| Working as counterparts - A Peace Corps In-service training manual |
Trainer reference for Bureaucratic Effectiveness and Working with Counterparts
Jan Elster and Dick Vittitow
She Trainer Reference is designed to help you, as trainer, become familiar with the manual. It also offers you guidelines on how to prepare yourself for your role. This section should be read thoroughly before reviewing the modules or attempting to run any of the sessions.
The sections of the Trainer Reference are as follows:
Part I Introduction
Part II Methodology
Part III Structure
Part IV Responsibilities of the Trainer
Part V Suggestions for the Trainer
Part VI Training Techniques
Part VII Assessment
Part VIII Glossary of Training Terms
Supplement 1 Readings
Supplement 1A Experiential Learning
Supplement 1B From Freedom to Learn
Supplement 1C The Effective Trainer
Supplement 1D Discussion Group Leadership
Supplement 1E What to Observe in a Group
This manual has been developed especially for Peace Corp. trainers overseas. One advantage for the less experienced trainer is that its design offers step by step procedures on how to run each session contained in the manual. Therefore, it can be used by individuals with limited training experience as well as adapted for use by more experienced trainer.. In either case, if you choose to use it with your trainees or volunteers, you need to familiarize yourself with the structure, style and content of the sessions. This section will help you in familiarizing yourself with how to manage and conduct the sessions.
The lesson plans in the manual do not use traditional classroom techniques. Based on the theory that adults learn most effectively by "doing. rather than "seeing" or "hearing., the approach is experiential and participatory. You will be more of a facilitator of exercises, discussions and events than a traditional lecturer or teacher imparting information. Much of the information, conclusions and strategies that the participants take with them after the sessions will help them draw conclusions and plan strategies. The basis for your work will be the many structured exercises contained in the manual. There is a good deal of group work, exercise. and discussions and a minimum of lecture. Non-formal education techniques are applied so that you can use the manual with individuals of varying levels of knowledge and experience.
The two sections of modules contained in the manual represent a workshop that takes approximately 12 1/2 hour e to complete. There are a number of ways you can present the training, and it is up to you, the trainer, to choose the most appropriate for your group. For example:
1. One approach is to present both modules consecutively as one workshop during a 2-3 day 1ST retreat or workshop. For instance, start on a Friday evening, working for 3 hours, continue for 4-5 hours on Saturday and d-5 hour c on Sunday.
2. The sections are called modules because they are modular and can be used separately. Therefore, a second approach is to split them and do one during one In-service training (IS-) workshop or retreat and the other at a later date.
The modules are sequenced as follows:
I Bureaucratic Effectiveness - 3 sessions
II Working with Counterparts - 3 sessions
Each module follows the same format. The first page summarizes the contents of the module and time necessary to complete it. Each of the sessions contained within each module is structured with these components:
• Rationale for Training Session - Gives the reasons for why the session was developed and any background information that might help you to explain why you are spending time on the topic.
• Total Time - Indicates the total amount of time, including breaks, the session will take to complete.
• Goals - Outlines the 3-5 purposes of the module. Also serves as a basis for you to make newsprint on goals to use at the beginning of each session so the participants will clearly understand what they will learn and what is expected of them.
• Trainer Preparation for Session - Tells you what you personally need to do to get ready to lead the session.
• Materials Needed - Lists all of the resources you will need to run the session. Materials such AS newsprint and markers will be indicated first. There will also be a fiat of handouts for participants to take with them to learn more about a certain subject.
• Prepared Newsprint - Tells you how many newsprints to prepare, and which steps within the lesson plan calls for newsprint.
• Procedures - The procedures in each lesson plan are explicit and detailed so as to literally walk you through the steps of making the lesson happen. There is a two inch column on the side of the page next to the instructions which allows you to take notes and/or summarize each step in your words. This is crucial to you being able to lead the session comfortably when the time comes.
• Notes to Trainer - Will list any special things you should do to make the session work well. Notes to trainer are found within the body of the lesson plan.
• Symbols - Three different symbols are used at specific points in each session.
+ - reminds you that (1) the step being taken is an appropriate time to use various host country resources for background information and/or (2) it would be appropriate to integrate the concepts into language and cultural session.
** - indicates that you can look for an explanation of the concept in the trainer reference.
* - tell you that the word is defined in the glossary at the back of the Trainer Reference.
IV. RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE TRAINER
You, as workshop leader or trainer, have four basic responsibilities:
1. Become familiar with the content and methodology of the manual.
2. Train yourself on how to use it as is, and/or adapt sessions to meet you and your volunteer's special needs.
3. Incorporate ideas and opinions of host country nationals.
4. Prepare other trainers and co-facilitators on how to use the manual.
5. Run the sessions.
Responsibility 1: Become familiar with the content and approach or the manual.
The easiest step to help you obtain an overview of the entire manual is to read the first page of each module which summarizes its content. It is also important that well before you present each module, you become thoroughly familiar with the exercises and handouts so that you have achieved mastery of the contents and process. You are given a possible script to use which appears in italics. You need to adapt the script to your own words so that your presentation is comfortable for you. Use the margins that have been provided for you to do this.
The knowledge that you have of adult learning theory, group development and leadership techniques can enhance both your comfort level in being the trainer as well as your ability to lead the sessions. You do not have to he an expert to lead the sessions as they are explained in the manual. However, your interest in and knowledge of innovative, experiential and nontraditional (opposite from classroom approaches) will help you utilize the manual more comfortably. Since you will be the primary trainer or leader, a self-instructional learning packet is provided here for your use. It contains readings on learning theory and group development and are attached in this section as Supplement 1. Read them before you delve into the modules themselves. If additional trainers will be running any of the other modules, ask them to also read the articles so that you have come common grounds in your knowledge of the theory on which the manual is designed. Keep in mind that these readings represent only a very basic overview of the topics they represent and are not meant to make you an "expert". Seek further resources if a certain subject interests you or you need more background. The articles are as follows:
1A "Experiential Learning"
1B "From Freedom to Learn"
1C "The Effective Trainer"
1D "Discussion Group Leadership"
1E "What to Observe in a Group"
Responsibility 2A: Train yourself on how to use the manual.
