Wednesday, 22 December 2010

To be a Good Trainer Learn to be Yourself

At a recent Train the Trainer course in Glasgow, I was asked what would be the one piece of advice I would give to anyone who wants to be a trainer?

A number of thoughts flashed through my head, including advice about keeping your group as active as possible; the importance of planning; evaluation, and not trying to cram too much into an allocated time frame.

Despite these and many other important points I settled on the simple idea that to be a good trainer you need to learn to be yourself.

Far too many times I see trainers adopting "training room alter egos" or attempting to imitate another trainer they admire. And equally too often I observe groups seeing right through these fake identities.

The world consists of nearly seven billion people and every one of us is different. That's what we need to remember. Our personality will dictate the kind of person we are in the training room, so just go with the flow. By allowing your own personality to shine through, your group will see you are an honest and genuine person, and that is one of the main building blocks when it comes to developing a relationship with your group.

Whilst it's important to know about learning styles, planning, course content and evaluation, if you are new to training then learn how to be yourself, the other skills you will learn and develop as your career progresses.

If you're looking for a Train the Trainer course that is both innovative and affordable then take a look at Gary Bedingfield Training Services at www.garybedingfield.co.uk

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Innovative and Affordable Train the Trainer Courses

Based in Glasgow, Scotland, but serving all of the United Kingdom, Gary Bedingfield Training Services offer a comprehensive range of Train the Trainer courses that have established themselves as leaders in the field of trainer/facilitator education.

Training is a difficult area and finding reliable, efficient training companies who know what they’re doing and can deliver training in a dynamic, effective and affordable way is the burden of many organisations. With more than 12 years experience in the training industry we specialise in offering short intervention training based on developing the skills of your trainers/facilitators.

Our range of Train the Trainer courses are available to you as introductory courses for new trainers and for those with an existing training background. If you are new to training then Introduction to Training is the ideal course for you. If you have been a trainer/facilitator for some time but want to further develop your skills then Train the Trainer, designed to help you see ways in which you can become a better, more effective trainer, is the course for you. And then you can follow up with Train the Trainer Phase 2, our advanced trainer training course. All of our courses are intensive but fun and delivered over one or two days, exploring areas such as learning styles, resources, delivery styles, evaluation and dealing with challenging behaviour.

Train the Trainer
An innovative and motivational 2-day Train the Trainer programme

Whether you are new to training or have a number of years experience, this course helps you see ways in which you can become a better, more effective trainer. The course is intensive and delivered over two days, exploring areas such as learning styles, training resources, delivery styles, evaluation and dealing with challenging behaviour. It consists of five trainer-led sessions followed by a micro-training session, where you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your training skills.

At the end of the course you will be able to:
  • Recognise the different learning styles and adapt your training accordingly
  • Plan and design training to gain commitment and enthusiasm
  • Safely supervise practical training
  • Check that your training is effective and that learning has occurred

The Train the Trainer course is delivered over two days and consists of five trainer-led sessions followed by a micro-training session and questionnaire, where you will have an opportunity to demonstrate your training skills. The sessions are as follows:

Session 1 How We Learn
Session 2 Delivering Training
Session 3 Planning a Training Session
Session 4 Running a Training Session and Supervising Practical Training
Session 5 Ending a Training Session and Evaluating
Session 6 Micro-training Session and Questionnaire

Duration: 2 days
Location: Delivered at your premises
Cost: £350* per group (maximum group size of 5) or £500* per group (between 6 and 8 group members)

Train the Trainer Phase 2
The second phase of our innovative and motivational Train the Trainer course

Phase 2 of the Train the Trainer course is only available to candidates who have completed Train the Trainer with Gary Bedingfield Training Services. It is a natural progression from Train the Trainer and explores training strategies, content choice and group dynamics among many other topics. The course is intensive and delivered over two days. It consists of six trainer-led sessions followed by a micro-training session, where candidates will have an opportunity to demonstrate their training skills.

