Training on leadership and methodology in the form of classroom trainings has started again. I just ran one! The incidence numbers are falling, it’s summer! And I have been vaccinated for the second time myself.
Nonetheless, I found it a little difficult. I actually have a presenter case, a box of pens, plus a bag that has practically “everything in it” for classroom trainings. A second power supply for the PC, a mouse, a loudspeaker for sounding somewhat larger rooms, a set of moderation cards… And also all the utensils for my favorite exercises. I had filled it up with all the materials I needed for this training. And then I forgot about the presentation box! The other two kits saved me – but I have learned something: not to rely on routines I do not have.
Flip charts and partition walls were usable again, but I had almost forgotten how to use them adequately. For instance, my handwriting had shrunk!
The Marshmallow Challenge and other group dynamic exercises actually encourage more personal proximity. I also had to modify the “Wake Up” exercises in the plenary, which require a little physical effort and closeness again. Breakout sessions, as we have been used tocall them since MS Teams and Zoom, too. We just call them group work again. The concern that these would no longer be feasible, due to the physical proximity of those involved, proved to be unfounded. In the past I had always had groups like this work in the corners of the plenary. But the participants automatically grouped themselves around large tables and minded the distance!
So – not really difficult! Quite on the contrary. But I was flabbergasted and not ready for all givens:
The required distance (2 m) resulted in a correspondingly large reserved classroom. But there was a large column in the middle of the rooom, made even more massive with storage space for pens and pads. Wherever I stood, one participant was always hidden! They weren’t those who usually took a seat “in the back of the room in a corner” and a spacious neighbour. With MS Teams, they could simply turn off the camera.
Reiner Borretty conducting a classroom training before COVID-19. He has lost quite some weight since then…
Classroom trainings will only reluctantly resume. Their planning remains difficult and volatile: although we have left the Third Wave practically behind us, regional hotspots can pop up as well as (the introduction of) mutants. We will always have to plan the virtual version together with the design of trainings (and workshops) for face-to-face for a long time to come! So let’s hope for further decline of numbers – yet, we cannot assume it.