Stepping into the world of trainers with Foundation for Change

Yee Shin THant er frivillig i Foundation for Change, hvor hun bl.a. har deltaget i “training of Trainers”. her fortæller hun om, hvordan hun både har fået modet til at tale foran sin klasse, og hvordan hun har fået en ny familie i Foundation for Change.

Yee Shin Thant is a volunteer in Foundation for Change and has among other participated in the Training of Trainers (ToT). Here she tells about how she got the courage to speak in front of others and how she fells she has got a new family in Foundation for Change.

My name is Yee Shin Thant. I am studying English Specialization at University of Yangon. I am a teenager who has a strong passion for volunteerism. I always wish to share with people whoever they are. I love to support the community as much as I can, even if it may be just a little bit. Under the control of the atmosphere I was raised, I couldn’t do anything about volunteerism. I just lived for myself from dawn to dusk and I am the one who was satisfied just by entering charity organizations and donated things according the needs of local people.

One day, one of my best friends sent me a message. It was about an event calling for new Youth Volunteers and she asked me if I would like to join it. Without thinking too much about it, without knowing where the event was going to be held, and without having heard the name of the organization, I agreed to attend that event. I am very thankful to my friend for taking me there as well as me myself for making the best decision ever.

I can do more than I thought

As soon as I got there, I felt the warm atmosphere because the former members are very friendly and on that day, I learnt about Foundation for Change (FFC) (its background, vision and goals) and how it is working for the youths (through trainings, volunteer projects and exchange programs). Among the sub-group; Trainer, Social activity, Conversation Club, and PR & Communication, I became a member of both Trainer and Conversation Club. Here, I want to share my experiences form the training called Training of Trainers (ToT).

The ToT training reminded me of what I can do as a youth for my surroundings and community. It showed me that I can do more than I thought, and it pointed out the ethical living as a youth. I can apply the experiences I got from the training both in trainings and in reality. I guarantee the ToT training is a treasure for every youth as it is producing more precious youth volunteers, who will be the foundation of the future. I also would like to encourage youths to be a part of Foundation for Change volunteers and to participate in the empowering youth activities.

All together 28 youths joined ToT. All the former FFC members welcome us warmly and no one can know who new ones are if they see from outsiders’ views. Starting from the first night we arrived, I felt like I was not the old Yee Shin Thant who was shy and quiet. It was because of all my friends from FFC. They changed me to the new one who is active, open and friendly.

Going into the trainer world

We did exercises and had a lot of fun through getting-to-know-games and team building games from which I could realize what kind of person I am. I found out my weaknesses and strengths through these games and learnt so much knowledge through the lesson learnings sessions after the games. I didn’t know that we can get life lessons even from just small matters we are doing unconsciously or games.

I became familiar with several skills such as observation, presentation, questioning, feedback, improvisation, and summarizing skills, which have helped me a lot going into the trainer world. For instance, I began to notice what kind of questions I should ask to the participants; open or closed ones.

To say the truth, I was very bad at summarizing before the ToT, and so I always took the opening parts whenever I had to do presentations. After ToT training, I got confident to be the last speaker who has the responsibility to sum up all the content as I had learned about what should be included in summarizing and how to summarize. Based on these skills, I could analyze my participants and prepare effective activities and think of teaching methods.

Different is not necessarily difficult

Through the whole training, we discussed a lot for each session in many ways; open discussions, closed discussions, etc. I feel grateful to my friends for their active participation and discussing the lessons very seriously without tiring. In the past, I didn’t think about something very seriously and I didn’t try to think what other people are thinking. After the training, I did improve my critical thinking from the discussions and I could see the different personal glasses and also got a lesson not to judge only by my point of view as everything might have its own reason and solutions.

I realized the difference between the attitudes towards “Difficult” and “Different”. I used to think things were difficult for me to complete when I face with some obstacles. However, after ToT training, I starting thinking things in the view of “Different” not from the “Difficult” point of view. I really had a precious time with my lovely FFC friends in each and every session of ToT training.

Understanding the participants

One of the most enjoyable memories I got is learning about Adult Learning Style in which I could learn what kind of trainer I am. I learned about Keep-Add-Drop and Finger Models (feedback tools), which reminds me of things I need to adapt, avoid, keep doing, and things I am good at. We learned about the performance curve and how to motivate participants, which made me realize the situation of the participants during trainings and how I should change my training schedule according the participants. These lessons also made me improve my improvisation skills.

I never thought of the difference between participants even within a single training. During a live session at the ToT, I was given a mission to be a joker. This was a challenge both for me and for my trainer friends. Jokers in the trainings can delay the trainings or make other participants annoyed or disappointed, and through this session I got lessons on how to handle these kinds of situations.

Action Track also plays an important part in the training. I had to give training to a group of people at the end of ToT training. It was my first training ever and I was very nervous. I had to practice a lot before the action track. My friends from FFC motivated me telling me even they felt the same way. I am thankful to my friends because the action track finished successfully. I felt how helpful, friendly, and warm my friends are during the whole ToT. Especially, during live sessions and action track.

I felt like I got a new family

I could improve my communication skill not only because of the training but also because of the activities we did after the training time. Some of my friends played guitar untiringly and we all sang together happily, played games together very heartily though we had already been in the training for whole day. We shared our life experiences, ghost stories and funny things and we all laughed out loud together. These moments are the ones that tied our hearts and made us more and more familiar. I felt like I got a new family.

I’ve attended many trainings and workshops before. At that time, I didn’t know how much effort the trainers or facilitators need to put into the trainings and workshops, and how difficult it is to become a good facilitator. After attending ToT, planning, and experiencing the live sessions and action track, I realized what it involves to be a trainer or facilitator; the preparations, needs, attitudes, goals, and the hard work.

Seeing the trainers, I realized what I need to improve such as communication and presentation skill, what I should cultivate such as the habit of reading, being frank, and what I should quit doing for instance staying alone and being silent. I have changed a lot after ToT training both habitually and psychologically. I became active speaker in my classes and I got a lot of self-motivation from this training.