The Best They Can Be
Try to think of the best teacher you have ever had. What made him or her so good? Instead of lecturing, the teacher probably interacted with you and helped you take control of your learning; he/she was someone who helped you be the best you could be.
The Learning and Development (L&D) Department at JAARS focuses on these characteristics of a good teacher in their Learning that Lasts training course. The L&D team offers this course, usually twice a year in a virtual format, to JAARS staff, SIL and Wycliffe personnel, and numerous other mission and ministry organizations.
The course, which focuses on methods of interactive learning, is designed for students who will teach in some capacity. Among the many people who have taken this course are a translation consultant, a manager of an Oral Bible Storytelling team, and the prayer coordinator for SIL Cameroon.
The L&D Department at JAARS has four basic values it tries to promote: spiritual vitality, a learner attitude, respectful relationships, and a collaborative culture. Members of the L&D team feel that Learning that Lasts embodies these values.
The name of the course holds substantial meaning as well. Marty Barkey, the director of this training, said she recommends the course because the information learned in it lasts, just as the name states. However, Lasts is also an acronym for the principles that underpin the course: Learner centered, Action with reflection, Solving problems, Teamwork, and Self-reflection and -discovery.
Marty said that one of the most rewarding experiences of leading Learning that Lasts is “seeing the light bulbs go on” in people’s minds. In other words, she enjoys seeing people gain insights from the training. One lesson that really seems to engage participants is the Resource and Needs Assessment. It is learner-focused and goes on throughout the course. Through various tools, the participants learn how to ascertain what the individuals in any training already know and bring to a workshop or course, and what areas they are interested in and need to learn.
As in most other courses, Marty encounters questions. She finds connecting to learners who have preconceived notions about the course can be challenging. However, even this challenge turns into a blessing when people who have been skeptical about the benefits of interactive training change their minds after taking the course!
Just as good teachers focus on the needs of their students, Learning that Lasts is beneficial because it is learner-focused. One participant, a Bible translator, said about the course, “I’d highly recommend participating in a virtual LtL. It will up everyone’s game, which will ultimately lead to better equipped partners and higher quality translations.”