Training Ideas

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Basic Training Session
Training your team of volunteers so that they know how to help you run an event is really important. This is a training session to help your team understand why you are running an MYX event and to have a chance to explore some of the issues dialogue raises.

You might want to run the whole session or just pick the activities that suit you and your group best. Feel free to adapt the ideas or add your own ones if they work better. If you have other training ideas or needs do contact us [link to contact us section] and let us know.


Aim of the session:
To help leaders understand why you are running the event and how they can best support the work.


Ice Breaker
How good are you at….
Sit the group in a circle and place a piece of paper as a target in the middle (you could draw a target shape on it if you wanted). Give each person an object that they can throw at the target for example a scrunched up piece of paper. Tell everyone you are going to ask them how good they are at a variety of tasks, they have to imagine that there is a scale from where they are sitting to the target in the middle, near them is not very good, the target represents very skilful. They have to place, or throw, their object to show how skilful they are. Check everyone knows what they are doing and then read out a variety of tasks. Mix things to do with Youthwork with general life skills and try to keep it light hearted. Explain this isn’t an assessment of them but just a fun way to get to know a bit about each other. Some example of skills could be:

  • Driving
  • Cooking
  • Listening
  • Gardening
  • Ironing
  • Packing to go on holiday
  • Playing a musical instrument

Stop after a few rounds and highlight that everyone had different skills. That’s important in being part of a team running a youth event. People will bring different skills and knowledge to the event but each person’s contribution is important to the overall success of the event.

Things Needed: Target, objects for people, list of skills

Time it takes: 5 mins


Why are we doing this?
Christian-Muslim dialogue amongst teenagers is still a relatively new idea and many people are unsure as to why it should take place. This activity will help to ensure that everyone understand what MYX is about.

Why and Why Not?
Split the group in two and ask each half to discuss one of the following questions:

‘Why do you think it’s important for Muslim and Christian young people to get together?’
‘What do you think prevents Christian and Muslim young people from getting together?’

Encourage the groups to come up with as many answers as possible, ask them to think of practical, social or theological issues that might answer the questions.

Get feedback from both groups and, if there’s time, allow some discussion about the answers. Are there answers that are more pertinent to one faith group or another? Which answers are more about young people than a faith specific issue? When you’ve finished the discussion either play the video clips from the MYX website which give Christian and Muslim reasons for dialogue. [we need to provide links and the titles of the clips here] or give your own explanation of why this work matters.

Things Needed: Questions on Powerpoint or flip chart, Flip chart and pens, downloaded video clips, laptop, data projector and speakers. Time it takes: 15 mins

Priorities
Having looked at all these reasons for bringing young people together give each person a small piece of paper and a pen and ask them to identify their own 3 top reasons for wanting to help Christian and Muslim young people do dialogue. Ask them to share their ideas with one other person and then ask that pair to combine their lists and then reduce it to just 2 reasons. Ask them to write these reasons on Post-it notes and stick them all on a wall. Give people a chance to look at what’s been written to see the commonalities and differences in people’s own reasons for doing this work.

Things Needed: Small pieces of paper, Post-It notes, pens. Time it takes: 10 Mins


Discussing Faith
Helping young people discuss faith is integral to the work of MYX. These activities will enable the leaders to experience discussing faith for themselves and think through the issues these discussions raise.

Positive Thinking
Split the group into pairs ideally 1 Christian with 1 Muslim if possible. Say that they’ve got 3 minutes to tell each other what is the best thing about being either a Christian or a Muslim. When they’ve finished go round asking people to share with the group what their partner said. Write up the answers they give and then identify together similarities or differences between the answers. Make it clear that one of the principles of MYX is that we highlight both the similarities and the differences between Christianity and Islam and that part of our challenge is to help young people learn to disagree peacefully.

Things Needed: Flip chart, pens. Time it takes: 10 mins

Giving Bad Guidelines
Split the group into teams and give each team a pile of lego bricks or similar. Tell them that they have got to build a tower, the one which is highest off the ground and the most beautiful will win a prize (eg a bar of chocolate each). Refuse to give any more details and don’t intervene if people get creative (ie build their model on a table or add decorations). Suddenly announce that time’s up and order the teams to stop whatever they’re doing. Award one group as a winner and explain why theirs is the most beautiful.

When the arguing and protests of unfairness have stopped ask people why they are complaining. You set a task and awarded a winner as you said. Draw out from the conversation the vagueness of the task and therefore it was open to anyone’s interpretation. Also the arbitrary decision about beauty, if you’d said before what you thought was beautiful the groups would have stood a better chance.

Explain that people got frustrated and it was only building a tower. When people are discussing really important issues it’s very easy for them to get frustrated if they feel that the discussion is unfair or unrepresentative. It’s important, therefore, to make sure that in dialogue the guidelines are really clear so that people know what is expected of them from the start.

Things Needed: lots of lego bricks or similar, prize such as chocolate bars. Time it takes: 15 mins

Giving Good Guidelines
Hand out a copy of the Guidelines for Dialogue to everyone. These can be downloaded [link needed]. Explain that these are the guidelines that MYX has produced for groups to base their discussions on. Give everyone time to read through all the guidelines. Ask them if there are any that they think are particularly helpful, any that they don’t like, any they don’t understand or any they think should be there but aren’t.

Go though the guidelines together making sure everyone understands them and why they are important for establishing good discussion.  (note: Some people do think that having guidelines restricts discussion but in our experience having these guidelines reassures young people about the nature of the discussion and consequently they open up more than they otherwise would).

Things Needed: Guidelines for Dialogue sheet downloaded and photocopied for each person. Time it takes: 10 mins

Giving it a Go
Set up an opportunity for discussion applying the guidelines for dialogue. For topics and discussion ideas why not use the ones in the youth resources [link to resources page] this way you will have chance to work through one or two of the issues that the young people will discuss.

After you’ve had the discussion give chance for people to feedback their responses to taking part in the discussion. Find out what they learnt, was there any point when the conversation really flowed? Was there any point when it was a bit tricky?

Things Needed: Discussion materials from youth resources. Time it takes: 30 mins


Conclusion
Hopefully now the team are looking forward to the event you are going to run. You might want to recap the main points of the session to re-enforce the main points.

Txt sumry
Ask the group to image that a young person has texted them asking what this event is about and why they should go. Tell them that you want them to write a text message response on their mobile phone, but then to send it to you so that you can read out the responses. This will give people a chance to summarise very succinctly the aims and ideas behind the day. If people haven’t got a ‘phone ask them to work in pairs with someone who has. You will need to be prepared to give out your number if you choose to do this.

Things Needed: Mobile ‘phones. Time it takes: 5 mins

 

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