At the end of the course you will be able to:
  • Manage energy levels in your group
  • Choose appropriate delivery methods and content
  • Integrate assessment to ensure learning aims and objectives are achieved
  • Plan appropriately to develop a dynamic training programme
  • Use effective evaluation
The sessions are as follows:

Session 1 Getting Learners Ready to Learn
Session 2 Choosing Training Strategies
Session 3 Choosing the Right Content
Session 4 Integrating Assessment
Session 5 Planning for Learning
Session 6 Effective Evaluation
Session 7 Micro-training Session and Questionnaire

Duration: 2 days
Location: Delivered at your premises
Cost: £350* per group (between 4 and 6 candidates)

Introduction to Training
A 1-day introductory course for trainers who are new to the world of training and facilitation

This course is a development of our popular Train the Trainer course and is aimed at staff members who are new to the training world. As most trainers will tell you, entering a training room for the first time can be a daunting and nerve-racking experience, and this course aims to make that experience as easy as possible, introducing you to the basics of training and helping you to quickly become an effective and confident trainer. The course consists of five trainer-led sessions and is delivered over one day in a friendly and interactive environment.

At the end of the course you will be able to:
  • Recognise the different learning styles
  • Plan and design training to gain commitment and enthusiasm
  • Safely supervise practical training
  • Check that your training is effective and that learning has occurred
The sessions are as follows:

Session 1 How We Learn
Session 2 Delivering Training
Session 3 Planning a Training Session
Session 4 Running a Training Session
Session 5 Ending a Training Session and Evaluating

Duration: 1 day
Location: Delivered at your premises
Cost: £250* per group (maximum group size of 5) or £350* per group (between 6 and 8 group members)

Programme Design and Development
A 1-day course that focuses on designing and developing training programmes

Programme Design and Development is a one day course aimed at helping trainers understand the process of designing and developing training courses and individual training sessions.

The course consists of eight sessions and at the end of the course you will be able to:

  • Develop course content
  • Select training and learning strategies
  • Select training and learning resources
  • Select methods of monitoring and reviewing learning
  • Develop methods of assessing achievement
  • Select methods of evaluation

The sessions are as follows:

Session 1 Planning for Learning
Session 2 How We Learn
Session 3 Training and Learning Resources
Session 4 Choosing Training and Learning Strategies
Session 5 Integrating Assessment
Session 6 Evaluation
Session 7 Designing a Programme
Session 8 Designing Individual Training Sessions

Duration: 1 day
Location: Delivered at your premises
Cost: £250* per group (maximum group size of 5) or £350* per group (between 6 and 8 group members)


*All courses are priced for delivery within a 50 mile radius of Glasgow. Courses delivered outside that area incur an additional travel cost which is kept to a minimum. Please contact us for details.


Here's what people are saying about our Train the Trainer courses:


"An exemplary delivery of the training course. The information communicated was extremely helpful as well as being able to watch how it was done.”


"Very good course, really enjoyed it. Very well structured and relevant to the job."


"I was kept interested throughout the course and feel more confident about conducting a training session."


"I really enjoyed the course and feel that it would really improve the service. Very much improved my confidence."


"I have taken so much away from this course that I will re-vamp my current workshops completely!"


"The course was great to refresh my skills and knowledge and has made me focus much more on the importance of formally preparing training sessions."


"Very well delivered, informative course which emphasized areas in my training which need to be improved and also provided a very interesting review of training in general."


"Very useful tips given and excellent section on designing a lesson plan and programme design."


"This course refreshed my memory of different styles and techniques, also great ideas for training sessions and how to vary them."


"Very useful in terms of planning a training session and how to use different training aids to vary activities."



So, if you're looking for training that will get your trainers motivated and better equipped; feel free to give us a call to see how we can help you. We can assure you of great flexibility, a professional attitude and very reasonable rates.


Gary Bedingfield Training Services
Providing innovative training to learners of all ages
5 Pineview Court
Glasgow
G15 7QT

Tel: 07847 517161 or 0141 944 4206

Web: www.garybedingfield.co.uk
Blog: www.trainthetraineruk.blogspot.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/trainthetrainer
Twitter: www.twitter.com/garybedingfield
LinkedIn: http://uk.linkedin.com/in/garybedingfield
Email: info@garybedingfield.co.uk

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at www.garybedingfield.co.uk

New Courses for 2011

As the New Year rapidly approaches it's time to look at additional courses we currently have in the pipeline. In addition to our comprehensive range of Train the Trainer and Employability Skills courses, Gary Bedingfield Training Services will be offering the following in 2011:

