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PLM –  Training  the  Way  we  Learn   Convergence   We  drove  into  Shell,  Ecuador  after  10  years  away.  The  little  town  where  the  Andes   Mountains  meet  the  Amazon  Jungle  sported  remarkable  changes.  New  roads  made   the  trip  faster,  better   signs  made  it  easier.   Some  things,  of   course,  remained  the   same  -­‐  like  cement   rotting  in  21  feet  of   annual  rainfall.  For   17  years  I  flew  over   Fig.  1:  Two  rivers  converge,  but  their  waters  remain  separate  until   this  jungle,  crossing   they  reach  the  same  temperature   river  junctions   hundreds  of  times,   each  branch  displaying  unique  color,  shape  and  speed.  When  they  met,  their  distinct   flows  ran  separately  for  a  long  distance.  Eventually  though,  they  merged  into  a   single  flow,  bigger,  stronger,  and  more  resolute  in  purpose  and  direction.  But  on  this   trip,  new  convergence  provided  the  biggest,  most  exciting  surprise.       In  February  2013,  three  distinct  ministry   traditions  converged  in  MAF’s  historic,  Nate  Saint   House:  HCJB  Global  <http://www.hcjb.org>,  a   radio  and  medical  mission  headquartered  in   Colorado  Springs,  Colorado;  Lifewater   International  <http://www.lifewater.org/>,  a  clean   water  supply  ministry  located  in  San  Louis   Obispo,  CA;  and  Mission  Aviation  Fellowship   <http://maflt.org/>,  an  aviation  and  technology   Fig.  2:  The  newly  restored  Nate  Saint   mission  with  a  world-­‐wide  support  center  in   House   Nampa,  Idaho.     They  came  together  to  present,  Integrating  Community  Health  and  the  Bible  —  A   Participatory  Skills  Workshop.  They  collaborated  to  train  19  trainers-­‐of-­‐trainers  how   to  coach  the  isolated  people  of  the  Amazon  jungle  and  Andes  mountains.  These   trainers  already  served  Ecuador’s  indigenous  residents  as  doctors,  medical  techs   and  engineers  with  Hospital  Voz  Andes  Community  Development  (a  division  of  HCJB   Global  known  locally  as,  “HVO  Community  Development”).  They  worked  in  fields   such  as  dentistry,  sanitation,  health  promotion,  clean  water  systems,  and   evangelism.  The  trainers’  indigenous  students  were  what  are  sometimes  referred  to   as,  “preferred  oral  communicators”  –  literate  by  definition,  but  who  don’t  consider   reading  a  practical  way  to  gain  knowledge  or  skill.       The  initial  impetus  for  the  Shell  workshop  came  in  March  2011  when  Sheila  Leech,   Page   1  of  15  

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx  


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   HVO  Vice  President  of  Healthcare  based  in  Quito,  Ecuador,  traveled  to  Ghana,  Africa   to  attend  a  Lifewater  International  workshop.    Sheila  supervises  a  team  of  doctors,   dentists,  health  promoters,  engineers,  and  technicians  scattered  across  Ecuador’s   diverse  terrain  working  with  the  remote  indigenous  populations.  Although  HVO   Community  Development  department  had  enjoyed  many  years  of  successful   ministry,  she  realized  that  the  key  to  more  effective  community  involvement  was  to   fully  engage  the  preferred  oral  communicators  who  formed  the  majority  of  the   people  in  her  team’s  ministry  area.  

PLM –  A  Different  Approach   The  Ghana  workshop  employed  a  unique  process  called  Participatory  Learning   Method  (PLM).  Lifewater  Field  Trainer  and  workshop  director,  Susan  Etts  (not  her   real  name),  explained  research  showing  we  remember  20%  of  what  we  hear  once,   40%  of  what  we  hear  and  see,  and  80%  of  what  we  hear,  see  and  do.  PLM   instructors,  therefore,  use  presentation  methods  utilizing  all  three  modes  —   hearing,  seeing  and  doing  —  simultaneously.  This  not  only  increases  skill  and   knowledge  retention,  it  also  treats  the  student  as  an  equal  partner  in  the  training   process—an  intelligent  participant  eager  to  learn  rather  than  ignorant  recipient   needing  charity.  

