How do adults learn and what is the process of teaching adults? How do you develop new skills for a person who is already trained in a profession, and how do you evaluate the outcome of this work? And – in the context of the objectives of the School of Advanced Journalism – how to teach journalism in a live, accessible and interactive way? These were the key topics of a new training edition ToT (Training of Trainers) that took place at the beginning of this year at the SAJ and which was a real marathon for the participating instructors.
We have searched the key to success in trainer activity together with Iolanda Stăniloiu, who has an extensive experience in the area of public and corporate communication, media consultancy and social dialogue. She worked as a state secretary, spokesperson for the Romanian Government; she was a TV editor and the founder of the Center for Independent Journalism in Bucharest. Therefore, the “secrets” of the trainer’s activity, which she revealed to the SAJ instructors, were numerous and diverse, because, she says, “adult learning is an experiential learning”.
At the beginning of the training, Iolanda Stăniloiu discussed with the participants the differences between traditional training and professional training, pedagogy and andragogy, self-knowledge and excellence in journalists’ training. Mentioning that all these must be in tandem with the ingredients required by a charismatic trainer – passion, integrity, model quality, humor, etc., but also interest in innovation, without which a project manager can not achieve performance.
After this “theoretical” incursion, several days of practical activities followed. The trainers have identified, through self-knowledge and self-assessment exercises, the types of trainers and trainees; have proposed solutions to potential conflict situations and have learned tricks that contribute to better transmission of their knowledge and skills, but also to the consolidation and cohesion of the trained group. They also learned about the life cycle of a journalism training program, the importance of managing interpersonal relationships as accurately as possible in a training, exchanged good practice in solving potential problems, and discussed about current trends in journalism education. And in the end, as it happens in any training, they came up with their own feedback and learned how to provide, in a constructive and encouraging manner, this feedback to the SAJ students.
All the new methods, techniques, and games that have been analyzed during the course can be used in journalism training, including in the courses taught to the SAJ students.