This is a paritial list that I am working on putting together for some specific hands-on techniques that I can use when developing my training programs in Kenya.  I say programs because each training is different depending on who the training is for, the individuals’ backgrounds and the length and purpose of their stay.

Specifically I thought I would toss out to you my list for teaching observation techniques.  While it would be easy to have a quick reference guide of dos and don’ts for Kenya that is really probably an overgeneralization, particularly for volunteers who may be visiting for longer time periods.  It’s best to teach people how to better observe so that they can continue learning throughout their time in Kenya.  (These skills will continue to benefit people as they return to their lives back in NA as well.)

I thought that I would post these here and see if anyone had anything else to add.  Other ideas or ways to tweak what is already here.  This also gives you a glimpse into what I am doing these days and will be working with once I’m in Kenya. 

Thanks, friends and neighbors!

Observation skills training techniques:

  • Remember to focus on the senses.
  • Divide group into threes with one as the teller, one as the listener and one as the observer of the non-verbal communication.  The teller tells what they did the night before to the listener.  The observer should pay attention to the non-verbal communication that is occurring.  When the story has been told, discuss those non-verbal signs and what they mean in the context of our culture and in the host culture.  Note that we are using non-verbals and they are often more powerful than our words.  Repeat with each person taking turns playing each role.
  • In the morning before sending everyone out on their day, assign people to look for something all day and tell them it will be discussed later.  i.e. greetings (touch, how long, whom do they greet), money transactions, etc.
  • Experiential learning is a great observation skills teacher.  If clothing is an issue, have people go out into the community (this may not be appropriate in some settings, it works best in a larger community versus a village) into a place like downtown dressed in their home style (i.e. tank top and shorts).  Have them note how they are looked at and treated.  The next day have the volunteers go to the same place dressed in a more traditional attire (long skirt and top with sleeves) and note how they are looked at and treated.  Discuss any behavioral differences of those around them as well as themselves.