Assembling The  Team   In  September  2011  Sheila  invited  Susan  to  conduct  a  PLM  workshop  in  Ecuador   focused  on  helping  Sheila’s  staff  of  professionals  meet  their  ministry’s  unique   challenges.  While  this  workshop  was  not  an  official  Lifewater  event,  Susan  received   permission  from  Lifewater  to  use  their  materials  and  technique.     Susan  holds  a  Masters  degree  in  Geology  &  Geophysics  and  gained  training   experience  as  a  naturalist  in  US  National  Parks.  That,  in  turn,  led  her  towards  what   has  become  her  vocational  passion,  developing  non-­‐traditional  means  for  effective   adult  learning.       In  August  of  2011  Susan  added  a  powerful  tool  to  her  repertoire  by  participating  in   an  Oral  Strategies  Workshop  conducted  by  Mission  Aviation  Fellowship’s  Learning   Technologies  division  (MAF-­‐LT)  at  their  Nampa,  Idaho  headquarters.  Susan   participated  in  an  STS  (Simply  the  Story)  workshop  in  January  of  2010,  then   connected  with  veteran  MAF  missionary,  Regina  Manley,  a  few  months  later  during   online  storytelling  practice  sessions.  Regina  invited  Susan  to  be  part  of  the  training   team  for  the  August  2011  workshop.     After  serving  17  years  in  Ecuador  with  MAF,  Regina  earned  her  masters  degree  in   Applied  Linguistics  from  Biola  University.  While  doing  that  she  became  burdened  to   help  primary  oral  communicators  overcome  the  literacy  barrier  -­‐  an  obstacle  that   hindered  their  deeper  knowledge  of  God’s  Word  and  excluded  them  from  most   church  leadership  positions.  Now  Regina  trains  church  leaders  around  the  world   Page  2  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   how  to  help  preferred  oral  communicators  discover  Bible  truths  for  themselves   using  an  oral-­‐style,  inductive  Bible  study.  (Full  disclosure:  Regina  is  the  author’s   wife)     Susan  immediately  assembled  her   training  team  for  the  Ecuador  PLM   workshop  by  recruiting  Regina  from  MAF   and  Richlyn  Poor  (not  her  real  name)  to   help  run  the  workshop.       Richlyn  is  a  participatory  trainer  from   Mission  Enablers  International  who  has   also  completed  the  Lifewater  facilitator   training.  She  earned  a  PhD  in  entomology     in  order  to  help  the  poor  through  the   Fig.  3:  Richlyn  Poor,  Susan  Etts,  and  Regina   application  of  good  science.  But  she  soon   Manley  served  as  PLM  instructors   realized  that  her  real  calling  was  as  an   educator.  She  and  her  husband  have  served  in  many  locations  around  the  world   with  ministries  such  as  YWAM  (Youth  With  A  Mission)  and  Mission  Enablers   International.    

The Students   This  workshop’s  students  -­‐  all  trainers  of  trainers  -­‐  converged  from  different   cultures  and  languages.  The  four  indigenous  leaders  and  interns  came  from  the   Shuar  and  Quichua  people  groups  of  the  Amazon  Jungle  and  Andes  Mountains.   Spanish  was  their  second  language,  English  their  third.  Six  were  “Latinos”  from   Ecuador’s  predominant  Spanish  speaking  culture,  all  engineers  or  medical   professionals.  Rounding  out  the  student  roster  were  one  medical  student  from   America,  “Alex”  the  HVO  Community  Development  director  from  England,  an   American  Physicians  Assistant  missionary,  a  Community  Development  missionary   from  America,  a  Swedish  mid-­‐wife,  an  American  couple  -­‐  both  engineers,  a  Dutch   electrical  engineer,  and  a  Scottish  mechanical  engineer.       Of  the  six  languages  represented  by  the  group,  Susan  and  her  facilitator  team  chose   Spanish  and  English  for  the  sessions.  Because  there  were  a  few  students  who  spoke   only  English,  or  only  Spanish,  they  delivered  most  presentations  in  one  of  those  two   languages  and  then  immediately  translated  into  the  other.  The  workshop  took   longer,  but  included  everyone  on  a  deeper  level.    

