| Forestry training manual for the Africa region |
Total time 2 hours 30 minutes
- Examination of the roles of an extensionist,
- Exploration of ways in which to introduce innovations to communities,
- Practice in communicating with community people regarding an innovation,
- To examine communication skills, verbal and non-verbal once more.
Seven roles are isolated in the process by which a Volunteer in the role of an extensionist introduces the concept of tree planting to his/her community. The area of communication is reviewed again and focus is placed upon skills that the Volunteers will need. The non-verbal observation assignment from the previous week is discussed and the trainees share with their partner their observations over the past week.
1. Extensionist's Roles
2. Communication Skills, Verbal and Non-Verbal, of an Extensionist
Flip charts, marker pens, tape.
Exercise 1 Extensionist's Roles
Total time 1 hour 20 minutes
We examine the seven roles of an extensionist. The trainees discuss ways in which they can adopt these roles as Volunteers doing extension work in their communities.
1. The trainer introduces the following seven roles and explains each:
A. Develops need for change,
B. Establishes a change relationship,
C. Diagnoses the problem,
D. Creates intent to change in community members,
E. Translates intent into action,
F. Stabilizes change and prevents discontinuances,
G. Achieves a terminal relationship.
Trainer’s Note: Use local examples to illustrate each role.
A. Develops need for change - A Volunteer is often initially required to help his/her community become aware of the need to alter their behavior. The behavior in this case is either planting trees or the preservation of trees. This is especially true among rural farmers whose potentials have not been realized and workers who resist change. The unwillingness to accept change readily and other institutionalized behavioral patterns often result in the Volunteer serving as a catalyst in the community. In order to do forestry extension, the Volunteer illustrates new alternatives to existing forestry problems, dramatizes these problems and convinces the farmers that they are capable of confronting forestry problems. The Volunteer, acting as an extensionist, not only assesses the community at this stage but also helps to create these needs in a consultative and persuasive manner.
B. Establish a change relationship - Once the need for change is created, the Volunteer must develop a rapport with the community. He/she enhances his/her relationship with the community by creating an impression of credibility, trustworthiness, and empathy toward their needs and problems. Communities must trust the Volunteer before they will accept the innovations he/she proposes.
C. Diagnosis of the problem - The extensionist is responsible for analyzing his community's problems/ situation in order to determine why existing alternatives do not meet the community's needs. In arriving at his/her diagnostic conclusions, the extensionist must view the situation empathetically from the community's point of view and not his/her own. The Volunteer extensionist must psychologically place him/herself in their situations. This empathy transferral is difficult.
D. Creates intent to change in community members - After the Volunteer explores various avenues of action that his/her community might take to achieve their goals, he should encourage an intent to change. The change must be community-centered rather than for the sake of change. Here the Volunteer's role is to motivate.
E. Translates intent into action - The Volunteer seeks to influence his/her community's behavior in accordance with his recommendations which are based upon the community's needs. In essence, the Volunteer promotes compliance with the program he/she advocates. This means more than simple agreement on intent. It means action or behavioral change.
F. Stabilizes change and prevents discontinuances - The Volunteers may effectively stabilize new behavior by directly reinforcing messages to those community members who have adapted, thus "freezing" the new behavior. This assistance frequently is given when the rural farmer is at the trial-decision or confirmation function in the innovation-decision process.
G. Achieves a terminal relationship - The end goal for the Volunteer extensionist is development of self-renewing behavior on the part of his/her community. The Volunteer should put him/herself out of business by developing his/her community's ability to be their own change agent. The Volunteer must seek to shift the community from a position of reliance on the Volunteer to self-reliance.
(The above seven roles have been adapted from: Communication of Innovations by Rogers & Shoemaker)
2. The trainer asks the group to form small groups and envision the seven roles of an extensionist as objectives they have set for themselves and develop action steps to achieve these objectives. Make a list of these steps on newsprint.
3. Small groups now share with the large group their action steps.
15 - 20 minutes
4. The trainer summarizes the presentations and introduces the next exercise.
Exercise 2 Communication Skills, Verbal and Non-verbal of an Extensionsist
Total time 1 hour 15 minutes
In the preceding exercise we have examined the seven roles of an extensionist. Now we want to look at the kind of communication skills a Volunteer will need to carry out extension work. In this exercise, we also process the session of the previous week by discussing, generalizing and applying the experience accumulated by the trainees in one week of observing non-verbal behavior with each other. The participants give each other feedback on what they observed, discuss their observations and arrive at some working assumptions/generalizations about how non-verbal communications may be the most important part of their communications system in the early days of their volunteer work.
1. The trainer asks the participants to list various kinds of communication skills that they will need to carry out their role as extensionists.
2. The trainer asks the participants to call out skills and lists them on newsprint.
3. The trainer comments about skills the trainees have not identified. If non-verbal skills have not been listed, the trainer adds three minutes and makes the point that in the early days of volunteer service the participants
will send out many non-verbal messages that will be his/her first impact upon the communities.
4. The trainer asks the group to form the same pairs that have been observing each other for the past week and spend a few minutes telling each other what they observed each other doing in terms of non-verbal communication during that time.
Individuals should gain insight on how they use non-verbal processes.
5. Bring the group together and draw some generalizations from the experience of observing each other.
6. Ask each pair to get with another pair and discuss the following questions. Discussion questions should be posted on flip chart.
- Did any of you learn anything new about your selves? What?
- Is there anything about non verbal communication in general that you have learned from the experience?
- Have you any ideas how you can use non-verbal communication as an extensionist? What are they?
7. The trainer asks for comments from the participants on communication skills. He/she summarizes the verbal and non verbal skills that an extensionist needs.