Karen Stephens shares a favorite training tip in the book, Developing People (part of the Art of Leadership series). She describes it this way:
“Provide participants with a focus object they can hold and manipulate. The best focus objects symbolize something about the training and its intent. One of my favorite focus object strategies:
–When training participants arrive, there’s a small selection of mirrored pebbles at each seat. As the group gathers, I encourage them to make designs with their pebbles and to show them off to each other. They can keep the pebbles during the training in case they get fidgety.
–I begin the training session by sharing my personal philosophy of teaching – whether with children or adults. I envision myself as a pebble – a pebble with some knowledge about kids and some experience with them. Whenever I share my insights, I envision my pebbly-self dropped into a pond. I make a ripple that hopefully circles out widely to make a positive impact on all it touches – the training participants and the children in their care in particular.
–At the end of the training, just before participants leave, I hand each one a mirrored pebble to keep – a talisman if you will, to remind them of what they learned and of our shared commitment to children and families. I tell each person they’re a pebble, too, able to share knowledge with others so life is better for us all.”
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