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Clients and their understanding of the rules

By SIMON RAYBOULD Published 11th Sep 2013
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I did a day's training yesterday for a medium sized organisation on Reflective Practice. It went well (thank you for asking) but not without a raised eyebrow.

Two of the participants hadn't experienced any training before, knew each other, worked together and had a social work background. The result was that they had no concept of the etiquette of 'being trained'. For a start, turning up without a pen doesn't seem a sensible idea.

What was more interesting though was the fact that they needed to leave and use the toilet in the middle of exercises (several times :) ) even though the break was imminent... but what was really interesting was that they clearly ran out of steam at about 3:30 in the afternoon. Okay, so everyone gets tired when they're being trained (or is that just my clients?!) but everyone else in the room stayed with it until 4:30.

Is being trained a skill that needs exercise, like a muscle?  

How overt about the rules of engagement do we need to be?  I'm dogmatic about mobile phones for example but it never occurred to me to say "Don't walk out when other people are working" :)

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219 weeks ago, by James
I think it goes beyond the rules of attending a training course and into the rules of being a decent human being. It amazes me that people can be so rude when they are being invested in with training.

I suppose it's fair to say that they weren't in the engaged 37% that has been discussed on TL.
219 weeks ago, by Aboodi
If, as James says, it's about a lack of engagement, then that might be something to address early on.

When I deliver long programmes, we spend a good part of the first morning talking about engagement - not so much in setting ground-rules, but in exploring what it is to be engaged, and why we might want to dis-engage.

I also notice that people are most likely to dis-engage when the learning is uncomfortable - that's when people are most likely to want to use the bathroom, or when they suddenly have to make an urgent call.

I usually just go with it, but ask participants to pay attention to what might be happening at those times. As most of my trainings involve a certain amount of reflection and personal awareness, this simply becomes a part of the learning experience, rather than a distraction from it.
216 weeks ago, by Simon
I should have used a different phrase from 'rules of engagement'. I was using the phrase in a less jargon sense than it's been taken (my fault). It's not that they weren't engaged (in the trainer-jargon sense), just that they didn't understand the rules of how their behaviour impacted on the other learners. :(
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