If you are new to the field of training or have limited experience, become familiar with the style in which the manual is written. Review how the instructions appear and the format that is consistently used for each module and session. The manual is designed to work for you and to help you work with ease. Remember that as you read the lesson plan in each module, look at the Notes to Trainer which appear throughout that remind you of special steps that need to be taken.
Keep in mind that the training sequence within each module is designed:
1. To provide participants basic information or an introduction.
2. To allow them to work through an activity (be it individual or group) to reinforce basic information or experience; and
3. To provide a processing phase. The processing phase is to help them reflect on what they hay. learned, to generalize the learnings, and to discuss how they can apply these learnings to their work situations and community. (See Training Techniques for more on processing.)
It is important to remember that each of these phases is important. In fact, the lesson will not have its intended impact unless all the phases are implemented. Do not try to cut corners by cutting out a phase. It will affect the attainment of the intended objectives.
Responsibility 2B: Adapt the sessions to fit both you and your participant's needs.
If you already have extensive training background, you may find that the step-by-step style in which the sessions are explained is oversimplified for your needs. In this case, consider scanning the sessions for basic concepts and/or exercises and adapting them to your needs. (You can also use the Trainer Reference and/or detailed lesson plans to train other less experienced staff).
Responsibility 3: Incorporate ideas and opinions of Most Country Nationals
The manual has been designed to be easily used by trainers in any country. It provides the framework for conducting sessions about bureaucracies and relations with host country counterparts. The key to the sessions being culturally specific and appropriate, however, is your ability to present the information so that it reflects the host country. There are many opportunities to do this throughout the sessions and your responsibility is to incorporate this country specific information, opinions, trends, cultural aspects.
Some of the most effective means of doing this are for you to:
• Review the sessions with host country individuals and "interview" them regarding topics. One example is Module I session 1 which calls for an overview of the changing trends in bureaucracies in the Host Country. The ideas of more than one host country national are important since everyone brings varied information and perspectives. You can present a collective overview during the session since you may be the only trainer there.
• Invite host country nationals to the session and use them as a resource to answer questions and/or give opinions. Use language teachers, technical and cultural coordinators, office staff or individuals from the community.
• Ask language and culture teachers to integrate the topics covered in your sessions into their language classes. For example, if you are covering topics such as characteristics of the bureaucracy, see that language and culture teachers talk about the history of bureaucracies in the host country or the cultural norms of a bureaucracy in the host country in their classes.
However you decide to incorporate the ideas and information of varied host country individuals, remember that doing this is the key to the appropriateness of these materials. They can be used anywhere Peace Corps Volunteers are being trained. How effective they are in terms of country specific information depends on how much you utilize the resources around you to make country specific entries. Throughout the sessions the symbol + will be used to remind you that you are at a point where it would be possible and beneficial to use host country persons as resources or for them to make sure the issues are included in language and/or cultural sessions.
Responsibility 4: Train other trainers and co- facilitators on now to use the manual.
The majority of exercises can be run by one person in front of the group. However, in order to monitor small group work and so that you have others to help you with materials, handouts, and intricate, culturally specific topics or topics that merit various points of view, it is a good idea to have at least one or two backup people, or you may want to share the lead trainer responsibility with another trainer. However, if you decide to do this:
1) Make sure that you are on the same "wave length" with both your co-trainer and your backup people. That means that you are a "team. and understand the goals and how you will reach them.
2) Ensure that all staff members understand their responsibilities whether they be to lead sessions, to monitor groups, to prepare handouts or to act as resource.. It is up to you to determine these roles and to clearly communicate them to the individuals involved.
In your responsibility of determining who will be doing the up-front training and who will be backups, you must also build a team among yourselves and prepare the team members to perform their responsibilities. One way to do this is to hold a meeting before conducting the sessions with all of the staff that will be assisting you. Make sure to cover the following areas:
- Time for staff to become acquainted (if necessary)
- Overall goals of the session(s)
- How the session will be run
- Agendas (schedule for session (s)
- Roles (include one for everyone)
- Answer any questions, clarify any concepts.
Another way to help staff work effectively as a team is to hold a brief staff meeting at the end of each training day. Discuss the following topics:
- Feedback for trainer and co-trainer (what he/she did well, poorly);
- Achievement/non-achievement of workshop goals;
- Problems, special issues;
- Review (walk through) of how the next day's (week's) session will be run and who does what.
Responsibility 4: Run the sessions.
If you have done your homework so far, the fulfillment of this responsibility should be second nature to you! However, the next section, "Suggestions for the Trainer" will provide you with information that may help even more in running effective sessions.
V. SUGGESTIONS FOR TRAINER
In preparation for each session:
1. Remember that group needs always vary. Research your audience to make sure the materials in the manual are appropriate to use with them. In some cases, the materials will need to be modified because of varying levels of expertise, sophistication, background and experience of a given group. Be cautious in examining the materials throughout. Think how each exercise will be viewed and/or accepted given the group. It is up to you to modify materials as necessary to meet the needs of the group. These materials are especially designed for In-Service Training and to be used with Volunteers who have at least 3 months experience in the field if not more. You will need to adapt them considerably for use in Pre-Service Training.
2. Become familiar enough with each session so that you understand the exercise. and contents well enough to run it with ease. If you do not feel comfortable with a certain exercise, alter it so that it suits you, yet still meets the objectives.
3. Prepare an outline, or notes in the margin to help you remember important points.
4. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment, prepared flip charts and other materials.
