Session I-2: Orientation
Total Time: 4 hours, 35 minutes
Overview: The Orientation Session is the first formal meeting and serves as a welcome and introduction to the program. It is unlike most of the other activities that will occur in the program in that it has more of a lecture format (with staff members doing most of the lecturing), and it is considered more "pre-training" than actual training. It does, however, set a tone for the program and demands attention to detail and careful planning on the part of the staff in order to ensure a smooth, professional and comfortable atmosphere. The Orientation Session should serve to answer most of the trainees' more immediate questions about the general flow and logistics of the program and to fully address any necessary administrative business so that trainees leave the session prepared to begin training the following day.
1. Designated staff member(s) arrive at orientation area and make all necessary preparations. Set up includes:
2. Trainees arrive. A trainer greets them as they come in, collects a visa photo from each trainee with the trainee's name on the back, and gives each trainee his/her name tag.
Suggest that trainees who prefer to be called by a nickname write it on the name tag with a marker. Keep a list of any trainees who have not brought visa photos, and instruct them when and where to meet a trainer to have a photo taken. Trainees are seated.
3. The Project Director welcomes the trainees and presents an overview of the organizational structure of the training program, the training facilities and any other appropriate introductory information. The schedule for the orientation meeting is presented, and the training staff and any visiting Peace Corps or local officials are briefly introduced.
4. The Project Director (or visiting official from Peace Corps) gives a brief introduction to Peace Corps and goes through all of the mandatory and optional forms. He/she should have a copy of each form on hand to show trainees, as well as extra copies available for them to use. The trainees are given time to complete all of the forms as the Project Director goes over them, answering their questions as necessary. With the help of one or two trainers, all forms are collected. In addition to the Peace Corps forms, trainees are given two copies of a handout that lists the Grounds for Separation and the Assessment Dimensions for the program. They sign one copy and return it. The other copy is for them to keep in their personal files.
5. The Project Director (or visitor from Peace Corps) goes through the Peace Corps Policies with the trainees. Trainers participate by offering examples and observations from their own Peace Corps experience. Medical Policies are covered briefly (to be covered in more depth by the medical officer) and handouts on Malaria and AIDS (as well as any other handouts supplied by the medical office) are distributed.
6. Trainers should have refreshments (coffee, tea, soft drinks) available.
7. Each staff member introduces him/herself to the group, giving a brief description of his/her academic and work background and Peace Corps experience.
30 minutes (adjust based on size of group)
8. The Project Director or another staff member asks trainees to divide into pairs and spend ten minutes interviewing their partners. After the ten minutes, the group rejoins and each trainee introduces his/her partner to the group. Information provided should include (but not be limited to) the trainee's home state, university attended and academic major, country of assignment, and a brief statement about why the trainee first considered joining Peace Corps. Each introduction should be limited to approximately one and a half minutes, though usually they are shorter than that.
9. The Master Trainer or another staff member informs the trainees about the basic logistics of the program. Information to be covered includes:
40 minutes (Optional - See last point under Trainer Notes)
10. A. (5 minutes) Ask trainees to jot down some of the expectations they have about training. To help them with this suggest that they think about what they will need to get from/do in training in order to be effective overseas, and/or to think in terms of challenges they expect to face or skills they will need.
B. (20 minutes) Tell trainees that they will be breaking into small groups. Each group is to choose a recorder and a representative who will present their lists to the large group later. Within each small group, they are to spend 15 to 20 minutes discussing the lists of expectations they have as individuals, and compile a group list, on newsprint, of eight or ten main expectations that they have for training. After giving these instructions, indicate how the groups will be divided, and have them break up into those groups. (Groups should be of approximately five or six trainees each.
C. (15 minutes) A representative of each group comes up, one at a time, posts the group's newsprint and briefly runs through it, explaining the expectations listed.
11. The Master Trainer reviews the trainees' lists of expectations and addresses each point, giving some indication of whether or not the expectation is likely to be met during the training program. During this section, the Master Trainer can add other information relevant to the points being addressed. (For example, one trainee expectation might be that staff members will teach the trainees skills and share their experiences with the trainees. This would be an appropriate time for the Master Trainer to explain that, at least during the earlier part of the program, the trainers will not serve directly as technical resources and will not answer technical questions).
12. A. The Project Director or other staff member presents a general schedule for the ten weeks of training. It should be pointed out that this is a general overview of the flow of events, but that the actual schedule will be determined largely by the trainees' pace.
B. The Project Director makes some general statements about the program, including the following points:
C. The Project Director discusses the assessment component of the program, and informs trainees that assessment will be discussed further after the first week. Included in this discussion is the emphasis placed on self-assessment, staff assessment of trainees, note-taking by trainers, and the schedule for personal interviews. It is also made clear that special interviews can be scheduled at any time upon the request of the trainee or staff. The Project Director briefly reviews the assessment dimensions and grounds for separation, making reference to the form the trainees received earlier.
D. (Optional - See last point in Trainer Notes) The Master Trainer explains the rules of the training program, pointing out that rules are nonnegotiable, unlike norms. He/she also recommends to the trainees that they get together to develop a set of norms among themselves. Norms are negotiable policies that will enable them to coexist as comfortably as possible. Suggested topics for norms include smoking in common areas, noise,lights out, sharing of responsibilities for keeping rooms, vehicles and work areas clean, etc. Rules may include:
E. (Optional - See last point in Trainer Notes) The Master Trainer explains Individual Training, i.e., unless otherwise specified, all training activities should be considered to be individual. Individual training means that trainees work independent of one another, not independent of the staff, the training program, or other resources that become available. This is an extremely critical aspect of the training program. Reassure trainees that group activities and sharing of ideas will be built into the program as well, but that they will be notified about those activities as they occur.
13. The Master Trainer or another staff member makes announcements about what will follow for the remainder of the day, departure times for tomorrow, meeting time for evening slide show, etc. Included in these announcements is that trainees are to turn in any technical materials they brought with them to training. Explain that this is an important aspect of the program, reminding them of the comments made earlier about training being a different way of learning. Assure them that their materials will be returned to them later in the program. Designate a specific time and the staff member to whom they should give their materials. Ask them to bring two lists of everything they are turning in •one to be signed by the staff member and held by the trainee as a receipt, the other to be filed by the staff.
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