USING THE MANUAL IN A TRAINING PROGRAM
|Circle of Rights
was produced with a primary target group of trainers
in mind. Part I of Circle of Rights addresses
substantive issues related to ESC rights and strategies
for advancing these rights. The purpose of this
Part II is to provide suggestions for using the
information contained in Part I in a training
Part II opens with some general points on planning and implementing training programs. These are followed by general suggestions for introducing the material in this manual in such programs. Part II then provides specific suggestions and techniques to use with respect to each module. It does not attempt to cover all the information in Part I, not does it seek to suggest all possible training methods that could be used to present that information. Rather the suggestions made with respect to each module are offered simply to help spark the creativity of the trainers who use Circle of Rights.
Planning a Training Program
An effective training program has a beginning, a middle, and an ending, whether it is a half-day session or a month-long program. Normally, a training program begins with ice-breaking or getting-to-know-you activities and ends with planning for the future and evaluating the program. The training program should follow a logical sequence, both in the individual sessions and in the overall course of the program.
When planning a training program, it is important to follow these steps:
1. Establish the objectives of the training session
The objectives of a training program are normally based on an assessment of trainees’ needs. The knowledge, skills or attitudes (relevant values or ethics) to be covered and the objectives to be achieved are decided by a trainer or training organization based on these needs.
2. Design the content and format of the training program
3. Select teaching methods and materials
Each lesson or module requires appropriate teaching methods and materials-for example, case studies, games or visual aids.
4. Clarify role of trainers/facilitators.
Trainers and facilitators, including teaching staff and resource persons, must be briefed on the objectives of their sessions and the materials they should they should prepare for conducting their sessions.
Implementing a Training Program
1. Oversee trainers/facilitators as they conduct the training program.
2. Follow up after the training program.
A Participatory Approach to Training
A trainer should remember that for learning to be effective:
Finally, a trainer or training organization should remember that planning and conducting a participatory program is more difficult than planning for a nonparticipatory one. Trainers and even trainees may prefer nonparticipatory methods/process, since they require little preparation. It is important to recognize that a trainer may fear that s/he would lose his or her authority and direction of a participatory program, but adequate planning should minimize this potential problem.
The Role of a Facilitator
A facilitator of a training program has two kinds of functions: task functions and process functions. Task refers to what the group must achieve (learning, decisions, etc.); process refers to how the group proceeds towards the objective and how the individual participants relate to each other. Both functions must be kept in balance. Too much emphasis on task may damage the level of participation and creativity as well as the degree of commitment to follow-up. Too much emphasis on process may lead to poor results.
A facilitator in a program initiates (sets the ball rolling), regulates (ensures participation and that the objectives are met), informs (acts as a resource person), supports (encourages and makes sure that that everyone is respected despite differing views), and evaluates (ensures feedback and assessment).
Bringing closure to a training program
It is important for the facilitator to bring the session to closure. The facilitator should refer to the objectives and briefly summarize the process of the training session. Starting from the first session, s/he should trace the path along which the participants have gone during the training program, then discuss plans for follow-up and how the participants can implement what they have learned. Follow-up plans should be based on what has been learned during the program. Finally, the facilitator should make sure the learners leave with a positive feeling about the session.
Evaluating a Training Program
It is important to evaluate a training program, whatever its length. Evaluation entails judging the success or failure of the training, revising or refining the training design, and deciding whether to continue or replicate the training.
A training program is normally evaluated by its participants and organisers. However, help of independent persons can be sought.
The input, process and impact of the training program are all evaluated. Input consists of content and methods. Process includes the facilitation skills of trainers or experts as well as the level of participation of trainees. Impact is the final result-the contribution to know-ledge and skills and to changes in attitude or values. Knowledge and skills are probably the easiest to evaluate; assessing the impact on values or attitudes is most difficult.
Evaluation is a continuous process. It is undertaken during the training program, at the end of training program and, if appropriate, after some period of time has elapsed.
Evaluation can be conducted by using daily participant evaluation forms (feed back sheets), pro and con lists (brainstorming), suggestion boxes, written pre- and post-training tests, interviews, questionnaires, on-site observation and informal conversations.
Teaching methods and techniques are almost infinite in their variety. They can be used on their own or in creative combination. However, they should be chosen carefully to fit the activity, the nature of participants, the cultural milieu and the facilities available for using them.