5. Complete the following tasks before the participants arrive:
a) Set up the seating arrangement in the fashion that best suits the group and number of participants. Avoid using desks and tables. They can get in the way of group movement and interaction. Keep them on the sides of the room in case participants want to use them for writing when they are working on individual or small group tasks.
b) Put the newsprint stands or chalkboard in a place where everyone can see them and where you can use them to write comfortably.
c) Hang your prepared newsprint on the stand, covered by sheets of blank paper, or hang the newsprint on the walls folded with the bottom half covering the top so that they will be readily available when you need them.
d) Place the exercise sheets and handouts you will be using in order on a shelf or table so you can reach them easily when you want to distribute them.
During each session:
1. To establish a tone of comfort, start each session with some sort of climate building opening, be it a statement of yours, an anecdote, an 'icebreaker' exercise or a review of the previous session.
2. Acknowledge everyone's experience and try to encourage participation. Quiet participants might be drawn out with questions like: "What has your experience been?", or "How do you feel about it?"
3. Remember your role as a facilitator. Allow individuals time to make their points. Your role is to encourage their learning, not to dominate discussions.
4. Try to maintain the schedule and time frames as much as possible. Keep control of what is happening and be firm, yet not abrupt, if you need to bring people back onto the subject.
5. Make sure your co-trainers or host country resource people understand their roles and what you expect of them so they can respond as needs arise.
VI. TRAINING TECHNIQUES
The following paragraphs describe some of the training techniques required in the sessions. Read them as an introduction and refer to them later as you study how to run the respective exercises.
1. STRUCTURED EXPERIENCE. Almost all of the activities in the manual are structured exercises. A structured exercise is en experiential learning activity that is designed to achieve a certain purpose. Based on the theory that individuals learn most effectively by "doing", structured exercises are designed to allow the learner to participate in an activity. You, as trainer, may help facilitate the learning, but the participant discovers the learning for him/herself. This method is based on the premise that guided experience (the structured exercise you will facilitate) is the best teacher. After a structured exercise, you, as trainer, must allow enough time to help the participants in the 'processing' stage. This is where you help them discover what they have learned so that they are sure to share, integrate learning and apply what they have learned to their daily lives.
2. PROCESSING is the technique you will use to help participants make generalizations,* discuss what they have learned, and verbally state how the [earnings can be used in their respective work, community or home situations. The learning in each session is designed to take place in the following sequence:
1. Introduction or information i. provided
2. Participatory activity (structured exercise) takes place
3. Processing is done
It is important that the processing stage never be deleted. Every exercise provides you with basic processing questions you can use. Your role is to ask questions, carefully listen to the responses, and help people come to conclusions about what they have learned.
Besides using the questions with which you are provided data for processing, you can also ask participants:
- What they have learned?
- What they discovered?
- What they noticed?
- What they realized?
- How they can use this information/knowledge in their work place or community.
When responding to such questions, ask participants to respond with "I learned", "I discovered., etc. The key in processing is to ask open-ended questions that make people think about their responses instead of a simple 'yes' or 'no'.
3. LECTURETTE. A lecturette is a brief, carefully prepared oral presentation of information which you offer for the purpose of having others understand the information or to motivate or influence the attitudes of the listeners. Sometimes your opening statement which explains what the group will be doing during the session or the explanation of the topic is done in lecturette form.
4. GROUP DISCUSSION. Group discussions are conversations and deliberation about a topic among 2 or more participants under the guidance of a trainer. It is a time for the individual participant to share his/her ideas and experiences with others.
Because two of the purposes of the manual are to help participants share information and give them the opportunity to jointly design strategies, you will see it used often as a technique. It is useful for involving the entire group, to pool the abilities, knowledge and experience of all to reach a common understanding, conclusions or strategy.
When you are leading a large group discussion with all the participants, it is your responsibility to keep it going, to ask the questions and to keep participants on track. Each' time an exercise necessitates processing with the entire group, you are given questions to use. You should try to establish and maintain an atmosphere where participants feel they can comfortably disagree, to try out new ideas, to discuss their own experiences and to propose conclusions, solutions and strategies.
There are many cases of small group discussions where groups of only 4-7 work on a task. In this case, your responsibility is to make the instructions clear and let the groups work on their own.
A natural leader will usually emerge in each group. However, you and other co-trainers can "float" from group to group to make sure the assignment is being done correctly. At the end of the small group discussion, the conclusion or ideas from each group are usually reported to the large group.
5. ROLE PLAYING. Role playing is a training technique where, without a script, participants act out a situation in front of the rest of the group. In order to decide what they will say and do in the role play, participants are given a situation described in detail and assigned a role to play. Role players and observers are aware of the general situation, but individual role players may be the only ones aware of the intricacies of their respective role. The intricacies are either told to the role players individually, or written on a slip of paper for each role player. After the role play is completed, it is discussed by the entire group.
Role playing can be used to examine delicate problems, to explore solutions and to provide insights into attitudes differing from those of participants.
Sometimes participants are too self-conscious to role play. Others tend to 'overact'. Allow people to volunteer for roles, never assign or appoint them to roles. In briefing the role players, tell them to try to stay as close to the role and to act it out as realistically as possible.
When people have finished role playing, it is important to de-role them and to tell them they are no longer in role before discussing the role play. "De-roleing" can be done by asking the players to move out of their seats or situations, and if they had a role name to take it off. Tell them clearly the role play is over and they are to go back to being themselves.
6. BRAINSTORMING. Brainstorming is when you, as trainer, ask the group to generate ideas, words or phrases about a given topic. Spontaneous thinking is encouraged, and as the participants offer their ideas rapidly and spontaneously, you will often write them on a flip chart. No idea is dismissed or criticized, for the purpose is to obtain as many ideas as possible and to stimulate thinking and participation.