Workshop Goals   The  workshop  goal  was  both  to  impart  PLM  skills  to  the  HVO’s  community   development  (CD)  field  workers,  and  to  also  inspire  them  to  use  the  PLM  in  their   field  work.  However  the  deeper  objective  was  to  create  an  opportunity  for  these   trainers,  as  representatives  of  Christ’s  culture,  to  confront  a  secular  worldview,  not   Page  3  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   by  lecturing  about  heavenly  values,  but  by  demonstrating  Christian  values  in  full   view  of  closely  knit  communities.       To  achieve  that,  Susan  and  her  team  demonstrated  the  PLM  which  could,  if  properly   implemented,  move  village  people  from  passive  receivers  to  active  doers,  from   bored  watchers  to  committed  managers.  At  the  conclusion  of  the  PLM  workshop,  the   participants  should  be  able  to  train  villagers  as  adults,  not  as  uneducated  children.   But,  can  complex  technical  topics  be  taught  using  such  simple  techniques?  Would   highly  educated  professionals  accept  them  as  serious  tools?  It  seemed,  therefore,   that  the  workshop  instructors  had  to  train  the  participants  in  three  areas:       • Knowledge  -­‐  Employ  PLM  method  to  train  village  students  in  technical  subjects     • Competency  -­‐  Discern  the  difference  between  training  methods  (determined  by   the  student’s  culture)  and  training  topics  (determined  by  the  student’s  needs)     •

Values -­‐  Trust  that  the  Holy  Spirit  would  lead  them  in  their  technical  work,  and   that  they  would  inspire  their  village  students  to  imitate  them  

Workshop Opening   The  workshop’s  first  morning  started  dark  with  thick,  low  hanging  clouds  tangled  in   treetops.  The  Shuar  Indians  call  that  kind  of  wet  air  “chipi-­‐chipi”—halfway    between   drizzle  and  mist.  Its  light  drumming  on  leaf  and  roof  sang  a  soothing,  stay-­‐in-­‐bed   song  that  soaked  everything  uncovered  and  dampened  everything  under  a  roof.   Once  inside  the  meeting  room,  I  opened  all  doors  and  windows  and  turned  on  the   fans.  Only  moving  air  blunts  the  edge  of  the   Amazon’s  pervasive  moldy  odor.  Dry  is  a   relative  term  that  means  only  less  wet.     The  students  stomped  shoes  and  shook   umbrellas  under  the  roof  outside,  then   tramped  in  setting  reopened  umbrellas  to   one  side.  Little  knots  formed,  soft  talking   among  those  already  acquainted  as  each  one   registered,  received  a  name  tag  and  moved   slowly  towards  the  circle  of  waiting  green   Fig.  4:  Umbrellas  set  in  rows  are  a   plastic  armchairs  at  the  far  end  of  the  room.   common  sight  in  Shell,  Ecuador   After  most  entered,  the  rain  suddenly   increased,  pounded  hard  for  an  hour,  drowned  road  noise  and  reduced  visibility  to  a   few  yards.  Richlyn,  sitting  in  the  circle,  spoke  loud  above  the  rain  to  welcome   everyone  and  prayed,  waited  for  translation,  then  explained  workshop  procedures.      

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Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   Next  Regina  stood  and  told  the  story  of  the  four  men  who  lowered  the  paralytic   through  a  hole  in  a  roof  to  get  to   Jesus  (Luke  5:17-­‐26).  Then  she  asked   the  students  to  divide  into  groups  of   two  or  three  and  retell  the  story  to   each  other.  After  a  few  minutes  she   called  them  back  together  and  retold   the  story.  She  followed  that  with  a   half-­‐hour  of  questions  and   discussion.  Most  students  leaned   forward  in  their  chairs,  smiled,     laughed  often  and  engaged  Regina   Fig.  5:  Regina  tells  the  story  of  four  men  lowering   and  each  other.  A  few,  however,  sat   their  friend  through  a  hole  in  a  roof   back,  silent,  with  arms  folded  and   brows  furrowed  -­‐-­‐  clearly  a  mixed  reception  from  busy  engineers  and  medical   practitioners  present  for  diverse  reasons.       Then  Richlyn  directed  the  first  of  many  activities.  She  asked  the  group  to  stand,  push   back  the  chairs  and  make  a  large  circle  that  included  everyone.  Next  she  produced  a   large  spool  of  orange  yarn  and  said.  “I’d  like  you  to  say  your  name,  then  pick   someone  else  in  the  group  and  say   why  you  need  him  or  her.  Then   toss  the  spool  to  them.  When  you   receive  the  yarn,  do  the  same.  We’ll   continue  until  everyone’s   included.”       She  said  her  name  then  tossed  the   spool  to  a  woman  across  the  circle.   This  lady  copied  the  procedure   saying  her  name  and  tossing  it  to   someone  else.  Everyone  repeated   Fig.  6:  The  yarn  toss  exercise  as  a  demonstration  of   the  procedure  until  all  were   how  the  Body  of  Christ  functions   included.  Then  Richlyn  had   everyone  pull  tight  until  a  multi-­‐pointed  star  formed.  “And  this,”  she  said,   “illustrates  how  the  Body  of  Christ  works.  We  all  need  each  other,  we  are   interdependent.”  Finally  she  asked  someone  to  read  1Corinthians  12:  12,  24-­‐27.  

