Participation is the name of the game

Participatory forms of training have proven themselves during the last 30 years or so. New brain research has helped define good practice around the concept of learning by doing. Lecturing can still be part of a trainer’s repertoire ,fifteen minutes maximum and supported by a variety of visual media, as part of trainer’s toolkit.

Participation now considers all participants not just a select few, or the majority. It is now the facilitator’s duty to involve all participants, to adapt training activities to meet participants’ needs. Training is now more demanding but at the same time more satisfying as you watch participants ‘grow’ through their involvement in various training challenges,leading to skill development.

For teacher training, one – off training is not seen as affective. A training package is now seen as:

needs assessment

training plan

 first workshop

follow up in the classroom with a mentor

second workshop

more follow up at classroom level where application of training concepts can be observed and even assessed if necessary.

Another relatively new development is classroom action research. Reflective teaching or classroom action research,brings educational research into the application to solving classroom issues,rather than consideration of system reform/change.  


Action research tied to ongoing democratic forms of training can be a powerful innovator for change at grass roots level.

The other aspect of training is that  for school teachers the content should be relevant to their working situation and challenge them in ways that motivate them to apply in the classroom. Creativity is a concept that could be explored in a workshop and then applied in the classroom in any subject. Short videos of classroom experimentation followed by group discussion can be a powerful approach to teacher learning and improvement.


Following action research by teachers during in-service training there is no reason why students at whatever age should not engage in action research themselves. They can explore their own ways of learning. Look at this example from Croatia:

It may seem a simple approach but the development of a range of skills related to ‘metacognition’ -or learning about learning will prepare them for lifelong learning.


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