7. PARAPHRASING. Paraphrasing is restating in your own words or behavior what another person's statement means to you and for them to agree that's what they meant. This helps that person clarify what a/he said and indicates your understanding of what s/he said.
Too often people add to what others say without being really clear that they understand what a person means.
An example of paraphrasing:
Participant: "I find this training is terrible!"
Trainer: "Oh, you really don't like these activities."
Participant: "No, I like these activities, just find it uncomfortable remembering how I onced acted in an organization."
Trainer: "You like the training, even though you feel uncomfortable about parts of it
An important role you play as trainer is to remain aware of how you are doing in your role, to continually survey the progress of your sessions and to remain aware of the attitudes, needs and interests of your participants. Because you already have so many time-consuming responsibilities inherent in your role, you often must expend additional energy to seek feedback from the participants on how they perceive the training they are receiving. Daily Assessment Form is a sample tool you can use to help you obtain this feedback. You may want to alter it to suit your needs by changing the questions to get information you specifically need or want. At the end of each day or two of training, ask the participants to spend 5-10 minutes and fill out the form. From the responses you get you will be able to determine which methods are working and/or what needs to be changed for the next day or next workshop. Stress to the participants that they do not have to sign their names.
PLEASE RATE THE SESSION USING THE SCALES PROVIDED AND ADD ANY COMMENTS.
7. In the space below, write any comments or criticism you would like to give the staff as individuals or as a group.
8. What could have made these sessions more worthwhile for you in relation to the job you have in your workplace and/or community?
9. What specific sessions or activities did you find most helpful to you in your work and life?
VIII. GLOSSARY OF TRAINING TERMS
Each time a new training term is used in the manual, it will be highlighted with the symbol * to remind you to refer to this glossary.
'Break into groups' - When one large group is divided into several small groups or pairs.
Bridge - The statement the trainer makes that ties sessions together. That is, a reference in a current session that shows how it is related to the prior session.
Co-Trainer or Co-Facilitator - Individual who assists trainer in any capacity.
Flip Chart - A large (e.g. 27" x 34") piece of newsprint that the trainer has prepared as a chart illustrative of a point he/she wants to make.
Float - When trainers visit small groups for a short time to ascertain what is going on or if participants have understood instructions. Floating means gene-ally spending a small amount of time with each group without becoming a member of any one of them.
Generalization - A conclusion about an experience or idea.
Goal - A statement of the general learning outcome or topics to be covered.
Group process - The complex forces which cause persons in a group to behave the way they do. Group process is concerned with "how" people work in groups, given certain conditions and certain human behaviors, content or task focuses on "what" people do; it is not concerned with moral issues of how people ought to behave.
Handout - A supporting document the trainer gives participants that offers additional information on a subject introduced during the session.
Ice-breaker - An opening exercise that is used to motivate the group and establish a comfortable atmosphere for learning.
Intervention - An interruption of an ongoing activity that influences the direction, content, behavior, or affect in a group.
Lead Trainer - Person who assumes most of the responsibility for the implementation of the workshop.
Learnings - Points, aspects of item. participants learn from an experience or session
Newsprint - The large pieces of paper that usually come bound on large cardboard pads. (Called newsprint because newspapers use it for publishing their papers.)
Non-formal education - An approach that uses nontraditional techniques not typically used in the classroom. Adults often are involved in non-formal training.
Objective - A statement of learning outcome in terms which specify an observable behavior, an accepted standard of achievement, and the conditions under which the behavior is to take place.
Participant - (Learner) The person for whom the training activity is created and presented.
Reality Test - To share a strategy with someone else and have them react to how feasible the plan would be given the situation in which its going to be used.
Report Out - The report on progress or results that one small group gives the rest of the groups after completing an exercise, solving a problem or planning a strategy.
Resource Person - (a) an individual who attends the session to act as a resource about a specific topic (s) or (b) a person with whom you discuss a specific topic before the session in order to get country/culture specific information. Specifically for these materials, resource people are host country individuals with staff, language and culture trainers, community representatives, etc.
Rounds - A structure in which participants rotate in taking turns.
Trainer - A guide or facilitator who arranges learning experiences for others.
Triad - A group of 3 people.
Experiential learning is based on the premise that people learn more effectively by 'doing' rather than 'seeing' or 'hearing'. Experiential learning, therefore, uses techniques that actively involve the learner in structured experiences that help him/her to acquire new knowledge and skills. Unlike more traditional types of classroom education where the teacher is the focal point, experiential learning focuses more on the learner's experiences. Instead of having the learner see a demonstration or hear a lecture and then leave the learning situation, structured experiences are used to involve the person more in his/her own learning to make it more relevant. This is done by seeing that the learner experiences various phases. For instance, typical phases are:
1. Information is presented or a situation is experienced.
2. Learners discuss what they have learned or gained
3. A forum is provided for learners to judge how they can/will use this information when they leave the learning situation.
4. Practice may (if time allows) be given to provide learners with the opportunity to practice new skills before leaving learning situation.
The types of techniques that may be used to facilitate the above steps are lecturettes, role plays, case studies, panels, simulations, skits, small croup discussions and problem solving, to name a few. There is always a processing stage where learners are encouraged to reflect upon, analyze, evaluate and discuss their [earnings and applicability of these [earnings to their real situations.
Some of the structured experiences that are used in experiential learning allow the learner to: experience situations similar or analogous to those which might be encountered in the situations where the [earnings will be applied (work, school, community)
- identify and analyze problems
- explore alternative solutions to these problems and the probable consequences
- examine real feelings and reactions in the various problems and situations presented
- examine personal values, beliefs, attitudes, assumptions and expectations and the problems these might be creating
- generalize from the training learning experience to the job, school or community
- identify the kinds of information needed to solve new problems or skills needed to be effective
- identify and learn to make use of available resources to meet needs
These examples demonstrate that experiential learning provides the opportunity for the learner to acquire new skills and practice these skills in a laboratory, a safe environment, before trying them out in the "real world".
