teaching methodology course it is recommended to have a maximum of 20 participants.
3. TRAINING VENUE
Organisers of this course should visit the proposed venue before training takes place to assess if it is appropriate for this particular training course. The trainer should identify potential sources of distraction in the room, both for himself/herself or the trainees. One should never teach in front of a window, poster or other wall decorations, course participants attention will be diverted away from the trainer. Make sure that all participants will be able to see the blackboard, flip chart or other instructional aids. Also check that all participants will be able to hear the trainer from the different angles of the room, specially those sitting at the back. In case you are going to use an overhead projector or slides check whether there is electricity. Besides these, check and confirm whether or not there may be other physical or lighting distractions within the vicinity of the room.
4. SEATING ARRANGEMENTS
Seating arrangements are going to have a great influence on the training sessions. There are different types of seating arrangements:
1. Row of tables
2. Hollow U-shape
4. Conference table
5. Circle of chairs
6. Table trios
7. Semi circle
1. ROWS OF TABLES AND/OR CHAIRS
- Can fit more people into a room.
- Everyone faces the front.
- Participants cannot make eye contact with each other.
- Difficult for trainer to make eye contact with those at the back.
- Trainer cannot walk easily amongst participants.
- Impossible to break into groups without major reorganisation of chairs and tables.
- People tend to sit at the back first, distancing themselves from the trainer.
- It is like classrooms at school, too formal.
2. HOLLOW U
- Trainer can walk amongst participants.
- Trainer has eye contact with all participants.
- Participants along each arm of U do not have eye contact with each other.
- Fewer people can fit into the room.
- Impossible to break into buzz groups without reorganising chairs and tables.
3. FISH-BONE OR BANQUET STYLE
- Participants arranged in groups.
- Arrangements is easy to use if mixing lectures with buzz sessions and group work.
- Trainer can walk easily amongst groups
- Fewer people can fit in the room.
- Participants cannot make full eye contact with all other trainees.
- If tables are too long and thin, participants at the ends are likely to be left out of the conversation.
4. CONFERENCE TABLE
- Large proportion of participants have eye contact with each other
- Large table useful for plenary group discussions
- Cannot break into small groups easily.
- Cannot fit many participants around table.
- During general discussions, several sub-discussions may form and disrupt proceedings.
5. CIRCLE OR SEMI-CIRCLE OF CHAIRS
- People can relax and interact well.
- Participants able to adopt open poses.
- No natural top position for trainer, so very egalitarian.
- Easy to move into various exercises and games.
- Stops people sticking to a specific desk or chair.
- No flat work surface.
- No tables on which to rest books or materials.
- No physical barriers, so more openness needed.
- Intimidates shy people.
- In large groups, participants sit far from those opposite them.
6. TABLE TRIOS
- As with banquet style.
- With tables pointed towards the front, the trios are all close together, so better than banquet for group work.
- Needs many tables, more banquet style, if the total group is large
- Tables take up much space.
Source: Participatory Learning and Action, Pretty, Jules et al.
Each one of those seating arrangements have advantages and disadvantages. Above all, the bottom-line is that participants need to see each other i.e. whom they are speaking to. Care has to be taken to avoid situations where participants sit behind one another.
Once participants have arrived at the training venue and are set for the course, the trainer should introduce the participants to this course. The following are some samples of different types of introductions:
5. CREATIVE INTRODUCTIONS enable participants to know each other but in a less formal and more relaxed and less threatening manner. Ideally, participants themselves may be asked in the plenary what details they may want to know about their colleagues. This helps the trainer to decide on a creative format which can then be used. Examples are as follows:-
· SOCIOGRAM. Allowing those who know each other very well to introduce their friends.
· THE RIVER OF LIFE. Here individuals can introduce themselves through focusing on the lows and highs in their lives.
· PAIRED INTRODUCTIONS. In groups of 2s and 3s individuals who remotely know each other get together and exchange information about themselves on each others Dos and Donts. Then they get back together in the plenary and introduce each other.
Generally, creative introductions, if well handled, help to de-freeze the group of participants quickly so that they can participate more actively in the training process.(See activity No. 1)
6. EXPERIENCE SHARING involves exchanging views on practical achievements and challenges that individuals have gone through in the course of their work. This helps both participants and the trainer to determine suitable entry points. After taking stock of their experiences, it would be possible to determine how new knowledge, skills and attitudes will fit into what is already there. For example, if participants are to be trained in content which is totally new to them, it might be important to find out what else they have done in previous training, at school, or in the course of their work which can provide a meaningful entry point so that the new knowledge doesnt appear too abstract.
7. PARTICIPANTS EXPECTATIONS
Participants expectations, as well as other concerns are extremely important to understand and address at the very start of the course. Expectations underline individual goals and the psychology each brings to a training environment. Often such individual goals are not always in harmony with course aims and objectives.
It is therefore the duty of the trainer to allow participants, first, to express their personal expectations. Thereafter, these personal expectations need to be harmonised with course objectives. One way of doing this is by the trainer explaining which of the stated (expressed) personal expectations wont be met by the training, and which ones stand a chance of being met (or achieved). If this is not carefully done or is overlooked, some individual participants can experience frustration.
8. TIMING OF COURSE
This is a 14 day teaching methodology course. After looking at course objectives, experience sharing and expectations, it is often advisable for the trainer to unveil a proposed block time-table of content. This helps participants to take stock and react to it. Thereafter any desirable adjustments can be agreed upon by consensus and included.
9. TIMING OF SESSIONS
It is important that the trainer times his/her sessions wisely as participants lose their concentration after about 20 minutes. Therefore it is very important that he/she involves participants in the training activity. Monotony can be broken through a break, exercises, jokes, or audio-visual material. Besides group work helps a lot in drawing upon the resourcefulness of participants themselves while engaging their participation to the full. During the morning hours participants are usually more alert than in the afternoon hours. Mornings would be more ideal for new inputs. After lunch participants are usually tired. The trainer will have to make training sessions more lively. Avoid lecturing after lunch. At most, it is advisable that more practical exercises and group work be scheduled in the afternoon hours.