Natisni vsebino

TRAIN THE TRAINER

RESPONSE OF THE PARTICIPANTS

Train the traner

“As an educator of educators (teachers and head teachers) I have already participated in a number of Train the Trainers seminars run by both Slovenian and foreigners. I was very impressed by the trainer team. They had a good knowledge of both the theoretical background and of practical cases, and were excellent at role-playing and improvising responses to our questions, provocations and special requests. They made sure that we all felt comfortable and got involved. The group also became very lively. It was a real privilege to get to know, in such a short time, so many interesting, sincere and professional people! I think it's fair to say that if no-one from the sphere of education had taken part in this training scheme, it would have been a serious strategic error. I will continue to take part in the project with the greatest happiness and will attempt to transfer its objectives and contents to the area of education. Together we can discover: a great deal of work still awaits us in the fight against discrimination.”

Andreja Trtnik Herlec, lecturer, National School for Leadership in Education


“The seminar pleasantly surprised me with its emphasis on an interactive approach. The leaders of the seminar fulfilled my expectations because they set in front of us, decisively and uncompromisingly, the mirror of our prejudices and stereotypes. Or rather, with their help, we did it ourselves. Here too, just like in real life, the group dynamic played an important role, and this contributed to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of discrimination in various environments. Within the framework of the seminar I perhaps would have liked a more marked emphasis on the deconstruction of certain notions such as race, gender, etc., but at the same time I enjoyed the tolerant and respectful mode of communication in the group – an occurrence which is all too rare in our society.”

Martina Bofulin, young researcher at the Institute for Ethnic Studies

 Dream a dream of a new tomorrow when the people learn to love their fellow man.
 Dare to hope for a peaceful morning when we've learned to walk together hand in hand.
 If we all will dare to dream dreams of a new and brighter day.
If we work to make them come true we will surely find a way.
Dream a dream of the world we long to see.
Dare to hope for the day when men are free.
Maybe someday we can see our dreams come true.
                                                     (Ed Robertson, Dream a dream)

This song, which I sang in a choir many years ago, echoed in my ears when I came home on Friday, the last day of the Train the Trainers seminar. That's it! This seminar more than exceeded my expectations, it opened my eyes and reminded me of the dreams I had when I was young and have put away in a dusty cupboard during years of study and work. During the seminar this cupboard slowly opened and its contents got me thinking again. Where is my mission? Why did I choose this career? Am I – not just as trained lawyer but also as a human being – sufficiently open and willing to help people and even to give them strength in the fight against discrimination?  

Over the course of years of working for a state body which is, moreover, an inspectorate, it is easy to lose one's youthful idealism. The everyday routine stifles – surprisingly quickly – the fire that drove you to choose a career in which you thought you could change the world and make it a better place. Questions are an inevitable part of the work of an inspectorate employee: how far do our competences reach, if I issue such and such a measure will I overstep my authority, am I really sure that I can punish this offender with such and such a sanction, without leaving myself (or the state, on whose behalf I am acting) open to liability for damages? The answers to these questions all too often lead us to a point where it seems safest to say that our powers are very limited an that we cannot do anything more for the victim of a violation. So we surround ourselves with a wall of incompetence and can thus close the case.

The Train the Trainers seminar had such an effect on me that I began to ask myself: What can I do for the victim, what can I do to help prevent discrimination, where are my prejudices, how do I recognise them and confront them? I saw my life, my work and, finally, the situation in society, from a different point of view, as though I had climbed onto the highest rooftop and from this vantage point seen more clearly what was going on around me. And most importantly: at the seminar I gained experience of what it feels like to be the victim of discrimination.

All of this was made possible by exercises that at first glance seemed like a game (sometimes quite a cruel game), but when we analysed them I realised what parts of my being had been affected by these exercises. Not only because of the proficiency and ease with which the experienced trainers conducted the exercises, but also because of the openness and willingness to cooperate on the part of the participants, who shared with others their sincere feelings and thoughts.

Now, more than two months after the seminar, I am assembling the consequences that it has left in me. The first is that it has given rise to a desire that seems stronger than ever before: the desire to help others become aware of their own prejudices and recognise the trap of discrimination into which it is so easy to slide. And the second consequence: the seminar has left me with many more questions than answers.

Now I understand that the purpose of the seminar was not to give us straightforward answers – which I consider to be the basic purpose of the majority of seminars and lectures in this world. The Train the Trainers seminar was different. It imposed no all-embracing or universally applicable truths. All definitions were left open, so that everyone could take from them what he or she needed or was ready to accept. The air in the lecture room, where we sat in a circle and where none of us had anywhere to hide, filled with hundreds of questions. Questions which I know will not abandon me so easily.

They are, however, questions that will help show me the path in the future, questions against which I will again and again be able to check whether, as a human being and a person in the legal profession, I have done everything that could be done in a given situation for a victim of discrimination. If nothing else, I had to take part in the seminar in order to learn how I must never again allow such questions to end up, along with my youthful dreams, in a dusty cupboard, since you never know whether someone will be successful in bringing them out into the open again.            

Tanja Cmrečnjak Pelicon, National Labour Inspectorate

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