The method assumes that the learner is able to accept the major responsibility for his/her own learning, ant will, if given the opportunity, establish personal learning goals. It promotes 'learning how to learn' from experience. It is what we do all our lives outside the classroom.
Because many people are much more familiar and comfortable with the traditional modes of memorizing from lectures and reading assignments, completing assignments and taking tests assigned by the instructor, experiential learning may be awkward at first. It requires more effort, more participation, more investment and more responsibility. It also produces more relevant learning that people often retain and use more than didactic methods allow.
In the experiential approach, the trainer serves primarily as a facilitator, catalyst or resource. He/she has the responsibility to structure the training to follow the appropriate sequence and process to help learners analyze what has happened and to draw conclusions. The responsibility for the learning, however, is for the learners themselves.
Some of the other differences between experiential learning and traditional didactic learning are:
1. Teacher decides on objectives. They may be more implicit than explicit and may or may not be communicated to the learners.
1. Trainer and learner decide on objectives, using provisional objectives established by trainer as base.
2. Teacher conducts demonstration or lecture. Learners observe.
2. Learners identify and make use of available resources (including other learners) to obtain information they need to solve problems.
3. Trainer assigns practical exercises or problems. Learners complete the assignment.
3. Learners explore alternative solutions to problems.
4. Teacher prepares tests for knowledge and understanding. Learners take the test.
4. Trainers and learners examine possible consequences and evaluate relative effectiveness of various solutions.
5. Teacher evaluates learner's performance.
5. Learners reflect on, evaluate and conceptualize the total experience.
In summary, the experiential approach makes primary use of inductive discovery and critical thinking modes of learning rather then the classical modes of presenting rules or principles, giving examples or illustrations, assigning one-right-answer-type exercises or problems, and testing for retention, the modes typical of the traditional system.
Adapted from staff training material from P.C. Latin America Region, 1977
FROM FREEDOM TO LEARN
by Carl Rogers
Though it may be considered unseemly for me to say so, I like this chapter very much, because it expresses some the deepest convictions I hold regarding those who work in the educational field. The essence of it was first presented as a lecture at Harvard University, but that essence has been revised and enlarged for this book.
I wish to begin this chapter with a statement which may seem surprising to some send perhaps offensive to others, It is simply this: Teaching, in my estimation, is a vastly overrated function.
Having made such a statement, I scurry to the dictionary to see if I really mean what I say. Teaching means "to instruct." Personally I am not much interested in instructing another in what he should know or think. "To impart knowledge or skill..." My reaction is, why not be more efficient, using a book or programmed learning? "To make to know." Here my hackles rise. I have no wish to make anyone know something. "To show, guide, direct." As I see it, too many people have been shown, guided, directed. So I come to the conclusion that I do mean what I said. Teaching is, for me, a relatively unimportant and vastly overvalued activity.
But there is more in my attitude than this. I have a negative reaction to teaching. Why? I think it is because it raises all the wrong questions. As soon as we focus on teaching the question arises, what shall we teach? What, from our superior vantage point, does the other person need to know? I wonder if, in this modern world, we are justified in the presumption that we are wise about the future and the young are foolish. Are we really sure as to what they should know? Then there is the ridiculous question of coverage. What shall the course cover? This notion of coverage is based on the assumption that what is taught is what is learned; what is presented is what is assimilated. I know of no assumption so obviously untrue. One does not need research to provide evidence that this is false. One needs only to talk with a few students.
But I ask myself, "Am I so prejudiced against teaching that I find no situation in which it is worthwhile? I immediately think of my experiences in Australia, not so long ago. I became much interested in the aborigine. Here is a group which for more than 20,000 years has managed to live and exist in a desolate environment in which modern man would perish within a few days. The secret of the aborigine's survival has been teaching. He has passed on to the young every shred of knowledge about how to find water, about how to track game, about how to kill the kangaroo, about how to find his way through the trackless desert. Such knowledge is conveyed to the young as being the way to behave, and any innovation is frowned upon. It is clear that teaching has provided him the way to survive in a hostile and relatively unchanging environment.
Now I am closer to the nub of the question which excites me. Teaching and the imparting of knowledge make sense in an unchanging environment. This is why it has been an unquestioned function for centuries. But if there is one truth about modern man, it is that he lives in an environment which is continually changing. The one thing I can be sure of is that the physics which is taught to the present day student will be outdated in a decade. The teaching in psychology will certainly be out of date in 20 years. The so-called "facts of history" depend very largely upon the current mood and temper of the culture. Chemistry, biology, genetics, sociology, are in such flux that a firm statement made today will almost certainly be modified by the time the student gets around to using the knowledge.
We are, in my view, faced with an entirely new situation in education where the goal of education, if we are to survive, is the facilitation of change and learning. The only man who is educated is the man who has learned how to learn; the man who has learned to adapt to chance; the man who has realized that no knowledge is secure, that only the process of seeking knowledge gives a basis for security. Changingness, a reliance on process rather than upon static knowledge, is the only thing that makes sense as a goal for education in the modern world.
So now with some relief I turn to an activity, a purpose, which really warms me--the facilitation of learning. When I have been able to transform a group--and here I mean all of the members of a group, myself included--into a community of learners, then the excitement has been almost beyond belief. To free curiousity: to permit individuals to go charging off in new directions dictated by their own interests; to unleash the sense of inquiry; to open everything to questioning and exploration; to recognize that everything is in process of chance--here is an experience I can never forget. I cannot always achieve it in groups with which I am associated but when it is partially or largely achieved then it becomes a never-to-be-forgotten group experience. Out of such a context arise true students, real learners, creative scientists and scholars and practitioners, the kind of individuals who live in a delicate but everchanging balance between what is presently known and the flowing, moving, altering problems and facts of the future.
