A sense of humor

Posted by on 15 sep, 2007

The presidential elections in Egypt are coming up and president Hosni Mubarak has hired an advisory consultant. A couple of days before the elections the consultant has a meeting with the president. “Sir, I advice you to prepare a farewell speech,” says the consultant. “Why?” asks Mubarak, “Where are the Egyptian people going?” This joke was used by two Lebanese journalists in their presentation on election journalism at the end of the Training of Trainers in Jordan.
FreeVoice.nl, September 2007

Grassroots media NGO’s

The ToT is part of the bigger Investing in the Future program, which focuses on strengthening grassroots media NGO’s in the Middle East and North Africa in three major fields: defending freedom of the press, raising professional standards and increasing legal awareness. The ultimate goal is to create an Arab Media Community for Change in which media professionals can exchange their experiences and knowledge and invest it in a better future.

Learning capacity
The focus of the ToT is on the best way of teaching in adult education and which methods can be used to created the best possible interaction. Scientific facts were shocking and caused laughter among the trainees. The learning capacity of a human being is the highest during the first three years of a person’s life. Respect your kids! And a reader’s test should cause a smile as well: In which continent is the level of information absorption the lowest? The answer is provided below.

Dominant training style
During the training a test was done for all trainees to find out what their dominant style of training was in order to find out what skills are needed with different groups of trainees. Important fundaments to realize, as training will become more and more important in the coming years due to the increasing competition in the rapidly changing media landscape in the Arab world.

The trainees drew up a list of training needs in their own organizations, indicated the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed and made a draft of the measurable results. After three days of intensive training they had to develop in teams their own training and give a presentation. The most effective learning moment of the training was the giving of feedback. Golden rules included that stressing the negative elements and the use of the word “but” were forbidden. The focus had to be personal, positive and constructive, which created a inspiring atmosphere.

An enlightening moment was the part when trainees had to indicated which problems they encountered in their daily work. A Yemeni colleague: “I didn’t realize that Moroccan journalists face such huge problems in censorship.” The trainees received three post-it notes and wrote one problem per post-it.

“Three post-its is definitely not enough,” chuckled an Egyptian journalist. The laughter in the group confirmed that an indispensable skill for a trainer is a good sense of humor.

The answer to the question: The level of information absorption is the lowest in the United States (due to impact of television) and the highest in Africa!