Adult Learning   This  seemingly  childish  exercise  actually  capitalized  on  best  adult-­‐learning   practices.  Two  factors  often  reduce  adult  course  effectiveness:     • Misconceptions  such  as:     o Everyone  wants  to  learn   o Everyone  learns  the  same  way   Page  5  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   o Once  learned,  knowledge  is  forever   o Everyone  can  integrate  and  apply  knowledge.       Designing  for  the  students’  lowest  common  denominator    

• Adult  learning,  however,  recognizes  that  all  learners  are  different.  Effective   instruction,  therefore,  must:   • Center  on  the  learner  himself   • Be  relevant  to  his  needs  and  interests   • Be  current  and  practical   • Be  action  oriented   • Solve  real  problems  or  issues   • Allow  him  to  discover  for  himself  how  it  applies  to  his  own  life   • Respect  the  student’s  life-­‐experience  knowledge  

Unpacking PLM   But  how  does  PLM  actually   work  in  the  classroom?  First,  it   sets  aside  (but  does  not   eliminate)  the  traditional   classroom  where  students  sit  in   rows,  all  facing  forward   towards  an  expert  who  lectures.   Instead  a  PLM  class  that   requires  sitting  has  all  chairs   circled,  facing  a  common  center.   This  involves  all  students  in  the   activities,  encourages   interaction  and  enhances  their   shared  experience.      

Fig. 7:  Four  engineers  work  on  a  rural  community   development  scenario  

Fig. 8:  Ad-­‐hoc  groups  spread  out  in  the  historic  Nate  Saint   House  to  work  on  their  projects   Page  6  of  15

Second, the  instructor  (who  is   likely  an  expert  in  the   material  to  be  covered)   facilitates  rather  than   lectures.  Guided  by  1   Thessalonians  5:11,  this   inspiration  reveals  itself  in   techniques  such  as  the   instructor  remaining  seated,   staying  on  the  participants’   level  as  much  as  possible.  He   or  she  asks  for  volunteers  to   answer  questions  rather  than   chooses  someone  to  respond.    

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   PLM  asks  the  instructors  to  show  interest  in  a  student’s  response,  to  use  the   student’s  name  (or  culturally  appropriate  title);  to  speak  clearly  and  give  clear   directions;  to  thank  a  student  for  responding;  and  to  repeat  a  summary  of  the   student’s  answer.       A  straight  lecture  presents  information  more   efficiently,  but  PLM  instructors  take  the  extra   time  and  make  the  additional  effort  to  draw   critical  thinking  out  of  the  students  themselves.   This  not  only  strengthens  the  students’   confidence  in  their  own  ability  to  define  and   solve  problems,  but  is  also  an  action  itself  that   reinforces  their  knowledge  retention  and  skill   acquisition.           A  PLM  workshop  consists  of  repeated  cycles  of   first  doing  an  activity,  and  then  reflecting  as  a   group  on  lessons  learned.  The  instructor   chooses  several  activities  each  of  which   emphasizes  a  different  learning  style.  For   example  one  activity  might  require  the   students  to  draw  pictures  or  diagrams  that   illustrate  different  parts  of  a  project’s   workflow.  Or  they  might  create  a  story  or   present  a  drama  that  illustrates  a  group  finding   a  solution  to  a  community  problem.  Sometimes   starting  a  simple  discussion  reveals  new  ideas.   Or  occasionally  reading  and  lecture  might  be   the  best  way  to  transfer  facts.  Not  all  styles   appeal  to  all  students,  but  by  using  a  variety  the   facilitator  can  involve  most  students.     The  activity  part  of  the  cycle  usually  divides  the   larger  student  body  into  smaller  groups  of  2-­‐5   each.  The  facilitator  defines  group  membership   each  time  using  a  range  of  practical  criteria   mixed  with  arbitrary.  For  example,  she  might   Fig.  9:  Possible  instruction  methods   have  each  discipline  form  a  group  —  water   range  from  those  requiring   engineers  together,  sanitation  engineers   minimal  student  participation   together,  medical  technicians  together,  etc.  Or,   to  those  demanding  complete   involvement   she  might  direct  the  entire  body  to  count-­‐off  by   fours  to  define  the  groups.     Then  she  presents  a  scenario  such  as  helping  a  village  solve  a  clean  water  supply   problem.  Each  group  is  charged  with  developing  a  lesson  plan  for  their  target  group   Page  7  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   using  PLM.  At  the  end  of  the  activity  everyone  meets  together  and  each  group   presents  its  lesson  to  the  other  students  who  act  as  the  village  residents.       Activity,  by  itself,  does  not  guarantee  reaching  the  desired  outcomes.  It  also  requires   honest  reflection  on  issues  the  activity  reveals.  For  PLM  success,  that  reflection   depends  upon  two  ingredients.     First,  each  participant  must  pursue  his  or  her  own  learning  rather  than  waiting  as  a   passive  receiver.       Second,  a  group  of  such  participants  must  commit  to  proactive  sharing  in  order  to   learn  together.  