  • Customer Service
  • Writing for the Web
  • Computers for Beginners
  • Using Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Using Microsoft Word
  • Using Microsoft Excel
  • Using the Internet
  • Effective Evaluation

Keep an eye on our website www.garybedingfield.co.uk for further news of these programmes.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at www.garybedingfield.co.uk

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Successful CVs Workshops

My wife and I were shopping in Clydebank earlier today and we took a moment to look around The Perfume Shop in the hope of getting some inspiration for Christmas presents. Within minutes a young female assistant approached me and asked if I helped people with their CVs. A funny question I thought to myself but the young lady looked familiar. As it turned out Beverly had recently attended one of my employability skills workshops in West Dunbartonshire. We had worked on her CV and her interview skills and now she was in employment.

I felt very proud to have played a small part in Beverly’s success and it’s times like this that I realise how important CV workshops can be. Beverly was already highly employable but without a good CV and some useful pointers for interviews she may have been trapped in the job application stage for some considerable time.

Our CV Workshops are available to any organisation that is working with clients who are seeking employment and looking to develop their CVs and interview techniques. We will help them to prepare their CVs to give them the best possible chance of getting an interview and they will learn how to avoid common mistakes and how to ensure the most relevant information is coherent and easy to find.

Working directly with your clients, we will assist them in preparing a CV and this can be achieved in two ways. Firstly, if the workshop is IT-based then we will work with clients as they develop their CVs electronically. However, this workshop can also be conducted in a non-IT training room environment (ideal for clients with minimal IT skills) where CV content is compiled long-hand and produced by us electronically at a later date.

This course includes the following topics:

·        What is a CV and why do I need one?
·        Gathering the facts
·        Highlighting your achievements
·        Personality factors
·        What you can leave out
·        Essential words to include in a CV
·        Writing a career profile
·        Layout for a chronological CV
·        The importance of the first half page of your CV
·        Making your CV look attractive

Furthermore, our CV Workshops come with unlimited aftercare where clients can contact us at any future date for additional help with their CVs.

Duration: 1 day


Location: Delivered at your premises 

Cost: £200 per group (maximum group size of 10)



All our courses are priced for delivery within a 50 mile radius of Glasgow and can be delivered anywhere in the UK but will incur an additional travel cost which will be kept to a minimum. Please contact us for details.


Visit our website for more information about our CV Workshops and other courses offered by Gary Bedingfield Training Services

Friday, 5 November 2010

Barriers to Work Wall

An exercise I often use with groups of all ages is to identify barriers to work. I've found that the easiest way to do this is with the Barriers to Work Wall.

A good starting point for anyone who is looking for work is to identify the barriers they face (both perceived and real) as well as the barriers faced by others in similar situations. The main purpose of this exercise is to stimulate discussion on the topic of barriers and, as a group, identify possible ways of overcoming those barriers.

I use a flip chart and Post-It notes for this exercise. Using a flip that shows the Barriers to Work Wall, I ask the group to write barriers on Post-Its that serve as bricks in the wall. These barriers can be their own or those faced by others.


Pretty soon you'll have a wall of barriers. These might include "long-term unemployment", "travel", "lack of qualifications", "age", "disability", "lack of experience" and "lack of motivation". I'm sure your clients will think of many more!

The next step is to remove the barriers one by one. Get the group to discuss how barriers can be overcome. Don't expect all the barriers to be removed because that is unrealistic, but what you will end up with is a much smaller wall that can be stepped over rather than a big, impassable one.

This activity usually takes around 30 minutes and works best during the early stages of a course or training session. It helps clients realise they are not the only ones facing barriers and, better still, it identifies ways in which their barriers can be overcome.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at www.garybedingfield.co.uk

Monday, 18 October 2010

This Is Where I Stay

I recently wrote about the Glasgow Photo Challenge, an activity I use with 16 to 17 year-old learners on government-funded programmes and thought I'd share with you another activity I like to use called This Is Where I Stay.

This is a simple exercise that gets learners to think about the place they call home and perhaps think about how it could be improved. As well as a handy little activity to develop writing skills it also gets learners to take a closer look at their community - the good and the bad.