Here then is a goal to which I can give myself wholeheartedly. I see the facilitation of learning as the aim of education, the way in which we might develop the learning man, the way in which we can learn to live as individuals in process. I see the facilitation of learning as the function which may hold constructive, tentative, changing, process answers to some of the deepest perplexities which beset man today.
But do we know how to achieve this new goal in education, or is it a will-o'-the-wisp which sometimes occurs, sometimes fails to occur, and thus offers little real hope? My answer is that we possess a very considerable knowledge of the conditions which encourage self-initiated, significant, experiential, "gut-level" learning by the whole person. We do not frequently see these conditions put into effect because they mean a real revolution in our approach to education and revolutions are not for the timid. But we do, as we have seen in the preceding chapters, find examples of this revolution in action.
We know -- and I will briefly describe some of the evidence-that the initiation of such learning rests not upon the teaching skills of the leader, not upon his scholarly knowledge of the field, not upon his curricular planning, not upon his use of audiovisual aids, not upon the programmed learning he utilizes, not upon his lectures and presentations, not upon an abundance of books, though each of these might at one time or another be utilized as an important resource. No, the facilitation of significant learning rests upon certain attitudinal qualities which exist in the personal relationship between the facilitator and the learner.
We came upon such findings first in the field of psychotherapy, but increasingly there is evidence which shows that these finds apply in the classroom as well. We find it easier to think that the intensive relationship between therapist and client might possess these qualities, but we are also finding that they may exist in the countless interpersonal interactions (as many as 1,000 per day, as Jackson  has shown) between the teacher and her pupils.
QUALITIES WHICH FACILITATE LEARNING
What are these qualities, these attitudes, which facilitate learning? Let me describe them very briefly, drawing illustrations from the teaching field.
Realness in the Facilitation of learning
Perhaps the most basic of these essential attitudes is realness or genuineness. When the facilitator is a real person, being whet he is, entering into a relationship with the learner without presenting a front or facade, he is much more likely to be effective. This means that the feelings which he is experiencing are available to him, available to his awareness, that he is able to live these feelings, be them, and able to communicate them if appropriate. It means that he comes into a direct personal encounter with the learner, meeting him on a person-to-person basis. It means that he is being himself, not denying himself.
Seen from this point of view it is suggested that the teacher can be a real person in his relationship with his students. He can be enthusiastic, he can be bored, he can be interested in students, he can be angry, he can be sensitive and sympathetic. Because he accepts these feelings as his own he has no need to impose them on his students. He can like or dislike a student product without implying that it is objectively good or bad or that the student is good or bad. He is simply expressing a feeling for the product, a feeling which exists within himself. Thus, he is a person to his students, not a faceless embodiment of a curricular requirement nor a sterile tube through which knowledge is passed from one generation to the next.
It is obvious that this attitudinal set, found to be effective in psychotherapy, is sharply in contrast with the tendency of most teachers to show themselves to their pupils simply as roles. It is quite customary for teachers rather consciously to put on the mask, the role, the facade, of being a teacher, and to wear this facade all day, removing it only when they have left the school at night.
I trust I am making it clear that to be real is not always easy, nor is it achieved all at once, but it is basic to the person who wants to become that revolutionary individual, a facilitator of learning.
Prizing, Acceptance, Trust
There is another attitude which stands out in those who are successful in facilitating learning. I have observed this attitude. I have experienced it. Yet, it is hard to know what term to put to it so I shall use several. I think of it as prizing the learner, prizing his feelings, his opinions, his person. It is caring for the learner, but a non-possessive caring. It is an acceptance of this other individual as a separate person, having worth in his own right. It is a basic trust--a belief that this other person is somehow fundamentally trustworthy. Whether we call it prizing, acceptance, trust, or by some other term, it shows up in a variety of observable ways. The facilitator who has a considerable degree of this attitude can be fully acceptant of the fear and hesitation of the student as he approaches a new problem as well as acceptant of the pupil's satisfaction in achievement. Such a teacher can accept the student's occasional apathy, his erratic desires to explore by-roads of knowledge, as well as his disciplined efforts to achieve major goals. He can accept personal feelings which both disturb and promote learning - rivalry with a sibling, hatred of authority, concern about personal adequacy. What we are describing is a prizing of the learner as an imperfect human being with many feelings, many potentialities. The facilitator's prizing or acceptance of the learner is an operational expression of his essential confidence and trust in the capacity of the human organism.
A further element which establishes a climate for self-initiated, experiential learning is empathetic understanding. When the teacher has the ability to understand the student's reactions from the inside, has a sensitive awareness of the ay the process of education and learning seems to the student, then again the likelihood of significant learning is increased.
This kind of understanding is sharply different from the usual evaluative understanding, which follows the patterns of, "I understand what is wrong with you." When there is a sensitive empathy, however, the reaction in the learner follows something of this pattern: "At least someone understands how it feels and seems to be me without wanting to analyze me or judge me. Now I can lcossom and grow and learn."
This attitude of standing in the other's shoes, in viewing the world through the student's eyes, is almost unheard of in the classroom. One could listen to thousands of ordinary classroom interactions without coming across one instance of clearly communicated, sensitively accurate, empathetic understanding. But it has a tremendously releasing effect when it occurs.
If any one teacher set himself the task of endeavoring to make one nonevaluative, acceptant, empathic response per day to a student's demonstrated or verbalized feeling, I believe he would discover the potency of this currently almost non-existent kind of understanding.
