About the author:
Baf has taught in many educational settings in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. The following essay and pictures are derived from one of his many contracts to provide both clinical and Emergency Response Team (ERT) education to Nationals in Papua New Guinea. He is recognised as a member of the Huli Tribe in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea.
Key words and phrases:
Learner engagement; scenarios; research; submissive; formalised education setting; humanising; parasympathetic nervous system; learning problem; literacy; language, numeracy; ice breakers.
A common question we are often asked is how can a facilitator plan, deliver and assess a course so it has the maximum and positive impact on a learner who has both a limited formal education and a limited industry exposure.
These types of education delivery issues are often seen in both the on/off shore resources and construction sectors.
We advise that researching your student’s workplace and national culture is the first and most important step to a students absorbing useful learning outcomes. This will allow you to find out how they perceive the teacher/student relationship, their roles within a formalised education setting and their level of willingness to accept an education.
Some developing cultures are submissive to a teacher’s position and authority. They may find the act of asking questions to be a difficult task for the usual fears that some students tend to have all over the world: They don’t want to appear to ask a silly question in front of their peers or present a negative and unknowing attitude to their teacher. A key to finding out how formal the relationship is seen by the student is in how they address you.
Words such as “sir,” or being called by your last name “Mr. Smith” are pointers towards a submissive student culture. Other guides are if they never ask a question or if they walk behind you or always sit at the rear of the class.
Every facilitator should realise that all students no matter their location, level of education or culture have the same basic need and that is to learn, to enjoy the session and be recognised for their efforts.
Fig. 1 “Show and tell” is an excellent method of experience transfer.
Fig. 2 Rotate the students in the “team leader role.” Always ensure that safe lifting and work practices are taught and practiced from the start.
By introducing yourself with your first name; sharing a firm handshake and maintaining good eye contact are all excellent ice breakers. Explain that you have an accent and that its very good to ask questions if they didn’t understand any of the learning points. Enhance this important feedback loop by asking questions of the group.
“How did that go?” “Explain the last point to us.” Show me what you’ve learned today,” are all key feedback questions.
“Humanising” yourself is a great first step so both the students and the facilitator learn from and about each other.
A good facilitator’s mission must not be limited to simply just imparting experience, knowledge and skills, but also to form the class into a cohesive and a robust team that supports one and other in their learning journey.
Should the class be made of up students with poor language skills, then locate one who can act as a conduit to ensure the session is having its necessary positive learning impact.
When delivering a session, plan to have the practical session after lunch. See if you can be outside in the fresh air especially after lunch when the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in making your students tired and drowsy after a meal.
Taking the students to an actual workplace for their training and practicing their practical sessions is an excellent initiative that a good facilitator will use.
“Show and tell” is the best way to experience transfer complicated and tactile skills. Explain how you tie a knot while you are actually performing the skill then have the students do it with you. Just like your parents showed you how to tie a tie or do your shoe laces up. Then have the student explain and show you how to accomplish the task.
If they aren’t making the grade, then move on to see if the rest of the students have the same issue. The learning problem may well be you…!
In summary, like all sound business practices, good research is a key to success and is a valuable investment. We all research our subject matter; our mapping guides and learning outcomes. But all too many facilitators fail to simply research their student’s literacy, language and numeracy skills (LLN) and deliver according to the student’s needs and not their own.
(C) KIAH Health Pty Ltd Publications.
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