Saturday, April 11, 2009

on training...

so what is TDW?... it stands for Training Design Workshop (which comes before TOT, but that'll come up after a few more posts). TDW is several days worth of meetings b/w peace corps' lead (in-country) trainers and a few volunteers who'll be involved in training the next batch of trainees-soon-to-be-volunteers.

we're basically outlining the incoming peace corps trainees' (PCTs) pre-service training (PST) schedule, making sure we hit all the competencies they need in each of the 5 training components...
  1. language
  2. personal health
  3. safety & security
  4. cross-cultural
  5. technical
...and in an integrated way. i.e. in such a way that these various components reinforce and strengthen each other. this, along with community-based training (CBT) or learning/living with a host-family in-country, is supposed to make training more realistic and relevant. less abstract.

i share all this as insight into how PCVs are trained. a lot of theory goes into this, and much experience and learning on the part of trainers and the peace corps in general. so is this enough?... are PCVs well trained?

i think so. if you come in with the right mindset and skill-set – though what these are is an entirely different, yet very important and relevant debate – i think peace corps training is more than adequate.

but i also think there are things peace corps simply can't train you for. nor can they be realistically expected to. there is a basic set of skills (or, if you like, KSAs... knowledge, skills and abilities) that you need, and peace corps offers them to you in training... but beyond that, each volunteer's experience will be different. that's obvious, right?... life can't be predicted or controlled.

so at some point, being a peace corps volunteer at post – or being human, really – becomes less about control and more about clarity of mind in response to the unpredictable. granted, training people to be better decision-makers can help in those situations. in any situation. but no matter how well you've been trained, they'll always be something you just aren't ready to handle...

that's where this story starts:
in this town. on this hill. in the middle of this road... since the Germans first opened it. if not since the Lord first put it there. there has been this rock...

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