Session I-3: Expectations, rules and norms
Total time: 1 Hour, 5 minutes
Overview: Often trainees arrive without having given a lot of thought to training itself. Until now, many are likely to have been thinking more about actual Peace Corps service, speculating on what it will be like to live in a foreign culture or to be away from friends and family. In this session, trainees are encouraged to focus on what they expect, want and feel they need to get out of training. Comparing their expectations with those of their peers can serve both to alleviate some stress (there is comfort in finding that others share their hopes and fears), and to provide new food for thought regarding important skills or aspects training they may not have considered before. The staff will address the trainees' expectations, clarifying which are likely to be met, which probably will not be, and offering other comments that may help to explain and put into perspective some of the training methodology. This should help to establish a firm base, and should institute an atmosphere of trust that continues throughout the program.
1. The Master Trainer asks trainees to jot down, individually, 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. It may help them to get started if the trainer throws out some questions such as, "What do you think you'll be doing? What will the staff be doing? What will be easy/hard? How will you learn?" If the trainer does choose to ask these questions, make it clear that they are just meant to help them think and that each specific question does not need to be addressed individually.
2. The Master Trainer tells the 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).
3. 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.
4. 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, and should explain the role of the trainers. Make it very clear that they will facilitate the learning process, but will not initially serve as technical resources. (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 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). If appropriate, explain again why trainees' technical materials were collected.
5. The Master Trainer explains the rules of the training program, pointing out that rules are non-negotiable, 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:
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.
In concluding the session, the Master Trainer can recommend that the trainees keep a journal to help them track own progress and watch their own reactions to various situations, etc. (Journals will be private and will not be seen by staff).
At the completion of this session, make any necessary logistics announcements. Take a fifteen minute break before moving on to next activity.
Resources and Materials:
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