Running your session
Once the training needs assessment has been made, the selection of the main training objectives will become easier. There are some specific recommendations which will help the teachers to improve the quality and impact of each session:
1. Choosing the appropriate environment
The ideal size of the audience is between 20 and 30 participants. More than 30 participants does not allow for adequate interaction. To allow for an interactive atmosphere, the audience should if possible not be placed in a row but in a right-angle arrangement or in circle, so that all participants can see each other. As part of the work should be performed within small groups, there should be smaller meeting rooms available. The experience gained from the summer school course suggest that having coffee breaks and lunch on site is extremely helpful, enabling conversations and exchanges to go on over the entire day.
2. Introducing the course
A one hour session should be dedicated, at the beginning of the course, to allow the participants and the teachers to present themselves, to outline the results of the needs assessment, to discuss the objectives and planning of the session as well as the timeframe. The interactive approach used in EuTEACH training sessions should be emphasized.
3. Monitoring the pace and timeframe of the course
Using interactive methodologies is fruitful but requires time. In planning the sessions, the course manager should carefully balance the needs for plenary and small group sessions as well as the balance between lectures and questions and answer period, video or role play sessions, etc. As most of the time, several teachers will be involved in the different sessions, it is advisable that one tutor stays for the entire duration of the course to comment on the various presentations, to make links between various issues. This person is also responsible for keeping track of time (allow for enough breaks, and time for lunch) Usually, it is the person in charge of the organization of the course who takes over this task, but these responsibilities can be shared between two persons.
4. Enabling interaction
The person who is in charge of the course should make sure that the course is interactive, that the participants have enough time to ask questions and make comments. Usually, it is advised that at least 50% of the time should be devoted to exchanges such as questions, recounting owns experiences, role playing, meeting with adolescents, patients, etc (See: Guide to teaching methodologies). In many instances, participants will already have gained a lot of experience in the field of adolescent medicine and health. This background should be used as a resource during the course. The more the participants are active and can rely on their own professional experience, the greater the impact of the course.
Depending on the length of the course, 20 to 90 minutes should be left at the end of the course to fill in an evaluation sheet, so that the teachers get an insight of the positive and problematic aspects of the course, both in terms of content, training methods and general organization. Participants should be encouraged to add personal comments, since these remarks are often much – if not more – illuminating than the answers to the questionnaire. An open semi-structured discussion is also extremely helpful and allows for discussion on topics which have not necessarily been included in the formal evaluation
NEXT STEP : Evaluating a session