Remember that the methods and techniques must support the objectives of the training program; otherwise they lose their meaning.
Importance of Teaching Methods
The effectiveness of training depends greatly on what is to be taught, how the trainers are prepared and what training methods they emphasize. Development of a good curriculum and selection of effective participants may be of little value if the trainees are unable to understand what they are taught. Trainers have a responsibility to facilitate learning and not merely complete the curriculum or course content. Selection, preparation and effective use of teaching methods have a great impact on a trainee’s ability to learn.
Some Common Teaching Methods
A lecture presentation is the most frequently used method for conveying information, theories or principles. The style of presentation may range from an uninterrupted lecture to a mixed presentation combining questions and discussions.
The advantage of a lecture presentation is that it can be adapted to any kind of learner. It is useful for large groups, it can cover a lot of material in a short time, and the lecturer has more control over the process. The limitations are that it is essentially a one-way communication; the learner’s role is passive and depends on the effectiveness of the lecturer.
A lecture presentation can be made more interesting by the use of visual aids, discussions or any other teaching activities that retain the attention of trainees.
Small group discussion
A small group discussion is an activity that allows learners to share their views and experiences on a topic or to solve a problem. In small groups, trainees may feel less inhibited; this contributes to increased participation of trainees.
For a small group discussion to be effective, the task of the group and the time limit should be clearly stated. It may be helpful to provide guidelines or questions for facilitating discussion. It is important to remind group members that they must ensure the participation of everyone in the group.
A case study is a written description of a real or hypothetical situation that is used for analysis and discussion in small groups. A case study increases the involvement of trainees in discussing a problem. It is important to select a relevant case for discussion. Questions for discussion should be carefully planned in advance.
A role play is an activity where trainees act out real or hypothetical situations. In a role play only the situation or role to be acted is explained. No script is needed, and few materials are needed, since students can use pretend props. Trainees should be encouraged to use their imagination. A role play is stimulating and fun, and increases the participation of trainees. The trainees must have a good understanding of the role play they are expected to enact.
A simulation is a problem-solving activity that imitates, or simulates, a real-life situation. It may involve acting out a story, the playing of roles, or participation in a game. The technique helps trainees reflect on how to meet anticipated problems. To be effective, a simulation must be well prepared and sufficient time must be allowed.
Brainstorming is normally used for generating participants’ views, ideas and comments on a given topic or issue.
In a brainstorming exercise, participants can make any points or suggestions on the subject matter of the brainstorming. A participant can build on other people’s ideas or views, but s/he cannot comment or criticize views expressed by others. No discussion is allowed on the points made or ideas expressed. Time limit should be set, since speed is the essence of brainstorming.
The ideas expressed and views shared should be finally synthesized by the trainer or facilitator.
Other teaching aids
In addition to the above methods, a trainer could also use films, video
shows, slide shows, tape recordings, proverbs, fables, stories, poems
and drama as teaching aids.
Introducing the Modules of the Manual
The following sections discuss some suggested training processes and methods that can be used to introduce the modules of the manual in a training program.
Getting started and setting the context
Before introducing the substantive modules, it is important to begin a training program by ensuring that the facilitator and participants get to know one another, the contexts within which each is working and the experiences each already has in the area that is the focus of the training.
The opening sessions of a training program on ESC rights should have the following objectives:
1. Mutual introduction of participants and facilitator
2. Clarification of the participants’ expectations about the training program
3. Explanation of objectives of the program
4. Understanding participants’ perceptions of the program’s subject matter
5. Developing an understanding of the contexts within which the participants are working
6. Developing an understanding of the experiences (actions and interventions) already undertaken by participants in the ESC sphere
Following are some suggested ways for achieving these objectives. The trainer can decide on the length of time required for achieving each objective, based on the duration of the training program.
1. Mutual introduction
Mutual introduction of participants and facilitator is a first step in establishing a good rapport with and among participants. Normally, ice-breaking exercises help create an informal climate for participants to introduce themselves and get to know one another better.
2. Clarifying expectations
The introduction of participants should be followed by clarification regarding their expectations of the training program. Normally, information regarding what participants expect from the program will have been sought as part of the program’s preparation. Information regarding participants’ expectations is a way of assessing their training needs.
An exercise that can be used at the beginning of the program to clarify expectations is:
The facilitator draws a tree with just the roots and the trunk. The roots should be marked "perspective” or "objective” of the program, and the trunk "methodology.” The participants should be asked to add leaves consisting of their expectations. The drawing can be displayed during the program. At the end, they can be asked to add flower which represent what they have learned during the program.