Workshop Actions     After  the  first  two  activities—Bible  storytelling  and   and  the   I.discussion,   M yarn-­‐toss  exercise—Susan  outlined  the  workshop  administrative  details  and  the   week’s  schedule.     “Today,”  she  said,  “we’ll  look  at  the  biblical  foundations  of  community  development,   as  well  as  some  basic  community  development  principles.       Tuesday  and  Wednesday,  we’ll  focus  on  practicing  skills  and  role-­‐playing.  Thursday   you  become  facilitators  and  teach  each  other.  Finally  on  Friday,  we’ll  talk  about  how   to  apply  PLM  to  your  work.”     “Each  day,”  she  continued,  we’ll   begin  with  prayer.  At  the  end  of   the  day,  we’ll  give  you  a  few   minutes  to  evaluate  the  day.   Then  the  next  morning  we’ll   discuss  your  feedback  from  the   evening  before.”       Then  she  cautioned  the  students,   “You’ll  like  some  of  these   activities,  but  others  will  make   Fig.  10:  Each  an  authority  in  their  own  field,  these   you  uncomfortable  depending   professionals  learn  the  slower,  but  more   upon  how  the  activity  style   effective  process  of  earning  “buy  in”  from  the   compares  with  your  learning   communities  they  serve   style.”  Then  she  added,  “This   method  takes  more  time  than  a  traditional  lecture.  And,  some  of  the  activities  might   seem  like  childish  games  rather  than  serious  scholarship.  But  please  trust  us  for   these  few  days.  This  method  really  works.”    

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Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   Activity  Example:  Your  Workshop  Goals  And  Expectations   Regina  then  asked  the  entire  class  to  divide  into  small  groups  according  to  specific   criteria.  Each  group  must  have  one  member  from  each  area  of  Ecuador,  one  from   each  professional  discipline,  at  least  one  person  of  each  gender,  and  finally  at  least   one  Ecuadorian  and  one  foreigner.       Richlyn  stepped  up  to  outline  the  third  activity  saying.  “I’d  like  each  person  to  write   out  their  answers  to  these  two  questions:  ‘What  do  you  hope  to  get  out  of  this   workshop?’  and  ‘What  concerns  do  you  have  about  this  workshop?’”  Then  she   added,  motioning  towards  a  large  blank  paper  taped  to  the  sawed-­‐board  wall,   “When  everyone’s  completed  their  answers,  share  them  within  your  group.  Then   each  group  will  compile  group  responses  and  post  them  on  the  wall  here.  You  have   30  minutes.”     Chairs  scrapped  back.  Everyone   talked  at  once.  Some  stood.  Some   sat  trying  to  form  a  group  nucleus.   Couples  split  to  join  separate   groups.  Excess  members  in  one   criteria  were  bartered  for  someone   meeting  a  missing  requirement.   Finally  two,  6-­‐member  groups  and   one  7-­‐member  group  emerged.  The   noise  dropped  as  individuals  wrote   their  own  answers,  then  rose  again   as  the  groups  worked  out  internal   Fig.  11:  Groups  posted  their  hopes  (aspiraciones)  and   compromises.  One  member  from   concerns  (preocupaciones)  about  the  PLM   each  group  jumped  up,  posting   workshop  in  multiple  languages   their  answers  on  the  board.     By  28  minutes  everyone  was  seated  together  again.  Richlyn  began  the  discussion  of   the  groups’  findings  by  asking  a  representative  of  each  group  to  read  aloud  what   they’d  posted  and  explain  their  thinking.  Quickly  a  common  theme  emerged:  What’s   the  goal  of  this  course?       Susan,  also  seated  in  the  circle,  responded,  “The  course  goal  is  to  help  you   understand  better  how  people  learn,  and  to  acquire  skills  that  help  the  people  you   work  with  …  achieve  transformation  in  real-­‐life  situations.”       After  more  discussion  about  the  course  and  its  goals,  Susan  said,  “We  just  learned   that,  despite  everything  we’d  done  beforehand,  the  course  purpose  was  not  clear.   Does  this  ever  happen  in  the  communities  you  work  in?”     Most  students  answered  yes,  some  nodding  for  emphasis,  some  chuckling  ironically.   Page  9  of  15