I choose not to put a word limit on this exercise but instead ask the learners to think about how they would answer the following questions:
  • What's There?
  • What Do You Like About It?
  • What Do You Not Like About It?
  • Is There Somewhere Else You'd Rather Live and Why?
One of the interesting discoveries with this exercise is that although many of them identify numerous faults with their local community they would rather live there than anywhere else.

It's a simple activity that can be completed in a morning and makes a great display for the training room walls. Why not give it a try?


You can learn more about Gary Bedingfield Training Services by visiting our website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Glasgow Photo Challenge

Here is an activity I use with 16 to 17 year-old learners on government-funded programmes that helps boost their communication and teamwork skills as well as their confidence and motivation.

The Glasgow Photo Challenge consists of small teams (up to four per team is ideal), in a race against the clock to take 20 photographs in and around Glasgow city centre.

Here’s the list of photos I ask them to get:
  1. What is on top of the statue outside the Gallery of Modern Art? Take a photo of the statue.
  2. Take a photo of yourself with a shopkeeper.
  3. Dance or sing along with a busker. Take a photo.
  4. Help unload a van. Take a photo.
  5. Take a photo of the biggest TV you can find.
  6. Take a photo of the sign for Platform 12 at Glasgow Central Station.
  7. Take a photo of the Rogano Restaurant.
  8. Take a photo of a book by Jeffrey Archer.
  9. Take a photo of the cheapest toy in Hamley’s.
  10. Take a photo of the most expensive toy in Hamley’s.
  11. What’s on at the GFT today? Take a photo.
  12. Take a photo outside the Blythswood Square Hotel.
  13. Find the most expensive mobile phone. Take a photo.
  14. Ask someone for directions. Take a photo.
  15. Take a photo of DiMaggio’s.
  16. Take a photo of St. Enoch’s Centre from inside a lift.
  17. Take a photo of someone serving food.
  18. Take a photo of the glass ceiling from inside Princes Square.
  19. Take a photo of today’s U.S. Dollar exchange rate.
  20. How much is a Big Mac? Photograph the price.
As you can see some are straightforward photos of landmarks while others require their participation and initiative.

Armed with the cameras on their mobile phones, I usually allow an hour-and-a-half to take as many of the 20 photos as they can. Once the teams return it’s time to see which is the winner. If each team managed to get all 20 photos then you’d decide a winner by looking at the finer details (such as which team photographed the biggest TV, the cheapest toy at Hamley’s, etc).

So long as the weather is reasonable the young learners really enjoy this activity and return with some wild and whacky stories about how they managed to get some of the photos!

Why not give it a try with learners in your town or city? And let me know how you get on.

Find out about the training courses offered by Gary Bedingfield Training Services at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/

Friday, 1 October 2010

Online basics: An Introductory Course to the Internet

Here’s a useful online resource for helping learners who are new to the Internet. Online basics at http://www.myguide.gov.uk/ is a free package of short courses that help with the first steps online. The five introductory courses cover:
  • Starting with a keyboard
  • Starting with a mouse
  • Using email
  • Using the Internet safely
  • Using online searches
Online basics also gives free access to a further 25 courses. The courses can take learners on a journey from absolute beginner to confident IT user, or they can dip in and out according to what subjects they’re interested in and how much experience they have. The courses are free to use, there are no exams and no set timetables.

Registering for a free Online basics account is simple - visit http://www.myguide.gov.uk/


Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Getting British Business Online

Here's a great opportunity from the folks at Google to get a business website up-and-running for free. This joint initiative by Google, Enterprise UK, BT, e-skills UK and many other partners is designed to help small businesses create their first website and help them understand the opportunities offered by the Internet. You'll find more details here Getting British Business Online.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Let's Get That Job!

A 2-day motivational training programme to develop employability skills

Does your organisation work with learners who are currently unemployed and looking for work?

Let’s Get That Job! is an innovative two-day training intervention that compliments your existing delivery and is tailored to meet the demands of clients on government-funded training programmes such as Get Ready for Work, Entry to Employment, Training for Work, Skill Seekers and DWP initiatives.

Getting people back into work is no easy task and Let’s Get That Job! focuses on the needs of employers as well as the learners, developing employability skills and motivation while helping candidates to capitalise on their existing strengths.

