METM09 workshop

Planning and leading interactive activities in workshops and training sessions

In a few short years MET members have cooperated to develop and refine training sessions that have enhanced the usefulness and broadened the scope of the MET training program. In this workshop participants will explore some avenues along which such activities might continue to develop by analyzing the ways that participants can interact in training sessions and by evaluating procedures that promote interaction.

Developer/Facilitator: Dick Edelstein

Purpose: To gain hands-on experience in planning interactive training sessions aimed at developing skills relating to text editing and translation. To identify useful outcomes of interactive training tasks and explore procedures that can help ensure that these results are achieved.

Description: Participants will work together to design training tasks and define desired outcomes, identifying obstacles to achieving the best results for all members of a training group and working towards solutions. They will analyze attributes of successful training activities and work on techniques aimed to ensure that criteria for success are fulfilled. They will explore procedures that encourage involvement and cooperation, promote long term skill transfer and lead to useful outcomes for participants with differing needs.

A fundamental part of the workshop is that participants will evaluate the suitability of a broad range of techniques for achieving the aims they set for their training sessions, and they will work on incorporating the approaches and techniques they deem useful into their own practice.


Hour 1. Following activities to establish rapport and form a group, participants work in small groups to outline a proposed workshop task for improving some specific text editing skills. They present their procedure to the whole group, and discussion follows, focusing on useful outcomes the proposed tasks can achieve and pitfalls that need to be avoided to achieve the best results.

Hour 2. In an input session, the facilitator introduces a series of criteria that have proven to be useful in leading effective workshops and training sessions. Participants discuss these criteria and assess the usefulness for their own purposes of several techniques that aim to fulfill them. In group activities and general discussion they explore an experiential workshop model and evaluate techniques that encourage participants to cooperate, to share knowledge and experience, and to assimilate new skills.

Hour 3. Participants return to their initial small working groups to elaborate their original training task in greater detail, making use of some ideas gleaned from their experience in the current workshop. In a feedback session, participants help the planners of the activities to refine their procedure in order to best achieve the intended outcomes of their activities. Summary activities prepare participants to incorporate into future practice approaches and techniques they judged to be useful for their own purposes.

Who should attend? Anyone who has given workshops and seminars or is thinking about doing so in the future, particularly anyone interested in an approach to experience-based workshop training -” and last but not least, anyone who is merely curious. MET members thinking about taking the plunge into leading a training activity are encouraged to attend.

Outcome skills: Participants will have become familiar with several approaches and techniques that may be applied to training situations; they will have gained practical experience in applying such notions and evaluating their suitability for specific training situations; and they will have enhanced their repertoire of techniques for giving workshops, presentations and seminars.

Pre-meeting information:

A good way to prepare for this workshop would be to take a few minutes to consider the following questions and tasks, either alone or in discussion with someone else who is interested:

  1. For what skills related to editing or translation would you be interested in developing interactive or participatory tasks? Or what skills would you like to receive training in?
  2. List a few individual or group tasks that could be used in a workshop or training session.
  3. What are the aims of the tasks you have listed?
  4. With reference to the tasks you listed above, list several difficulties, obstacles, limitations or pitfalls that could impede achieving the most successful outcomes for all of the participants in a training group.

About the facilitator: Dick Edelstein has led workshops and training sessions for language teachers over a couple of decades and has worked in training information technology managers and trainers, and as a ski instructor. He is also a text professional with experience in writing, editing, translation and journalism.