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PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   Susan  continued,  “See,  you’ve  already  discovered  the  first  lesson  from  this  course.   Your  first  task  is  to  develop  very  big  ears  and  learn  to  listen  to  what  the  people  are   really  saying.  In  this  workshop,  we  instructors  are  learning  with  you.  We’ll  try  to   listen  to  you,  to  understand  what  your  real  needs  are,  and  then  modify  this   workshop  to  meet  those  needs.”  

Activity Example:  Your  Present  Ministry  Efforts   This  activity  divided  the  students  according  to  job  speciality.  “Answer  these   questions,”  Susan  said  pointing  to  a  list  taped  to  the  wall,  “then  compile  group   answers.  We’ll  start  the  presentations  when  we  reassemble,  then  complete  them   after  lunch.  You  have  30  minutes.”     The  list  read:   • What are you doing in your communities now? • How are you listening to the community? • How do you know what they want for their future? • What are the ways you are teaching the people? • What’s most effective? Why?

Activity Example:  Ambassadors  of  God’s  Love     This  activity  began  with  a  Bible   study  called,  Ambassadors  of   God’s  Love  that  examined  the   process  of  transformation  and   our  role  as  His  ambassadors.   Susan  spoke  and  illustrated  the   effects  of  brokenness  on  people’s   three  relationships  —  with  God,   with  each  other,  and  with  their   environment.       This  included  her  teaching,  as   well  as  volunteers  reading   selected  scripture  portions  aloud.   She  drew  an  illustration  on  a  flip   Fig.  12:  This  simple  diagram  illustrates  our  three   chart  as  she  talked,  picturing  the   relationships  described  in  Genisis—with  God,   three  relationships.  She  asked  the   with  each  other,  and  with  our  environment   students,  “What  words  describe   our  relationship  with  God  at  the  beginning  of  creation?”  then  taped  a  large,  two   Page  10  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   headed  arrow  between  the  picture  representing  us  as  individuals  and  God.  She   repeated  the  question  for  our  relationship  with  others  and  with  our  environment   also  attaching  arrows.  She  continued  the  study  teaching  how  the  Fall  broke  those   three  relationships  and  how  Jesus  restores  them.     After  30  minutes,  she  asked  the  students  to  line  up  according  to  birth  month,  the   divided  them  into  four  groups.  She  asked,  “What  does  that  restoration  process  look   like?  And  what’s  our  role  as  His  ambassadors  in  the  process?”  Next  she  assigned   each  group  a  relationship  from  the  Bible  study  to  focus  on:  mankind  overall;   ourselves  as  individuals;  people  within  our  relationships;  and  our  environment.   Finally  she  said,  “I’d  like  each  group  to  present  a  short  drama  about  their  assigned   area  when  we  reassemble.”      