The objectives of Let’s Get That Job! are to:
  • increase candidates’ employability
  • identify occupational skills and develop attributes such as motivation, timekeeping, communication and teamwork
  • to fine-tune skills such as interview techniques, CV-writing and speculative letter writing.
Let’s Get That Job! is very much focused on the candidates and what they have to offer. It is driven by them learning to recognise and take ownership of the skills and strengths they can offer potential employers. Some of the themes included in Let’s Get That Job! are:

  • Where Am I Now?
  • Barriers to Work
  • Winning the Job Search Game
  • Job Search Kit
  • Owning My Own Skills and Strengths
  • Skills of Successful People
  • CVs that WorkSpeculative Letters that Work
  • Application Forms
  • Interview Tips and Techniques
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
Furthermore, Let's Get That Job! comes with unlimited aftercare, where learners can contact us via email or phone for help with CVs, application forms, etc.

Learners who are further removed from the job market can also benefit from the motivational aspects of Let’s Get That Job! with a specifically designed one-day version.
Let’s Get That Job! is delivered at your premises by one of our highly experienced trainer and costs £250 per group (maximum group size of 10).

(All our courses are priced for delivery within a 50 mile radius of Glasgow. Courses can be delivered anywhere in the UK but will incur an additional travel cost which will be kept to a minimum. Please contact Gary Bedingfield Training Services for details).

Let’s Get That Job! is being delivered to clients on programmes with training providers and local authorities in Glasgow, West Dunbartonshire, Ayrshire and Falkirk. Here’s what people are saying about Let's Get That Job!:

"I found this course very beneficial and think what I have learned will definitely aid me in finding a job."

"The course helped to set my mind on how to do it, not how hard it is."
"I enjoyed finding out about my own skills and strengths."

"The course was really interesting and I enjoyed learning about interview skills."

"Well organized and presented, gave a lot of new information."

"I liked the clear and articulate way it was presented. The advice given and the help to create my CV."

"The instructor was clear, helpful and communicative."

"I liked getting help improving my CV and learning how to write a spec letter and how to go about finding and applying for jobs."

"Very helpful and covered all the topics I was seeking help with."

"Was fun as well as advantageous, improved my CV."

"It taught me about aspects of CVs and interviews I didn't fully understand before and gave great advice to find work that is suitable for me."

If you would like more information on Let’s Get That Job! please visit our website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/. Alternatively, you can email us at info@garybedingfield.co.uk or call us on 07847 517161.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Helping Learners Take Ownership of Their Skills

Many of the trainers I work with deal with clients who are looking for employment. These learners may have just left school or perhaps been recently made redundant or have been out of work for some time, and something I always encourage trainers to do is to help them to identify and take ownership of the skills they have to offer potential employers. Indeed, this is a fundamental part of my Let’s Get That Job! employability skills course.

Most of us are not very good at identifying the skills we have to offer. If I asked you to name your top five skills right now, could you do it? Probably not, at least not without some time and thought. But when a potential employer asks you what skills and qualities you are going to bring to their organisation you had better be ready with an answer.

Furthermore, encouraging learners to identify their skills and qualities goes beyond being a useful response to an interview question. It can form the basis of a personal profile for their CV, it can be worked into a speculative letter and, perhaps, most importantly, it can make them feel a whole lot better about themselves.

Getting back to the root of the problem, if you simply ask your learners to identify their skills and qualities they will firstly struggle, then come up with the same old “good communication skills”, “team player”, “good time keeper” type of responses. You’ve got to get your learners to think about other skills and qualities that they’ve not considered before. The sort of things that make them different from others and stand out in a crowd.

The best way to do this is to provide them with a list of words and short phrases to choose from. I actually use two lists. A list of skills and strengths like “paying attention to detail” and “taking responsibility”, and a list of personal qualities like “empathetic”, “ambitious” and “creative”. Put the words in a format that will allow your learners to tick the ones that are appropriate to them. Before you know it they have a list as long as their arm!

