This is a reference for Fergal Barr

Humour is Serious Business:

The training activity took place
in Drobollach am Faakersee, Austria
organised by GEMMA – Germeshausen und Mak | Verein GEMMA
5-12 November 2018

Aims & objectives

‘Humour is Serious Business’ is a Training Programme (primarily but not exclusively so) aimed at young leaders, youth work practitioners and other practitioners with a remit for young people but who are interested in and committed to the examination and use of Humour as a pro-active and deliberate methodology of engaging young people and other youth work communities.

The programme provides space and time to examine a multitude of questions, matters, issues and concerns related to the use of Humour in an effort to increase skills, knowledge and experience of Humour.

This interactive programme not only allows participants to examine humour in detail but enables them to achieve a greater understanding of the subject matter, enhances their capacity to use it in their work setting and provides them with space to test it in a safe environment.

(i) upskilling youth work practitioners in the use of humour as an effective tool for engaging young people and youth work communities
(ii) enhancing knowledge of the various types of humour so as to increase understanding of how, where, when and why it can be applied
(iii) increasing awareness of how humour can be used as a pro-active and deliberate methodology in youth work and not just as a natural consequence of and response to specific situations
(iv) consider cultural differences in humour and understand better how these can be used to support and inform youth work practice
(v) providing space and time for practitioners to reflect upon the use of their own sense of humour and consider where it can be altered to support their practice
(vi) challenge participants to step out of their ‘comfort zone’ in order to appreciate their own commitment to learning
(vii) developing local humour-based programmes to test methodologies and techniques with a view to informing humour-based practice
(viii) the development of a number of joint-actions between partner organisations that address and respond to identified issues affecting young people, e.g., lack of opportunities and/or mobility, career choices, unemployment, lack of resources, etc

Target group & international/intercultural composition of the group & team

The Training Team I worked alongside included Elisa Gallo-Rosso (Artist, Italy) and Matthias Schrenk (Youth Worker, Germany). Co-ordinator Marc Germeshausen (Austria) and Logistical Support Eva Kobin (Estonia) were tasked with the overall organisation of the programme.

There were 25 participants drawn from the following countries: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, hungary, UK, Italy, Portugal, Romania and Spain.

The target group was young leaders, youth and social workers and other practitioners with a remit for young people.

Training methods used & main activities

Working methods included Facilitator-Led Interactive exercises, Trainer Inputs, Simulation Exercises, Role Play, Small and Large Working Groups, discussion-led workshops, surveys and self-organised activity. There was also ‘homework’ organised in advance of the group coming together which focused on 'research' and preparation of humour presentations.

Outcomes of the activity

The project had eight objectives and we assessed these by asking participants to complete a survey monkey questionnaire at the beginning (using sliding scales, 1-100) to determine how they prioritised each objective.

This provided us with a baseline that we could compare at the end of the process.

The average score for all objectives at the outset was 77.13 whilst the final score was 77.38 – a slight increase overall.

We also asked participants to score the objectives again through the formal evaluation form and this came out at 76.2%, so very close to the final figure of 77.38.

When we analysed all the different sections through the evaluation form:

- Programme Content (78.5%),
- Objectives (76.2%)
- Meeting E+ Objectives (86.7%)
- Structural elements (84%)
- Technical Aspects (84.9%)

The overall figure for the entire project scored 82.1%.

The main source of measuring Learning Outcomes is linked to The LID (Leadership through Intercultural Dialogue) Indicator Framework which is a series of (73) statements across three areas - Skills, Knowledge and Attitude - and is designed to capture or measure change that has taken place during the course of the training. Participants score themselves against each statement from 1 – 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest. They complete the framework twice, once at the beginning and once at the end and both scores are compared in order to determine change.

Overall there was a 18% (positive) change across the entire group, i.e., 28% increase in knowledge, an 8% increase in Attitude and 18% increase in Skills.

Your tasks and responsibilities within the team

Our role within the programme was to:

Role of Facilitators for Training Programmes

• Take responsibility for all programme content
• Facilitate all programme sessions
• Prepare all materials in advance of all group sessions
• Co-ordinate debriefs and reflection groups
• Attend Team Meetings
• Liaise with Logistics to ensure clear instructions re room set-up and other matters requiring logistical support
• Prepare information in advance of planning meeting
• Support Logistics Team in preparing Information Pack

I worked on this training for 6 days as a full time trainer.

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