Activity Example:  Pathway  Questions   Susan  used  a  Diarrhea  Cycle  study  —  a  pertinent  topic  for  community  development   workers  —  to  teach  Pathway  Questions.  First  a  pre-­‐prepared  team  presented  a   short  drama  depicting  the  diarrhea  cycle  operating  in  a  village  setting.  Then  as  part   of  the  ensuing  discussion,  she  distributed  drawings  illustrating  various  key  points   and  vectors  in  the  cycle.  “What  do  each  of  these  pictures  mean?”  she  asked.     After  further  discussion,  she  instructed  the  students  to  place  the  drawings  on  the   floor  in  the  center  of  the  circle,   then  distributed  short  lengths  of   string  to  each  of  them.  Next  she   asked  them  to  rearrange  the   pictures  and  then  connect  them   with  the  string  to  illustrate  the   diarrhea  cycle.  Then  end  result   yielded  a  schematic  diagram  of  the   bacteria  path  from  source  to   human.  Finally  she  asked  them  to   place  the  remaining  pictures  on   the  diagram  to  show  various  ways   to  block  the  path.       “Each  group’s  assignment,”  she   Fig.  13:  Pathway  Questions  can  be  an  effective  way  to   said,  “is  to  prepare  an  activity   communicate  complex  cause-­‐and-­‐effect   using  the  Pathway  Question   relationships   method  that  teaches  something  in   your  field  of  ministry.  Paper,  string  and  markers  are  on  this  table.  You  have  30   minutes  to  develop  the  idea  and  another  30  minutes  to  prepare  your  materials.   We’ll  begin  the  presentations  following  the  afternoon  break.”    

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PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   Activity  Example:  Making  the  Tippy-­‐Tap   At  the  end  of  the  third  day,  Susan  conducted  an  extra  session  to  train  the  students   how  make  a  “Tippy-­‐Tap”  from  commonly  available  materials.  The  Tippy-­‐Tap  is  an   inexpensive  way  to  create  an  effective  hand-­‐washing  station  that  does  not  use  large   amounts  of  water.  Materials   included  a  1-­‐2  liter  (half  to  one   gallon)  plastic  bottle,  strong   string  or  cord,  a  candle,  matches   or  other  flame  source,  a  5-­‐10cm   (2-­‐4  in)  long  nail,  and  a   handkerchief  sized  rag.         The  nail,  held  by  hand  with  the   rag  for  protection,  was  heated  in   the  lit  candle,  then  used  to  make   strategically  located  holes  in  the   plastic  bottle.  String  was  tied  at   various  points  to  suspend  the   bottle,  and  to  provide  a  pull-­‐cord   to  tip  the  suspended  assembly.   Fig.  14:  An  easily  constructed  Tippy-­‐Tap  can  have  a   profound  affect  on  a  community’s  health.   The  bottle  was  partially  filled   Convincing  a  community  to  make  and  use   with  water  and  hung  chest  high.   them  is  often  a  bigger  challenge   The  suspend  point  was  chosen  so   that  the  filled  bottle  would  hang   with  the  opening  above  the  water  level.  A  user  would  insert  her  hand  into  the  pull-­‐ cord  loop  and  apply  gentle  downward  pressure.  When  the  tipping  bottle  reached  a   certain  point,  a  small  amount  of  water  flowed  out  into  the  cupped  hands  waiting   below.  The  user  controlled  the  flow  by  varying  the  downward  pressure.  

Workshop Results  

Fig.  15:  An  engineer  prepares  drawings  for  a  Pathways   Question  exercise   Page  12  of  15

Can complex  technical  topics  be   taught  using  such  basic   techniques?  I  observed  highly   trained,  technical  professionals   of  various  engineering  and   medical  specialties  grapple  with   a  learning  process  that,  to  them,   seemed  simplistic  and   excruciatingly  slow.  Mandated   attendance,  initially  met  with   folded-­‐arm  reluctance,  slowly   thawed  as  they  designed  and   made  their  own  lessons.  Quiet,   straight-­‐backed  small  group    

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   meetings  soon  gave  way  to  laughing  and  leaning  across  tables.  I  saw  them  kneel  on   the  floor  to  draw  and  arrange  pictures.  Smiling  conspiratorially,  small  cabals   clustered  in  back  corners  rehearsing  dramas.  Reluctant  observers  became   enthusiastic  participants.  Even  the  sophisticated  stoics  of  the  group  had  fun.       The  key  to  community  buy-­‐in  of  new  practices  centers  on  individual  residents   trusting  the  presenters  themselves.  Without  trust  the  presenters  only  motivate   actions  of  courtesy  or  duty.  However  when  community  members  trust  the  outside   experts,  real  transformation— physical,  social,  intellectual   and  spiritual—becomes   possible.       The  presenters  earn  trust   three  ways.  First,  they  take  the   time  to  build  one-­‐on-­‐one  and   group  relationships  in   culturally  appropriate  ways   (e.g.  sitting  in  a  circle  for  hours   drinking  tea  with  the  elders).   Second,  they  present  course   content  the  community   Fig.  16:  Richlyn  kneels  to  emphasize  a  point  while  playing  a   chooses  to  learn.  Third,  they   “game”   use  training  techniques  that   capitalize  on  the  way   community  members  best  learn.       PLM  provides  not  only  an  effective  way  to  train  students  of  differing  abilities,  it  also   enhances  their  desire  to  gain  that  information.  That,  in  itself,  is  a  worthy   accomplishment.  But  more  significantly,  the  community  development  workers’   enhanced  credibility  gained  from  using  PLM  frequently  earns  them  the  right  to  be   heard  on  other,  more  important,  topics  such  as  the  message  of  eternal  life.  