The next step is to narrow that list down to five. I like to call it their Top Five. Get your learners to go through all the skills, strengths and personal qualities they have ticked and pick out the five that are the most important to them. Then encourage them, one by one, to read out to the rest of the group the five they have chosen. Encourage them to say them in a clear and confident voice. Now you’re really getting them to take ownership of their skills.

But it doesn’t end there. Get your learners to use their newly identified skills on a regular basis. Get them to write a personal profile with the five words included. Get them to compose a speculative letter that emphasises what they can offer, and keep coming back to the five skills, strengths and qualities throughout future training sessions. In no time at all, each of your learners Top Five skills will be well and truly embedded!


If you would like more information about our 2-day Let's Get That Job! course then visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/training_courses/lets_get_that_job.html

Friday, 3 September 2010

New funding for in-house training in Scotland with Flexibile Training Opportunities

Flexible Training Opportunities gives businesses in Scotland with under 50 employees the opportunity to apply for up to £5,000 towards employee training costs.

Launched by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and supported by the European Social Fund, it aims to help small businesses become more resilient and to boost productivity and success.

Funding is available for up to 10 employees per business and the money is not a loan so there's no need to pay it back.

SDS will refund up to 50% of each episode of employee training up to a maximum of £500 per employee.

Visit the Skills Development Scotland website for more details.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/ for details on all our staff training courses.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Writing SMART Objectives

I never cease to be amazed at how much training takes place without clear objectives ever having been set. So many trainers tend to rely on their knowledge of a subject being enough to get them through a training session and wonder why the learners haven’t grasped the topic by the end of the activity.


Writing clear and specific objectives is not an arduous task when done properly and, furthermore, can open up so many new opportunities for incorporating a variety of training methods and resources that may never previously have been considered.

The key to writing objectives for a training session is to ensure they are SMART. This often-heard acronym, if used properly, is an immensely valuable tool that can ensure your objectives are meaningful and meet all the criteria of a good training session. But, from the outset, it is important to remember that SMART is a checking process, not a writing process. SMART should be used AFTER your draft objectives have been written to ensure you are meeting all your learners’ requirements.

So, what is SMART?
There are a number of variations on the exact wording for this acronym, but for the purpose of this article (and my personal preference) we will use the following:

S – Specific (describes exactly what you are going to deliver and what the learner will be able to do)

M – Measurable (can be observed during the training programme)

A – Attainable by the end of the training programme

R – Relevant to the needs of the learner

T – Time-Based (achievable by the end of the training programme)

Writing Objectives Exercise
Now we understand what SMART objectives are about, let’s put this knowledge on the back burner for a while. Remember, SMART is a checking process, not a writing process.

I want you to think of a subject you could deliver to your learners in a one-hour training session. Keep it simple for the purpose of this exercise. You can download an Objectives Exercise worksheet here. Once you have come up with a subject, try to think of about three objectives for your training session. Write them down, then use the SMART checking process. Look at each objective in turn. Are they specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based? The chances are your objectives will need some tweaking at this point and that’s the beauty of this process. Fine-tuning your objectives before getting down to the nitty-gritty of training methods and resources, allows for more time to be spent on planning the latter. Once your objectives are robust and in place you can focus all your attention on how you’re going to achieve the objectives, the timing, sequence of activities, resources, etc.

If this is a method you have not used in the past, give it a try, I’m pretty sure you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results. And drop me a line to let me know how you get on.

If you’d like to learn more about SMART objectives you should sign up for our two-day Train the Trainer course.


Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/

Friday, 27 August 2010

Supporting Learners with Dyslexia

It doesn’t matter what age our learners are, there is always a chance that as trainers we will be working with a learner who has dyslexia. This is nothing to be afraid of. Indeed, we should relish the opportunity and learn from the experience as a way of developing our own skills as trainers. Of course, it’s always useful to have some strategies and training methods in place before hand and this article will help to prepare for that occasion.

What is Dyslexia?
Before trying to support learners with dyslexia, it will help to understand a little about it. The word dyslexia is a Greek word meaning “difficulty with words.” It is a learning disability characterised by problems in expressive or receptive, oral and written language. Problems may emerge in reading, spelling, writing or listening.

Dyslexics are right brain dominant, which means they take a global approach, looking at the whole thing. People who do not suffer from dyslexia are left brain dominant and use linear progression being able to deal with things one at a time.

