Permaculture Introductory weekend Course design - Review and Done differentlies
Teaching methods: People seemed to appreciate the mix of session styles and techniques. I missed out on some possibilities on the Sunday because i was so tired. The effectiveness of the visual icons was very apparent in the review session we did on Sunday - people remembered the icons and then worked out the principles from them. The planning for real exercise was particularly popular. Maybe there was too much information on the saturday - people were a bit glassy eyed by the end of the day. The projector wasn't great because of the light levels, but i was able to end the film when i wanted and thus ensure that lunch happened on time no matter when the video started. I need to learn some more facilitation skills, and put in more time for discussions next time.
Preparation: Next time i would ensure i definitely had the facilities to print pages out before i relied on that for my session guides. Or i would try to print them earlier on rather than leave it to the last minute. The digital mind maps are however versatile, pretty, easily altered and easily readable, so i will use this technique again next time if i can assure printing facilities. Likewise the handout should have been ready earlier on, to ease last minute printing stress. Getting more sleep in the run up to the course is something i would plan to get more of next time as well. Having the projector sorted out before hand would also have reduced my stress levels. The last few sessions on Saturday were less well prepared - i had no visual layout ideas for the flip chart, so the teaching seemed less coherent to me and maybe to the particpants too. It would be good to have actually seen the video in full before i showed it as well... More preparation, and less leaving it to the last minute.
People care: I forgot to add Louise into the transport pool, and didn't tell Lionel to come past the locked gates at Proper Job, so he missed that afternoon. More thought next time for the people who are not there for parts of the course, so they can join back in - physically and mentally. Also, some more comfortable and sheltered urinals at Steward Wood would be useful.
Timing: Overall it was good, but because i was so tired i didn't prepare or facilitate the last session as well as i'd have liked, and we ended 20mins late having agreed only a 5 minute overrun.
Feedback: I organised some on the day, but more will be built in next time, and a session between me and the teaching team afterwards (asap afterwards) would be good - it didn't happen this time. Printed feedback forms would help people share constructive feedback more easily next time.
Photos: It would be nice to have pictures of the course, not least to put on this website - next time i will take a camera and record the course that way too.
Offers and requests: This idea came in too late, when everyone was tired. I could have brought it in earlier on the saturday, and used it as an example of designing by input/output joining up (needs-inputs, offers-outputs).
Energy levels; I was very tired on the second day, increasingly so as the day wore on. Getting more sleep in the run up to the course would be a good tweak, or failing that, putting some strong chocolate onto the course materials list! The participants were also very tired by Sunday afternoon - partly due to the weather, but maybe also due to the amount of learning they had done. Make a shorter syllabus next time?
Venues: I was slighty scared 3 days before the course when i realised i hadn't heard for definite which venue we had in Ashburton, so keeping closer contact with the venue coordinator, or doing it myself, would make things less worrying for me. I also forgot to formally ask Proper Job if i could do a tour there - in all my busy-ness i assumed somewhere below my conscious thought level that my informal agreement to do a tour there in March meant i could do one in May and not have to ask anyone. Next time i will be more repectful and clear in my relationship with Proper Job.
Non-land based Permaculture focus: I think that i got the message across loud and clear that the principles and design tools can be applied to all systems, not just gardening, but it would be nice to have the planning for real game not based on a broadscale farm, but on a kitchen layout, or an invisible social structure of some kind instead.
Overall: The course was an incredible experience for me, reassuring me about my teaching skills, encouraging me to make it a larger part of my focus in life. All the lessons i have learnt will be useful next time, and it seems that the participants also had a great time, and i hope to reconnect with them somewhere down the line - indeed some of them are coming to my Accreditation event.