Trainings & Workshops | Ready To Learn Workshops | Model Sites | Events | Creating Awareness
Even if you believe your resources are self-explanatory and easy to use, your target audience is undoubtedly busy. If you can train them in how best and most easily to incorporate your project into their work, they are much more likely to actually use your resources. Training can be accomplished through a number of models. Materials are available on this site to help you.
National and Regional Conferences
Members of your target formal or informal education audience are likely to attend a national or regional conference (see Educational Organizations), where you could present your project and hold a training workshop. Conference organizers ask for workshop proposals up to a year in advance, so plan ahead. If possible, invite someone from the target audience, such as one of your advisors, to help run the training; this will enhance your project's credibility with your audience. Similarly, if you have a close partnership with an educational association, you may be able to have a larger presence at the conference, organizing a panel of experts to discuss your topic, for example, or doing a presentation at a general session.
You can also work with the PBS Ready To Learn professional development staff to organize a workshop for Ready To Learn coordinators at the annual Ready To Learn Professional Development Seminar (usually scheduled in January or February). The goal of this workshop should be to train Ready To Learn coordinators in the content and underlying curriculum goals of your project so they in turn can train their local constituents (known as a train-the-trainer workshop).
Given the cost and time required to travel, many teachers choose to attend local conferences, rather than national or regional ones. Therefore, if possible, aim for a presence at local workshops as well. Since you also undoubtedly face time and budget constraints on your travel, a train-the-trainer or lead-teacher initiative can allow you to get your material into local workshops that you or your staff are unable to attend personally. In this scenario, you run a national workshop for teachers or other educators who have committed to offering a similar workshop to their colleagues. For example, you could recruit a cadre of teachers or Boys & Girls Club of America program directors from across the country (using one of your partners to identify them) and convene a train-the-trainer workshop at their national conference. Or, if funding allows, you could bring all your trainees to a central location and prepare them to conduct local workshops.
Provide participants with all the resources you used in your workshop, such as video clips, teacher's guides, PowerPoint presentations, workshop agendas, and workshop evaluation forms. You should also provide an honorarium of $500 to $1,500, depending on how many people you expect them to train. Write a brief contract for this honorarium; this helps hold your trainers accountable, and also helps ensure that you are both clear about expectations.
If you are targeting adults who work with children ages 0 to 8, your greatest asset is the network of Ready To Learn coordinators in public television stations across the country. If you can develop materials that fit seamlessly into Ready To Learn local workshops, your project has a good chance of being integrated into ongoing Ready To Learn workshops led by local Ready To Learn coordinators and their partners.
Another option for training is to create an online or CD-ROM-based training module. This option is neither as cheap nor as effective as a hands-on experience. While interactive training modules should not replace face-to-face training, they can be informed by live training and can also broaden your reach. In addition, one of your partners may have a satellite- or video conference-based training program that you can use to reach your audience.
No matter how you train your end users, you should consider providing ongoing support. One way to keep users motivated is to send them new resources, either by snail mail or electronically, as they become available for your project. This serves as a continual reminder of your project and encourages educators to seek you out if they need help incorporating your resources.
You should also identify ways for individuals to work with and support each other after the initial training, which increases the likelihood of successful implementation of new strategies in the classroom. You might choose to create a listserv of all the educators you have trained. This gives them the opportunity to share experiences and have questions answered that may be common to the group. You will need to play an active role to ensure that the listserv is used. For example, send out regular updates about the project, and ask specific questions that will elicit responses and start discussions. Post reports on what individual teachers are doing (based on telephone interviews) to inspire others to try something similar. Building a multilevel approach using different communication vehicles (periodic phone calls, a listserv, snail mail, etc.) will make your trainees feel like they're part of a well-supported community and will also help motivate them to change some of their practices.