Dyslexia is not a sign of low intelligence. The problem is not behavioural, psychological, motivational or social, and it is not a problem with vision. Dyslexics do not, as is commonly believed, “see backwards.”

Dyslexia results from differences in the structure and function of the brain. People with dyslexia are unique; each having individual strengths and weaknesses. There are more than 40 different types of dyslexia.

The following list includes some of the problems a dyslexic learner might experience:
  • Problems with oral language
  • Problems with symbols, numbers and sequences
  • Problems with time and organisation
  • Problems with written language
  • Poor short-term auditory memory
  • Visual and/or auditory difficulties
  • Problems with expression
  • Phonological (sound) processing deficit
  • Inaccurate self-image (lazy, stupid, careless, etc)
Supporting Dyslexic Learners
Adopting the following methods will greatly aid dyslexic learners as well as being a benefit to others with learning difficulties.

  • Simplify your instructions – be specific/be clear
  • Provide instructions in different formats (written, visual)
  • Encourage diary use
  • Give new information more than once
  • Work on one problem at a time
  • Work to the individual’s strengths
  • Give plenty of time
  • Ask for verbal clarification to ensure understanding
  • Provide visual directions to new places/venues, using references (church on the corner, etc)
  • Explain relevance and purpose of instructions
  • Use analogy/real experiences
  • Use real things to explain concepts
  • Use coloured paper for all handouts (pastel shade paper reduces the contrast between background and text, making it much easier to read)
  • Provide learners with boiled sweets or similar while working as this is a great concentration aid
  • Offer a variety of different pens and pencils to encourage learners to find the type that suits them best (thin pens, thick pens, pens with rubber grips, etc)
Strategies for Developing Reading Skills
The following strategies will help all learners who have difficulties with reading. Always use relevant materials and try to incorporate reading into as many activities as possible. Make sure you always define key words you might be using. Get your learners to read in pairs and encourage the use of newspapers and magazines. Encourage dictionary/thesaurus use to increase the understanding of words (an electronic dictionary/thesaurus is a great tool for this) and never assume a poor reader can decode a new word. Tell them the word first, then look at how it can be decoded.

Dyscalculia
Dyscalculia is a specific learning disability in numeracy. Learners with dyslexia and learners with dyscalculia share the same characteristics. Many dyslexics are also below average in numeracy due to confusions with the terminology and poor reading skills. Therefore, many of the strategies mentioned earlier will work in this situation.

Technology for Dyslexics
Dyslexic learners find they are more able to spell and write freely when using a keyboard; being able to see what they are writing and then edit in private is very useful and supports self esteem. But do not assume that a dyslexic learner will learn mouse control and keyboard skills easily; patience will be needed.

Using word processing software such as Microsoft Word, you can alter the colour of the background and font as well as the font style. Spend some time with the learner getting them to choose the best combination of colours. It will also benefit all learners if the red (spelling) and green (grammar) lines are turned off in Microsoft Word. This stems the flow of thought when learners are writing because they spend more time concentrating on their spelling and grammar rather than getting words on the page. You will, of course, need to ensure learners use the Spellchecker after they have finished to any correct errors.

There are also software programs available that will read back what is written on the screen and this is an excellent aid for dyslexic learners.

Suitable Fonts
Many people with dyslexia find that the readability of a piece of text varies greatly depending upon the font used. Serif fonts (such as Times New Roman) with their “ticks” and “tails” tend to obscure the shapes of letters, so sans-serif fonts, which are much cleaner in appearance, are generally preferred. Verdana, which was commissioned by Microsoft with the aim of making on-screen reading of web pages easier, is a good font to use. The only problem with this font is that the line spacing is very tight. Trebuchet is ideal because it has short descenders, but reasonably long ascenders, a small body size and generous spacing. Arial is a common font and readily available on most computers, while Comic Sans has become somewhat of a preferred font among dyslexic people.

