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Group Work


My organisation is facilitating a workshop for its South East Asia members and their donor partners (from North America, Europe and Asia). Some of the leaders from the South East Asia countries have said that they are sick and tired of breaking up into discussion groups at these meetings and being treated like "school children"...they would prefer a return to traditional/formal presentations and plenary discussions. Any ideas on how to deal with this issue?
Aurelia Balpe

6 Responses

  1. Cultural Differences
    When I delivered training in Singapore, I had to adjust the delivery style to suit their culture of listening attentively to the trainer and not questioning their words! My local colleagues warned me about using breakout groups and throwing questions to the group for them to deliberate over and come up with their own answers.

    A speaker from a major internationl company at a conference last month also talked about how they had to adjust the classroom components of their internationally delivered blended learning programme to reflect this difference.

    I’m afraid, you may have to live with this!

  2. Cultural
    I agree, you would do better to adjust the method rather than swimming up stream! The cultural expectations of mature learning are very different so discussion groups rarely work.

    Much better to give the client what they want and them be happy than try to make them fit the mould.

  3. Do as they ask
    I agree with the previous correspondents. Having lived and worked in South East Asia, you need to recognise there are very different set of expectations from training from managers and employees there.

    Delivering what the cutomer specifically wants is always a good strategy. By showing some flexibility in your own approach and training style, you are much more likely to enable flexibility in your clients.

    After all, there is no ‘one best way’ for training. There is only ‘what is best for the learner’, and learners in different parts of the world use different models for learning.

    The Anglo-American fixation on participative approaches is not always right in every circumstance.


  4. Recognising cultural differences and similarities
    I have recently completed a masters course where I was the only british student amongst 17 international students. Although we recognised there were definite cultural differences we became very aware of avoiding stereotyping certain cultures. We must also recognise that as learners we encounter similar problems and share motivations to develop.

  5. Why Not?
    Why not just do what they ask? They clearly have strong feelings about this issue. I would just make sure that the comments you have recieved do indeed reflect the thoughts and feelings of the majority.


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