Training of trainers and why it is crucial!

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As an organisation which has been involved in youth work for some years already, we were very familiar with youth work. we have attended many youth exchanges, trainings, seminars and we also have been involved in European voluntary service projects, all this gave us many methods, skills and techniques on how to create a youth projects. Dealing with disabilities ourselves, we also thought we have some knowledge on how to be inclusive. However, something just didn’t feel right. It felt like there is a missing puzzle and after attending training of trainers in Deutchlandsberg, all became clear. We found it!

What we were lacking was a theory behind the youth project. And this is exactly what we have learned in training of trainers. Time was short, there was a lot of input from our trainers and it was not easy to memorise it all. Here are most important things we have learned during the project:

* How to structure individual activity: we’ve looked at single activity and how it is structured. We have learned that theoretical input can be placed before or after practical part and how to properly start and close the activity.

* Methodologies and learning styles: we discovered that each of us can be auditory, visual or kinesthetic learner. We need to have this in mind when preparing project activities and selecting methodology. Besides that, we need to have in mind that all the activities should be inclusive for all the project participants.

* What does it take to be a good trainer: what attitudes, knowledge and skills do we have that we can use when facilitating learning process? There are as many training styles as there are trainers, so we should find what is the most suitable for us. Being yourself, knowing your week and strong points and finding your own style is very important, if we want to be good trainers.

* How to give a feedback or no “but”: we’ve learned about sandwich technique when giving a feedback, which means we should always say what was good at the beginning and in the end and suggest improvements in between. We should avoid sentences like: “It was good, but…”.

* How to help participants to go from comfort zone to a “stretched” zone, this is where our brain is most receptive. We realized we learn the most when we are pushed just a bit out of our comfort zone, but not too much, otherwise we end up in panic zone.

After all the theoretical knowledge we were creating our own project activities, related to the modules of the project. Each group led one activity and we had to include all the learned knowledge and all other groups had to give “no but” feedback. It was amazing to see how we are all improving in all the aspects of being trainers.

We have gain a lot. Besides theoretical knowledge and practical experiences we became more confident as future trainers. Armed with the right skills, knowledge and attitudes we are going to create same trainings on local levels.

To be continued… stay tuned.