Appendix -­‐  Excerpts  from  participants’  feedback:   Stuart  -­‐  Medical  Student  (USA)   “I have to work with adults in community health. These techniques will help me work with them more effectively.”

Miriam -­‐  Nurse  Practitioner  (USA)   “Two things that impacted me, [first] the reason why I’m doing this is … to reconcile all these parts and in the process of … participatory learning to know that that is restoring relationships. And it’s not in one way, but both ways. … Page  13  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   This is how adults learn, [pointing to picture she drew] this person is watching another do something and gets interested. And so the other one lets him do it. Then the person is doing it and the other is watching. Now the person can do it by him or herself.”

Alexandra -­‐  HVO  Director  Community  Development  (UK)   “[This workshop was different because] it was us contributing rather than being taught. And it’s almost like we don’t notice that we’re learning all of the methods. Instead of saying these are the five methods that you should use when you’re teaching … [they showed it to us and said] … go and practice. And some of them haven’t even realized that they know the methods now. Whereas, I’m used to a lecture style and getting tons of handouts. And I’m one who writes everything, so I normally have my notebook and I write down everything that’s being said. I think I’ve written [only] a half of a page in the entire week!”

Lisandro -­‐  Water  Technician,  Intern  (Shuar  tribe,  Ecuador)   “…so much of this course was new for me. … God loves his entire creation so He sent His teachers to us. God has a purpose for a community or a church congregation. God wants to use me to help facilitate his working out his plan with them. Working step by step.”

Ian -­‐  Mechanical  Engineer  (UK)   “…we’ve had different groups during this week. And the product is always better than the work of us individually; it is better to be together. … The second part that is important for me is that God is LORD … as we see in Ephesians 2:10, we are his workmanship. And the good work of God is for us to work.”

 

Fig. 17:  A  dentist  and  engineer  present  a  lesson  on   how  to  fight  the  evils  of  tooth  decay  

Roberto -­‐  Water  Engineer  (Latino,  Ecuador)   “I’m an engineer and I work on technical things and so I’m thinking on how to optimize things that engineering is about… I’m learning that working as a group needs more patience.”

Page 14  of  15

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx


PLM –  Training  the  Way  We  Learn   Gabriella  -­‐  MidWife  (Sweden)   “I really like doing that - collaborating on a project from different points of view, experience, etc”

Jose -­‐  Water  Engineer  (Latino,  Ecuador)   “I could feel that the instructors were under God’s leading. … I was hearing everything that the pictures were saying and the most important thing is that we were all able to participate.”

Alfredo -­‐  Civil  Engineer  (Latino,  Ecuador)   “I like that we, ourselves are able to do an activity and not just think about it. It motivates me to do things and not just receive things. This will help us when we work in the communities to motivate them to realize that they can figure out and do things for themselves.”

Vim -­‐  Electrical  Engineer  (Holland)   “What I’ve learned this week is that we as facilitators - can start something… we can do something, but the person has to be open as well, to receive it and then we need the light of the Holy Spirit to shine in this to give the energy to make it go.“

Vicente -­‐  CD  worker,  Evangelist  (Lowland  Quichua  tribe,  Ecuador)   “What impacted me was the form of teaching. We can use it sitting, standing, walking, doing other things. It’s a natural way to teach and to learn. It’s very practical.”

Laura -­‐  Engineer  (USA)   “I appreciated this not only because we had to practice what we learned, but then it gives us a place to start for actually using this in our work; since we worked as teams who work together. And then this is a picture of a really good reminder that asking questions can tell us what people already know or what they’re not sure about.”      

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Fig. 18:  Two  engineers  talk  to  a  mock  community   meeting  about  a  new  water  system  

Jim Manley   01  May  2014   PLM-­‐Ecu_v06.docx

PLM - Training the Way We Learn  

A workshop in the Amazon Jungle just might change the way we do cross-cultural training.

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