Training and Education

EIESL chose theme of “Training and Education” to capture the key emerging questions, comments, and concerns arising from faculty and student dialogue sessions that focused on the processes of teaching, learning, and skills-training.

Community Voice on Training and Education

“Who is this ‘other’? In every country different power relationships exist (hierarchies), and they should be careful not to think of this ‘other’ as ‘one’ that represents all. What are the stereotypes they have of the ‘other’? Where are they positioning themselves (truly) in relation to the ‘other’? … What I think is terrible, is that without bringing all of this into consciousness and without reflection the volunteer is unaware.”
- Employee of a Mexican NGO in Comitan, Mexico

We (students) need to be properly trained before we go so that we act in an ethical manner when we’re there.

What are the gaps in our knowledge, resources and services that prevent people from being responsible and effective?

How can we engage in a process of teaching and learning that results in responsible and effective international engagement and service-learning experiences?

How can we teach students to be critically reflective about their experiences?

Students definitely learn from the experience of ISL, but I need to be more conscious of the educational principles and processes that help designing my course to maximize their learning.

What role does the university have in ensuring that students are properly trained and supported when they go do ISL or volunteer overseas?

We need to find a way to train my students to be comfortable with ambiguity. When we work with our international community partners, I don’t always know what will happen in the field because I am conscious of framing the experience around meeting the needs of the community we’re in. But this means that I don’t always have the answers that my students want me to have. How do I prepare them to be okay with the unknown? Is this even possible?

Therefore, EIESL bases its discussions in this guidebook around “Training & Education” around the assumption that, to be ethical, students, staff and faculty need to be provided with the training and education that helps them to think and act ethically. This involves pre-departure preparation, but also support for students in the field and when they return, as well as support for faculty in terms of curriculum design and enhancement.

Hence, the theme of training and education explores not an individual’s formal academic credentials, but rather the various roles and responsibilities associated with preparing volunteers and providing support for international engagement experiences.

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