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TOT/TDW and other peace corps acronyms

Posted by Thryn on May 23rd, 2009 filed in Teaching, Training

Quiche dinner in the transit house
Quiche dinner in the transit house

Those of us who are helping with training this summer/rainy season are in Yaounde this week and next for the TDW (Training Design Workshop) and TOT (Training of Trainers). Gabe and I are here designing the technical training sessions for the 5 incoming computer literacy trainees as well as working with the science and TEFL volunteers and trainers to design, organize and improve PST (Pre-Service Training). A lot goes into organizing the 11-week-long program. We decide, based on our own experience last year and input from other trainers and volunteers, what sessions to change, remove or add, and in what order to have them. But let’s remember that the Peace Corps is a U.S. Government organization so the way we do everything is handed down from the air-conditioned offices in Washington D.C. all the way to our conference room in the Peace Corps compound in Yaounde, Cameroon.

In an effort to standardize training worldwide, the Peace Corps wants each country to have 2-3 core competencies and sector competencies. These are the fundamental things that the trainees will have learned by the end of training. Then once we have the competencies, we write KSA’s for each of them (Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes required to achieve each competency). Then we break everything into technical training sessions, and for each session we have learning objectives. Now each of these learning objectives has to be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound) and include the Kirkpatrick Evaluation Model (clearly describe the performer, performance, condition, and standard). Semantics are paramount. Sound fun? It’s not that fun. But it has to be done and as long as we keep the big picture in mind–effectively training these new arrivals–we can make it through the tedious moments (like when we spend 15 minutes debating between the words “discuss” “identify” or “list” as the active verb in the learning objective.

In-between the semantic debates and frustrating arguments over logistical issues with the training calendar, we have time to relax, watch movies, and catch up with other volunteers we haven’t seen in a while. A few of us are cooking dinners for everyone most nights and I’m enjoying spending time with them in the kitchen (where we belong so Gabe says (he’s joking (allegedly))). But one of my favorite things of all is watching our APCD with a flip-chart. It’s a graceful dance of marker and paper that can only be described as pure magic.


2 Responses to “TOT/TDW and other peace corps acronyms”

  1. DAD Says:
    May 25th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Sounds like a very worthy project for the upcoming year. Keep up the great work. Both you and Gabe are always in our thoughts and prayers. Miss you lots!!!

    Dad and Terry

  2. Kevin Says:
    June 10th, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Sounds like public education.

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