The first All Staff Training (AST) in Sri Lanka was the most anticipated event among our Sri Lankan Community Heroes. It took place November 8-10 at Tangalle. Besides Sri Lankan Country Manager Saradha, the Sri Lankan Community Heroes and the staffs from our learning centers, Linda (fellow of learning center Batticaloa), Uuganaa from Mongolia, Vannak from Cambodia and Benjamin and family from Switzerland participated in this AST.
Day 1 began exactly on time. Updates from the learning centers, Community Hero Handbook and “Teachers are Nutritionists” were the sessions lined up for this day. Right after Country Manager Saradha’s briefing of the AST, all the community heroes introduced themselves and shared their activities and future plans as the beginning of the programme.
This was followed by the Community Hero Handbook session conducted by Sujitha and Benjamin. This session was designed to introduce the Handbook to the new community heroes in addition to get an overview of the understanding among community heroes and staffs. Participants were divided into groups to find the quality and relevance of the handbook. This was a successful session since many feedbacks were given by everyone for the improvements of the book.
This session was followed by Linda’s “Teachers are nutritionists” session. It provided a clear demonstration for the teachers on how can a teacher act once as a guide, then as a facilitator and again as a tutor, depending on the needs of the students.
The second day was lined-up with project-based learning, activity bank, Masterclass and sharing experiences by Uuganaa. The project-based learning session was run by Linda and Sujitha. Linda demonstrated the difference between a project and project-based learning. Sujitha shared experience of the BOOKBRIDGE competitions. Uuganaa and Vannak shared their experiences as well. Finally, the next BOOKBRIDGE competition was introduced to the community heroes.
Linda took over the next few hours with her Activity bank session. She introduced the Activity bank website and the weekly activity bank challenge. Uuganaa, Vannak and Sujitha promised her to contribute to the weekly challenge. Further, they discussed the value of using the Activity bank website in their classrooms.
The Masterclass session began with the demonstration of “Learning Partnership” by Arlette via a zoom call. After a brief discussion on this topic, Ben took over to share his experiences and learnings during his masterclass journey. Sujitha shared her experience and discussed the challenges she faces to begin the entrepreneurship courses at her learning center. Since these discussions went on for a long time, Saradha decided to postpone Uuganaa’s session to the next day.
Day 3 began with a very interesting and needed session on marketing. This was conducted by Jayantha Fernando, an experienced corporate coach. Instead of teaching rules and theories, he made everyone to think of their own stories and use them in their marketing as taglines. This session was appreciated by everyone.
After lunch, Vannak and Uuganaa shared their learning center experiences. Most of the events and activities shared by them created curiosity among the Sri Lankan participants. Many questions were raised by the participants. These sessions turned into Q & A session and brought many ideas in.
Every evening after the workshop sessions was spent with discussing many things to improve the quality of the learning centers and exchange programmes. Apart from the training and discussion sessions, every night was enjoyed with a cultural event named as Cambodian, Mongolian and Sri Lankan nights. Singing, dancing and many games converted the long days into joyful nights.
Uunganaa, Vannak, Linda and Ben were able to enjoy some fishing activities as well. They got a chance to taste fresh prawns and lobsters. Besides this, they were able to witness some rare animals and insects such as snakes, spiders, bat and many. Though they were scary, they enjoyed watching them for the first time. After this successful All Staff Training, everyone travelled back to their work places. Ben continued his Sri Lanka tour with his family while Uuganaa and Vannak joined Sujitha and Satheesh to Bandarawela for the Exchange programme. A successful AST closing opened the path to a fruitful exchange!