1) Source - From the Field, world Education, inc., New York,
It is a revised version of a presentation first published in Humanizing Education, ed. R. Leeper, ASCD, NEA, 1967. Copyright by the Association for Supervision ant Curriculum Development, NEA. Freedom to Learn, Carl Rogers. Charles Merrill Co. 1969, pg. 103-112.
THE EFFECTIVE TRAINER
The following are some suggested general characteristics of effective trainers. For a person considering taking the trainer role, this list of characteristics can be treated as guideposts for planning. The more intensive or formal the program is, the more importance these guidelines assume. The' are listed in approximate order of priority.
1. Openness to change. Because the trainer role is not simple, and re quires 'sensitive use of the self', the prospective trainer must be willing to look at him/herself, question things he/she does and has always taken for granted. The person whose views of him/herself are unchangeable Will have considerable difficulty in working as a trainer.
2. Reasonable 'comfortableness'. To do a good job as a trainer, one must be secure enough to try out new things. Training, like teaching, or any form of human interaction inevitably gets one off base, and into puzzling situations for which there are no ready made answers. An effective trainer needs to be comfortable with him/herself as a person, be comfortable with others, and be reasonably able to cope with new' situations without getting upset.
3. Desire to help. The effective trainer needs to have genuine motivation for helping people learn. The person who tries out the trainer role only because it is 'interesting', or because the role was assisted by a superior, is unlikely to get very far before things freeze up or the group becomes apathetic. A thoughtful self-appraisal of one's reasons for wishing to try out the trainer role is strongly suggested.
4. Being seen as helpful. The trainer must be seen by the members of the training group as being potentially (and actually) able to help them learn. This seems obvious, but is easily overlooked. Without acceptance of one's trainership by group members, little learning is possible.
Most persons markedly lacking in the other characteristics listed here Will also tend to be seen by potential members of the training group as being unable to provide training assistance. This boils down to: "Do people in the group think I am competent to help'"
5. Role flexibility. It helps if the trainer is a =-son who can do different kinds of things in group situations without too much difficult`. He' she need not be a super-member or an unusually skilled individual, but he/she ought to be able to handle him/herself with a minimum of - rain in group situations.
6. Sensitivity to troupe. A good trainer notices things in group situations. He/she picks up what is going on, can see objectively and accurately what is happening. If he/she has not learned this sensitivity, it will be difficult to help members develop it.
7. Understanding of the training process. A good trainer has a reasonably clear picture of how people can learn in an inductive, experience-centered way.
8. Formal and practical knowledge about groups. It helps if the trainer knows something about group dynamics, and is comfortable with concepts in this area. Background experience with different kinds of groups is also useful.
9. Methodological knowledge. For effectiveness, the trainer needs to be familiar with the teaching method being used.
Again, these are open-end criteria. Even an accomplished trainer could show improvement on all of them. The person who is experimenting with the trainer role for the first tine can use these criteria as guideposts to evaluate and improve his/her performance as he/she proceeds. Three qualities to always strive for, however, as an effective trainer are:
- Genuineness: An effective trainer is non-phony, nondefensive, authentic and natural in his/her encounters with learners ant other trainers.
- Warmth: An effective trainer is able to provide a non-threatening, safe, trusting or secure atmosphere through his/her own acceptance, positive regard, valuing and acceptance of others.
- Understanding: An effective trainer is able to understand, 'be with', 'grasp the meaning of' or have a high degree of empathy with the learners.
Adapted from staff training material used by Peace Corps Latin America Region, Washington, DC. 1977. Original Source of some information, Learning to Work in Groups by Matthew B. Miles, Columbia, 1959.
DISCUSSION GROUP LEADERSHIP
The best discussions take place when everyone in the group assumes responsibility for group maintenance (that is, helping the group move toward the goal for its discussion activity).
What are some of the characteristics of effective discussion leadership? What are some of the things you should do and be alert to if you are to fulfill your responsibility to the group, whether or not you are designated as the leader?
1. The smaller the group the more the interaction. Groups over 10 create barriers to full participation. Some people talk whether the group is large or small. Others will get involved only in a smaller group. The tasks of group maintenance and leadership are more difficult as the group gets larger.
2. Be sure everyone is comfortable and can look eye-to-eye at everyone else in the group. Naturally, that usually means a circle. Whether on chairs or on the floor, communication can be facilitated by proximity.
3. Ask questions and listen. That's harder than it sounds. The first impulse is to offer one's own opinions, especially if we have more experience or expertise on the subject at hand. However, that can stifle expression by others.
4. Make sure everyone is involved. This can usually be done by being alert to the silent members and drawing them in. Sometimes it may be necessary to ask someone to give others a chance or suggest a rule that no one can speak twice until everyone else has spoken once (or until two others have spoken, or only to ask a question or some similar device to encourage full participation).
5. Keep the discussion on track. This can often be done through questions or playback summaries, e.g., "What I've been hearing in this discussion is......Is that how it sounds to you?"
6. Avoid sarcasm. This is the temptation of the clever and witty, but it can kill discussion or at least "knock out" the victim. Save it for your closest friends or enemies.
7. Encourage humor. Don't take yourself too seriously for pompousness and formality smother discussion. "Up-tight" people can sit for lectures, but they have to loosen up for a successful discussion. Relax and enjoy.
8. Remember the problem-solving paradigm: many discussion subject (not all) can best be approached this way--clarify the problem, suggest alternatives, identify criteria for discussion, and test the alternatives against the criteria.
9. Set time limits. Practice has shown that small groups tend to use whatever time is available, but move more quickly toward the goal i! time is a factor.
10. Learn to observe process. How a discussion proceeds and how the group members interact may be more important than what is said. Discussion is more relating than debating.
Adapted from staff training materials used by Peace Corps Latin America Region, Washington, D.C.
