Review of ASK training in Lodz Poland April 2019 Peter Duncan
I was lucky enough to get a place on the ASK training programme in Lodz Poland
The big picture was gathering the information needed to support assistant trainers in circus schools – a curriculum, advice for schools, videos , handbooks etc,
The tasks are being tackled over the course of five weeks spread across Europe over a year – we were the central week – two events already completed.
Participants travelled in – from Estonia,Finland, Germany, Slovenia, Cataluña,France, Italy, Belgium, and Netherlands as well as the UK,
Each country had spent an experienced trainer – often leading a circus school and young people starting out on their lives as teachers and performers
As preparation we had been asked to think about key information for trainers to know, and instructional videos we liked – more about teaching than circus skills
The journey was OK , I met up with another UK representative from MODO in Scotland at Stansted Airport and after navigating trams and busses we arrived at the hotel.
The organisation was excellent- we all ate together and were given tram tickets to travel around the city. The venue was a “dialogue centre” build on the site of the Ghetto in Lodz
The five days were fast paced – excellent facilitation meant we got to know each other and produced lots of materials= challenging discussions and exploring issues were mixed with people sharing their favourite games. The programme was altered to meet the needs and requests from participants. Sessions on conflict resolution and creativity were added.
The discussions were held in English but supported by sign language , and skilled linguists supporting those using their third or fourth language.
Social opportunities included meeting the local jugglers , an “escape room” and trips to see Murals and an art gallery
The “big picture” of the project was always in sight with facilitators and people who had attended previous weeks. There was space for exploring issues important to us as well as “landing” the big tasks anticipated for the week- structure of a handbook, and videos of key elements
The week was intensive – work scheduled between 9.00am and 5.00pm but discussions continued over meals and often late into the night in the excellent pubs and bars in Lodz.
I have returned with admiration for people who can work in 4 languages, new games, new thinking about how and what to train , and contacts for exchanges all over Europe.
I am working on adapting and applying the ideas. I am happy to chat to people about the experience, take part in dissemination events, and I would encourage others to apply for the opportunities
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