Tony Gurr

Advice from a few “old hands”…

In Adult Educators, Teacher Training on 09/01/2012 at 3:45 pm

In my last post, I shared some resources for those of you that might be considering the “leap” into teacher training (or “educator LEARNing” – please)!

This post went down quite well – and because I have been off the “matrix” for a few days, I thought I’d follow it up with a very practical activity that all trainers can use with their “trainee teacher trainers”.

Actually, it can also be used with newer teachers, too!

I developed this activity a few years back – bit of an accident, really. I was sitting with a few “old hands” and we got chatting about the ONE peice of advice that we would give to a group of trainers-in-training. We got quite a list together – and I built on this by e-mailing a few others (who couldn’t make our “beer o’clock session” – sorry, “trainer PD session”)!


The activity is quite simple:

1. Give your trainees the list of one-liners – and review it in a group of 3 or 4.

2. Then ask them to choose the bits of advice they want to include in their own “trainer’s creedo” – you’ll be surprised how many of them want to choose all of them (don’t let them – tell them they have to choose ONLY eight)!

3. Now, choosing 8 – as a group – is nigh on impossible (they have to discard two thirds of the items). So, ask them to come up with a rationale or justification as to why the items they have selected are sooooooooooo critical!

4. When all the groups have finished – pair a couple up and ask them to share their “trainer’s creedo”. However, the trick is to try and convince members of the other group to change a few of their items – easier said than done, look at the list of items (you can modify this to include a few of your “pet” ideas, too):

  • Focus on LEARNing – not TRAINing
  • Focus on emotional intelligence, integrity and compassion
  • Develop the person, not just the skills and knowledge
  • Develop the fluency – not just the literacy
  • Ask – don’t just tell
  • Prioritise “doing” – not just learning-by-listening
  • Think about growing a person from the inside – not changing them from the outside
  • Think “knowledge co-creation” – not knowledge transfer
  • Focus on individuals – not just the group
  • Remember adults (kids, too) want the 3Rs – Real, Respect, Responsibility
  • Think activities and tasks – not “content”
  • See yourself as an educator – not simply an “edutainer”
  • Think “story-telling” and learning conversations – not mini-lectures
  • Always “walk-your-talk”
  • Trainees want challenge, collaboration and choice – always (even when they don’t know it)!
  • Use variety in your materials, activities and grouping techniques
  • Feedback, feedback, feedback…and act on it!
  • Leave the ego at the door – it’s about “them”, not “you”
  • Try to create “learning opportunities” – not just humorous sound bites
  • Build trust – before getting to attitudes, beliefs and assumptions
  • Think engagement – not just artificial impact
  • Accentuate the positives – always
  • Resist the temptation to give answers – questions, questions, questions
  • Always have faith in people’s ability to learn for themselves

5. The follow-up “assignment” is to ask individuals to draft their own “creedo” – and “live” it!


Have a go! It’s good fun…

  1. The idea of the “trainer’s creedo” was developed from an idea from William Frey and Jose Cruz-Cruz (based on their article Developing Ethics Codes and Statements of Values).

    They made use of the “Pirates’ Creedo” and I’ve pasted a copy of this below:

    Pirates Creed of Ethics

    About the year 1640 the pirates formed a kind of democratic confraternity. Their vows formed the Custom of the Brothers of the Coast, often called the Pirates Creed of Ethics. It was in fact the social contract of the expedition. It was always signed by the whole ship’s company before any departure when the elected Captain and the officers prepared a charter-party. Every decision of importance was discussed, followed by a vote. Courage alone conferred distinction.

    A pirate ship was an extremely well-ordered floating community.

    1. Ye Captain shall have full command during the time of engagement, and shall have authority at all other times to conduct the ship accordingly. He who disobeys him may be punished unless the majority vote against the punishment.
    2. If ye Captain’s vessel is shipwrecked, the crew pledges to remain until he has possessed himself of a vessel. If the vessel is the common property of the crew, the first vessel captured shall belong to ye Captain with one share of the spoil.
    3. Ye ship’s surgeon shall have two hundred crowns for the maintenance of his medicine chest and he shall receive one part of the spoil.
    4. Ye other officers will receive each single part, and if ye distinguish yourself, the crew will determine how much reward to be given to ye.
    5. Ye spoil taken from a captured ship is to be distributed in equal portion.
    6. Ye who shall be the first to signal the appearance of the vessel that is captured, shall receive 100 hundred crowns.
    7. If ye lose an eye, or a hand or leg in ye said service, ye shall receive up to six slaves or six hundred crowns.
    8. Ye supplies and rations are to be shared equally.
    9. If ye introduce on board a woman in disguise, ye shall be punished to death.
    10. If one Brother steals from another, his nose or ears are to be cut off. If he sins again, he is to be given a musket, bullets, lead and a bottle of water and marooned on an island.
    11. If there is any doubt in a dispute between ye Brothers, a court of honor is to decide the verdict. If a Brother is proved in the wrong, the first time he shall be pardoned, but should he offend again, he shall be tied to a gun, and there shall receive from each of the ship’s company one strike of the lash. The same punishment shall be given to ye among us, including officers, who shall get drunk, while on the ship, to the point of losing ye senses.
    12. Whoever shall be placed on sentry, and upon his post shall go to sleep, shall in the first case be lashed by all the Brothers, and should he again offend, his head shall be split.
    13. All ye who shall plot to desert, or having deserted shall be captured, shall have ye heads split open.
    14. Quarrels between several Brothers whilst aboard ye ship shall be settled ashore with pistol and sword. He that draws first blood shall be the victor. No striking another whilst aboard ye ship.

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