25 Jan 2023
Here at Friends of the Earth we’re committed to supporting our local action groups to learn and develop. This is done, in part, through delivering online training that’ll build your skills, knowledge and confidence.
Our theory of training
We understand that not everyone has had a positive experience of education, and for that reason we aim to deliver training that doesn’t replicate formal education. We use a methodology called “experiential learning”, which allows space for participants to learn a theory, test it out for themselves and contextualise it for their local action group.
For example, a training on community mapping would share different theories on how to do this in practice. Participants would then be given time to map their community using the theories. Finally, participants would have time to reflect on how their local action groups could make use of community mapping. Experiential learning allows us to hear from a wide range of perspectives and understand that there isn’t just one “right” way of doing things.
We use pre- and post-training surveys as well as reflection and self-assessment by our training team to continually evaluate our training and ensure we’re always improving and providing the best learning environments. We really value all feedback from our activists.
We’re passionate about creating learning environments that are inclusive and accessible for all our local action group members and beyond. As part of this, we ask that all participants read and follow our training agreement. If you have any questions about anything, please reach out to [email protected]
Our training agreement
Be present. We ask that you make the most of the time together. Please be present and focused, be ready to share your thoughts and give your attention to others. We also welcome you to show up in a way that feels right for you and recognise that being focused means different things to everyone. For example, having something to fidget with, standing up and moving around, doodling or sketching, eating or drinking, and closing your eyes to listen can all help with focus, and all of these are welcome during our training sessions.
We welcome activists of all ages. We ask that you help us in creating a welcoming space by being aware of your language and acting as a role model for our younger activists, if applicable. It can be daunting for a young person to join a group of adults, so we ask that adult participants give space and time to hear their thoughts and views in discussions.
No bullying zone. If you’re being mistreated online or see any bullying or poor behaviour in training, please contact a member of the facilitation team by direct message and we’ll handle the situation.
Respect confidentiality within training sessions. What’s said there, stays there. What’s learned there, leaves there. Never share quotes from or stories of what happens in training sessions without the express permission of all involved.
Here to help. If there’s anything you’re worried about or want help with, please contact one of the facilitators.
Create an equitable space. We’re passionate about creating spaces that ensure everyone feels comfortable, can learn and engage, and is free from discrimination. Below are some behaviours that we ask for during training sessions to help with this.
- We all have different backgrounds and cultures, so don’t make assumptions. Participants shouldn’t assume their culture or nationality is shared by all others in the session or that their perspective is the only way to see the world.
- Don’t use absolutes or generalisations. We all have different experiences in life, and by using words like “never”, “no-one/nobody”, “everyone”/”everybody” and “always” we’re making statements that don’t allow for a variety of people’s perspectives and life experiences.
- Use “I” statements instead. This is a way to allow for different views and experiences. Examples include “from my perspective”, “for me I feel” and “I think”.
- Elevate the voices of people who aren’t always listened to in society. We ask for you to reflect and think about whether you’re a person who speaks frequently and is listened to. If this is the case, we ask you to take a step back in training discussions and allow space for people whose voices we don’t hear as often. If the topic that’s being discussed isn’t your lived experience, double check yourself before commenting and think about whether your contributions will be useful.
- Respect intersectionality and be aware of your own privilege. Intersectionality is about how different systems of discrimination and privilege intersect – for example, Black women face both sexism and racism. It's important for us to acknowledge that society unfairly discriminates against certain identities, and that even though the intent of our actions and words may be good, this doesn't necessarily mean their impact will be positive. If you've had a negative impact on another participant, we ask that you allow space for them to speak about it if they want to, rather than jumping to share your intentions.
We’re committed to delivering training that’s accessible. Our online trainings use a combination of Zoom, PowerPoint, breakout rooms and Jamboards (interactive whiteboards).
In addition, we have the following processes in place to support accessibility:
- On Zoom we use Closed Captions.
- If you require a palantypist or a BSL interpreter, you can contact [email protected] at least 2 weeks before the training and we’ll aim to book an expert service. If there are no available palantypists or BSL interpreters, we’ll work with you to do whatever we can to support your engagement in the training.
- All PowerPoint presentations have alt text for images and pictures.
- PowerPoints and handouts will be emailed to all participants prior to training for use with screen readers.
We also really welcome requests for any other accessibility requirements, and you can email us at [email protected] to talk about it further.