3. Explanation of objectives of the program
A trainer or facilitator should explain the overall objectives of the program and clarify how the objectives take into account the expectations and needs of the participants. A facilitator should be willing to modify the structure of the training program if the expectations of the trainees are entirely different from the original objectives set by the facilitator.
After the expectations and objectives of the program are clarified, the facilitator should explain the day-to-day agenda as well as the structure and process of the program.
4. Understanding participants’ perceptions of the subject matter
It is important for the facilitator to develop an understanding of the participants’ perceptions of the subject matter of the training program. This step is critical, since effective learning takes place when the learning process begins with the perceptions of the learners. In the present context, the question would be the participants’ perceptions regarding human rights or, more specifically, economic, social and cultural rights.
Suggested Methods for Understanding Perceptions
Several exercises could be used to help the participants share their perceptions.
Participants are asked to write down on large, chart paper words they associate with human rights. (Alternatively, they could be asked about their associations to words such as poverty or development). The facilitator should set a time limit of three to five minutes for writing these words, and participants should not consult one another.
In the next step, the papers are displayed around the training room. The facilitator should first identify the common words and clarify their meaning from each participant; many common words may have emerged, but each person may have written the word with a different meaning in mind. In the next step the remaining words should be read out. Each person who wrote a word should explain why s/he wrote it. Through the process of explaining, the participants are sharing their ideas or perceptions regarding these basic concepts.
The participants are asked to narrate instances when they felt their rights had been violated. They should explain why they felt a violation was involved. This exercise helps clarify participants’ understanding of the term "rights” and related concepts.
Participants are asked to draw pictures or images they associate with human rights. They are then asked to explain the meaning of their pictures or images.
The facilitator asks participants to share experiences about when they felt powerful and felt powerless. Once everybody narrates, the facilitator should open discussion by asking what made them feel powerful or powerless. For example, was it a question of domination or a question of lack of knowledge or resources? Finally, the facilitator lists all the elements that contribute to a sense of power or powerlessness.
5. Understanding of the contexts within which the participants are working
This part of the session is devoted to the facilitator and participants’ developing a fuller understanding of the different contexts within which they work. This helps the participants to understand one another’s experiences and human rights concerns.
The participants describe their work, and then they and the facilitator jointly analyze the social, economic and political contexts within which their organizations work and the impact of these contexts on the enjoyment of ESC rights. At this stage, the participants may not share information by using terms such as social, economic and cultural rights; they may merely explain the problems faced by their groups.
A facilitator should provide a common framework for eliciting information from the participants. The following is an example of such a framework:
Based on the information shared by the participants, the facilitator should identify major issues, patterns and actors involved. These should be written on chart paper and displayed. They provide the context for the training on ESC rights activism. During the course of the training, the facilitator can draw upon them as examples of issues or problems. They can also be used as part of training exercises; for example, during the discussion on strategies, the facilitator could refer to these issues and ask the participants to develop appropriate strategies for dealing with them.
The facilitator elicits information on the contexts within which participants work by using the "web chart exercise.” In this exercise, each participant writes in the middle of the chart paper what s/he considers to be a major problem or issue. The causes of the problem are also written and their interconnectedness drawn. A web emerges showing various actors, institutions and factors that have a bearing on the issue. The facilitator should encourage participants to identify the cause, not the impact, of the issue or problem.
6. Developing an understanding of the experiences (actions and interventions) already undertaken by participants in the ESC sphere
The purpose of this part of the session is to seek information on actions and interventions already taken by the participants for dealing with the issues identified by them in the previous activity. This will help the facilitator to learn about and build on the experiences of the participants in dealing with ESC issues. It will also help in the later parts of the training program, which focus on developing strategies.
The facilitator can use various methods to elicit information from the participants, ranging from having them verbally narrate their experiences to drawing pictures or role-playing.
It is important that the facilitator summarize the information shared by the participants. It can be summarized as follows:
The facilitator can also share information or case studies on actions taken by groups in different parts of the world. The following report on the Nineteenth September National Union of Garment Workers in Mexico is an example that could be used for sharing information on organizations or movements in the countries from which participants come. The subsequent case study on the Kensington Welfare Rights Union in the United States could also be used in this session.