WHAT TO OBSERVE IN A GROUP
All of us have spent our lives in groups of various sorts--the family, gang, team, work group, etc., but rarely have we taken the time to stop and observe what was going on in the group or why the members were behaving the way they were. One of our main goals here is to become better observers and better participants.
But what do we look for? What is there to see in a group?
I. Content vs. Process
When we observe what the group is talking about, we are focusing on the content. When we try to observe how the group is handling its communication, i.e., who talks how much or who talks to whom, we are focusing on group process.
Most topics about the back-home situation emphasize the content -- "what is good leadership," "how can I motivate my subordinate," "how can we make meetings more effective," and concern issues which are "there and then" in the sense of being abstract, future or past oriented and not involving us directly. In focusing on group process, we are looting at what our group is doing in the "here and now," how it is working in the sense of its present procedures and organization.
In fact, the content of the conversation is often the best clue as to what process issue may be on people's minds, when they find it difficult to confront the issue directly. For example:
1. Talking about problems of authority back home may mean ...................
that there is a leadership struggle going on in the group
2. Talking about how bad group meetings usually are at the plant may mean ................
that members are dissatisfied with the performance of their own group
At a simpler level, looking at process really means to focus on what is going on in the group and trying to understand it in terms of other things that have gone on in the group.
One of the easiest aspects of group process to observe is the pattern of communication:
1. Who talks? For how long? How often?
2. Who do people-look at when they talk?
a. Single others, possibly potential supporters
b. Scanning the group
c. No one
3. Who talks after whom, or who interrupts whom?
4. What style of communication is used (assertions, questions, tone of voice, gestures, etc.)?
The kinds of observations we make give us clues to other important things which may be going on in the group such as who leads whom or who influences whom.
III. Task - Maintenance - Self-Oriented Behavior
Behavior in the group can be viewed from the point of view of what its purpose or function seems to be. When a member says something, is he/she primarily trying to get the group task accomplished (task), or is he/she trying to improve or patch up some relationships among members (maintenance), or is he/she primarily meeting some personal need or goal without regard to the group's problems (self-oriented)?
As the group grows and member needs become integrated with group goals, there will be less self-oriented behavior and more task or maintenance behavior. What kinds of categories can be identified?
Some types of behaviors relevant to the group's fulfillment of its task that you will note participants manifesting are:
1. Initiating: Proposing tasks or goals; e defining a group problem; suggesting a procedure or ideas for solving a problem.
2. Seeking information or opinions: Requesting facts; seeking relevant information about group concern; Asking for expression of feeling; Requesting a statement or estimate; Soliciting expressions of value; Seeking suggestions and ideas ..........................
3. Giving information or opinion: Offering facts; Providing relevant information about group concern; Stating a belief about a matter before the group; Giving suggestions and ideas ............................
4. Clarifying and elaborating: Interpreting ideas or suggestions; Clearing up confusions; Defining terms; Indicating alternatives and issues before the group ..................
5. Summarizing: Pulling together related ideas; restating suggestions after the group had discussed them; Offering a decision or conclusion for the group to accept or reject.................
6. Consensus testing: Asking to see if group is nearing a decision; Sending up trial balloon to test a possible conclusion....
Some types of behavior relevant to the group's remaining in good working order, having a good climate for task work, and good relationships which permit maximum use of member resources, i.e., group maintenance that you will see participants manifesting are:
1. Harmonizing: Attempting to reconcile disagreements; Reducing tension; Getting people to explore differences ..................
2. Gate keeping: Helping to keep communication channels open; Facilitating the participation of others; Suggesting procedures that permit sharing remarks.
3. Encouraging: Being friendly, warm, and responsive to others; indicating by facial expression or remark the acceptance of others' contributions ...........................
4. Compromising: When own idea or status is involved in a conflict, offering a compromise which yields status; Admitting error; Modifying in interest of group cohesion or growth ...................................
5. Standard setting and testing: Testing whether group is satisfied with its procedures or suggesting procedures; Pointing out explicit or implicit norms which have been set to make them available for testing .......
Every group needs both kinds of behavior and needs to work out an adequate balance of task and maintenance activities.
IV. Emotional Issues: Causes of Self-Oriented Emotional Behavior
The processes described so far deal with the group's attempts to work, to solve problems of task and maintenance, but there are many forces active in groups which disturb work, which represent a kind of emotional underworld or undercurrent in the stream of group life. These underlying emotional issues produce a variety of emotional behaviors which interfere with or are destructive of effective group functioning. They cannot be ignored or wished away. Rather, they must be recognized, their causes must be understood and as the group develops, conditions must be created which permit these same emotional energies to be channeled in the direction of group effort.
What are these issues of basic causes?
1. The problem of identity: Who am I in this group? Where do I fit in? What kind of behavior is acceptable here?
2. The problem of goals and needs: What do I want from the group? Can the group goals be made consistent with my goals? What have I to offer to the group?
3. The problem of power, control and influence: Who will control what we do? How much power ant influence do I have?
4. The problem of intimacy: How close will we get to each other? Row personal? How much can we trust each other and how can we achieve a greater level of trust?
What kinds of behaviors are produced in response to these problems?
1. Dependency-counterdependency: Leaning on or resisting anyone in the group who represents authority, especially the trainer.
2. Fighting and controlling: Asserting personal dominance, attempting to get own way regardless of others.
3. Withdrawing: Trying to remove the sources of uncomfortable feelings by psychologically leaving the group.
4. Pairing up: Seeking out one or two supporters and forming a kind of emotional sub-group in which the members protect and support each other.
These are not the only kinds of things which car. be observed in a group. What is important to observe will vary with what the group is doing, the needs and purposes of the observer and many other factors. The main point, however, is that improving our skills in observing what is going on in the group will provide us with important data for understanding groups and increasing our effectiveness within them.
Adapted from staff training materials used by Peace Corps Latin America Region, Washington, D.C.