The capacity building programme aimed to engage tutors in learning and teaching about Development Education (DE) in existing adult education programmes. The DEBATE Project developed a number of supports to build the capacity of tutors, including:
- The design and delivery of “Introduction to DE Workshops” to raise awareness and understanding of Development Education and its role in adult and community education.
- The design and delivery of “Integrating DE Workshops” to introduce tutors to appropriate methodologies, resources and topics relating to Development Education and explore how they could be integrated into their existing teaching practice.
- The design and delivery of a Dev Ed workshop for pre-service volunteer literacy tutors as part of the Volunteer Tutor Training Course.
- The establishment of an interactive online space (Moodle website) for tutors to build their confidence and skills, access development education materials and resources and participate in online discussions.
24 tutors from Blanchardstown Adult Education Service and 26 tutors from the Tallaght Adult Education Service
- Training began in Blanchardstown in October 2012.
- Eleven workshops have taken place to date.
- A final workshop took place in June 2014. In 2014/2015, training will be provided to tutors in other adult education services in DDLETB.
- Moodle Website set up for tutors
- Materials mapped to FETAC learning outcomes and adapted for adult learners
This activity was developed to deliver key aims of the DEBATE Project, namely to:
- Increase understanding of the importance and relevance of DE in adult education
- Increase the capacity of adult education tutors in DDLETB to integrate DE issues into teaching practice.
The process started with the collection of baseline data to establish existing levels of knowledge of DE issues and attitudes towards integrating DE issues into teaching practice.
Drawing on this information, introductory workshops were developed to familiarise tutors with development issues and themes and raise awareness of the local-global challenges that face our world today.
Interested tutors engaged in further workshops exploring appropriate methodologies for teaching DE and identifying entry points and hooks in existing curricula where DE issues could be introduced to learners.
Online support is provided through the DEBATE website and DEBATE Moodle. Tutors are updated regularly via email or ezine on materials and resources available on the Moodle site. The DEBATE Project adapts and creates materials and resources suitable for adult learners and mapped to specific learning outcomes in a range of FETAC modules are added to the Moodle site on a regular basis.
Case study: practical learning methods
Making workshops practical: The workshops were practical in nature and therefore useful in expanding tutors’ pedagogical skills as well as their own understanding of local-global issues. The content of the workshops responded to key concerns and challenges raised by the tutors in the baseline data. For example, many tutors expressed concerns over introducing sensitive and/or controversial topics in diverse and multicultural settings and a workshop was designed to allow tutors explore those concerns and identify appropriate strategies.
Experiencing participatory learning methods: the Introductory Workshop used a variety of teaching methods to engage tutors in DE issues. Simulation exercises, small group work, walking debates, role play and paired discussion were extremely effective in raising understanding and support for DE in adult learning environments. The training ensured tutors experienced the materials and methodologies first hand and were able to bring those experiences into their own classes.
Focusing on the issues: subsequent workshops provided tutors with opportunities to engage in a deeper analysis of international development and critically engage in issues with local-global dimensions, such as human rights, poverty, homelessness, exploitation, inequality, trade, debt and climate change. Other workshops facilitated tutors in looking at curricula and learning objectives and identify suitable through a DE lens to identify suitable entry points for DE content.
Follow-on support: a key component of the initiative is providing tutors with follow-on support and resources. It is important to keep the momentum going after the workshops and reach out to tutors on a regular basis with news of updated materials and resources online, often tied into current events. For example, in the run-up to the local and European elections, materials were added to the DEBATE Moodle site which explored democracy as a human right and provided case studies of democracy in action in other settings.
While the project was completed in 2014 some initial learning from the project can be identified:
- In designing education workshops, participants respond better and make deeper connections to the methodologies and issues focus when the content of the workshops responded to key concerns and challenges raised by the tutors in the baseline data.
- Having a strong monitoring and evaluation plan is crucial. While feeding into ongoing workshop design it also enables tracking progress and measuring impact in the long-term, such as new DE awareness raising initiatives organised by tutors that have taken part in the programme.
- It is important to keep the momentum going after the workshops and reach out to tutors on a regular basis with news of updated materials and resources online, often tied into current events. For example, in the run-up to the local and European elections, materials were added to the DEBATE Moodle site which explored democracy as a human right and provided case studies of democracy in action in other settings.
To assess the impact of the training, tutors complete evaluation forms post-training. Initial findings indicate that tutors find the training enjoyable, beneficial and practical. They are particularly appreciative of the ongoing support and resources.
The true measure of training like this is whether a ripple effect is achieved, i.e. that tutors take the learning from the workshops and apply it to their teaching practice, thereby multiplying the effect of the initial interventions. To assess this, we are monitoring the use of the Moodle site and the number of times materials are accessed online or through the DEBATE resource library.
In the near future, learning portfolios submitted by students of the tutors who engaged in training will be checked to see if DE content has been integrated into the delivery of the course objectives.
Links to Project Activities
- The DEBATE Project website which raises awareness of key development issues, promotes DE events and training and provides a portal to DEBATE Moodle (Staff Zone): www.thedebateproject.ie
- Flipboard magazine published to support the project: The Great D.E.B.A.T.E. issue 1
- A human rights photo competition was organised and exhibited in the training centre space (see photos)
This initiative is part of a multi-stranded project funded by Irish Aid and Dublin & Dún Laoghaire ETB to support and promote DE within Adult Education Services.
Other strands include:
- Direct provision of accredited and unaccredited courses which address specific development themes to adult learners
- Awareness raising activities, such as FairTrade Coffee Mornings, Human Rights Photography
- Exhibitions and Food & Sustainability Seminar
- Development and validation of a FETAC- accredited suite of DE modules at Levels 4, 5 and 6.