Useful Websites
You can obtain a host of useful information from the following websites:

British Dyslexia Association
http://www.bdadyslaxia.org.uk/

Dyslexia Scotland
http://www.dyslexiascotland.org.uk/

Dyslexia Institute
http://www.dyslexia-inst.org.uk/

Dyslexia Action
http://www.dyslexiaaction.org.uk/

Being Dyslexic
http://www.beingdyslexic.co.uk/

iANSYST Ltd
http://www.dyslexic.com/

Crossbow Education
http://www.crossboweducation.com/

I hope this article has been of some use to and that you will consider putting some of these strategies in place to assist your dyslexic learners. If you would like more advice on supporting all learners with additional needs you might consider attending our 2-day Train the Trainer course.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Dealing With Challenging Behaviour

A question I always get asked during Train the Trainer is how to deal with challenging behaviour. There will be times when all trainers experience testing behaviour and not only those dealing with difficult clients where you might expect it, like dysfunctional teenagers and long-term unemployed. Challenging behaviour can come from the most unexpected source. For example, you might be delivering a training session to some of your colleagues and someone you regard perhaps as a good friend, decides to be the joker of the group. It’s impossible to foresee these situations, the knack is knowing what to do when they arise and, if at all possible, prevent them before they happen or have the opportunity to escalate.

Body Language
Body Language might well be your first ‘weapon’ of choice. Raised eyebrows, a frown, even a smile to indicate you know that they are tempted will deter the majority of learners from imminent misdemeanour.

Humour
Some situations can be dealt with using humour, although not in a sarcastic way. But when the situation has defused, speak to them on a one-to-one basis and let them know their behaviour is unacceptable.

Know the Disciplinary Procedure
It’s always a good idea to be familiar with the organisation’s disciplinary procedure and apply it as necessary. If you are dealing with the same group on a regular basis, the fact that a member of that group has been issued with a written warning usually spreads like wildfire and will often work as a deterrent to others. Nobody wants to be dismissed from a training programme.

Avoid Confrontation
Don’t allow yourself to get into big arguments. It’s better to just send them out of the training room if possible and deal with the situation when the learner (and you) has cooled off and the rest of the group is working on a task. Even the nicest groups can relish the trainer versus learner scenario, especially teenagers who are very sheep-like, where one dominant personality goes, the rest will follow.

Speak to your Colleagues
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Every trainer will struggle with a situation at some time and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Quite often, you will not be alone in experiencing problems with certain learners and it can be reassuring to find out that other staff members have found certain trainees a handful. They might even have a strategy that works.

Don’t Dwell on a Bad Training Session
Most importantly, don’t dwell on bad training sessions or take them personally. Afterwards, decide what you could have done to make things better and how you would try to prevent it happening again. The key is to learn from it and move on. Don’t mention the problem the next time you see the group. Start afresh and don’t bear a grudge, if they are teenagers you will find they change with the wind and more often than not, will have forgotten by the next time you see them.

You can learn more about dealing with challenging behaviour on our 2-day Train the Trainer course. Visit our website for further details.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Training Course Directory

Our Training Services Course Directory is now available for download from our website.

The 18-page directory features our current range of 12 training courses, from a one-day employability skills course to our popular two-day train the trainer programme, and we're sure Gary Bedingfield Training Services has a course that will meet the needs of your clients and staff.

Furthermore, our courses are far more affordable than most other courses on the market. For just £350 (that’s per group, not per person) you can have up to eight of your staff attend our extremely popular two-day Train the Trainer course.*

How do we make our courses so affordable? We reduce our overheads by coming to you. By using your training facilities to deliver the course we are able to offer training at a price that suits any budget.

So, why not download a copy of our training directory today and see how we can help your organisation.


*All courses are priced for delivery within a 50 mile radius of Glasgow. Courses can be delivered anywhere in the UK but will incur an additional travel cost which will be kept to a minimum. Please contact me for details.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/

Welcome

Welcome to our new blog facility where we will be posting links, articles and useful tidbits relating to trainer and facilitator training.

Based in Glasgow, Gary Bedingfield Training Services have more than 12 years experience in the training industry in both Scotland and England. With a strong understanding of learning strategies and opportunities needed in the public and private sector we have worked with clients ranging from young people to mature adults.

Specialising in a range of Train the Trainer courses starting with the one-day "Introduction to Training" to the advanced two-day Train the Trainer Phase 2, we are delivering courses throughout Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom.

Visit Gary Bedingfield Training Services website at http://www.garybedingfield.co.uk/