Component 4: Technical Assistance S19

Technical Assistance is a collaborative relationship based model of assistance and support that is designed to:

  • Identify, select or design evidence based solutions to address problems, needs or goals
  • Adopt knowledge to practice
  • Effectively implement solutions customized to individual needs

TA can be delivered through several different methods depending on the needs of the TA provider and TA recipient.  Methods can include: face to face visits, video conferencing, phone calls, email, etc.

There are regional organizations that can provide training and technical assistance to early care and education professionals in Kentucky.  These include but are not limited to:

Child Care Aware of Kentucky (CCA)

ChildCare Aware of Kentucky logo

Child Care Aware of Kentucky is committed to ensuring families have access to safe, affordable, quality care. Our goal is to improve child care quality by offering training and technical assistance to child care providers and connecting the community-at-large to resources and educational materials which support quality child care.

There are 4 Coaching types available as a resource:

Health and Safety – help new providers get licensed and certified, provide Technical Assistance to help programs meet regulatory compliance, and provide TA to Level 1 and 2 programs in Kentucky All STARS.

Quality – support licensed and certified programs through Technical Assistance to increase the quality of care provided to children, and assist Level 3, 4, and 5 programs in Kentucky All STARS.

Training – provide Technical Assistance to current and potential trainers, coordinate with trainers to develop high quality training for child care providers, and identify gaps in training.

Professional Development – provide technical assistance on how to apply for scholarships for Early Childhood Credentials and Degrees, provide TA to directors and teachers on how to create professional development plans to support quality child care, and provide technical assistance on the use of ECE-TRIS.

www.kentuckypartnership.org/childcareaware

Early Childhood Regional Training Center (RTC)

Regional Training Center logo

The Early Childhood Regional Training Centers provide a range of services for the early childhood community including regional trainings/workshops, on-site consultations, lending library of materials, and annual statewide and regional collaborative institutes.

https://education.ky.gov/curriculum/conpro/prim-pre/Pages/Early-Childhood-Regional-Training-Centers.aspx

Child Care Health Consultants (CCHC)

Child Care Health Consultants logo

Kentucky Child Care Health Consultation, for a Healthy Start in Child Care, is part of the KIDS NOW Initiative. The program provides consultation and technical assistance to child care providers on health, safety, and nutrition for children ages 0-5. Trained Child Care Health Consultants from local health departments participate in joint activities with Child Care Aware and the Kentucky All Stars program in their areas to ensure collaboration and coordination on issues impacting the quality of child care.

https://www.kentuckycchc.org

Early Childhood Mental Health Program (ECMH)

Provides program and child-level consultation on social, emotional and behavioral issues to programs that serve children from birth through age 5. Their regional ECMH specialists provide training on working with young children with social, emotional and behavioral needs and their families, to child-serving agencies and others. They also evaluate, assess, and provide therapeutic services for children from birth to age 5 and their families.

https://dbhdid.ky.gov/dbh/ecmh.aspx


Professional Development Framework

Please refer to the PDF pages 18-22.

Transitioning from Face to Face Trainer to Facilitator of Online Learning S19

When offering an online training, you are relying on the participants to take what you have placed in the course and learn from it.  If participants’ needs are not being met by what you have designed, you will need to facilitate their learning by adding or changing the content of the course.  This is why it is so important to gather feedback through some sort of process as participants work through and complete the course.

It is especially important in an online training to scaffold the instruction within the training.  In some online trainings, content is released periodically so participants can take the time to complete the assignments and process the information that is provided. If you are opening all parts of the training at the same time, will participants want to rush through and finish the training without gaining a deeper understanding of the materials presented?

Other aspects of online learning are the teaching, social, and cognitive presence.

💭ThinkSpot:

On your 📝Handout page 20, please answer the following questions:

  • What are your thoughts on online learning? Do you like online learning?
  • What are the benefits when offering online learning?
  • What are cautions to consider when offering online learning?

Flexible and Engaging S19

The main reason many learners choose online courses are because they are flexible in regards to time and place.  As you design your course, you need to decide how learners can access it.  Are your courses accessible on handheld devices or would you recommend using a computer? What internet speed and browser works best with the course?  These are good things to know as you are setting up the course and great information to include in your introduction/orientation. 

When engaging learners, they need an opportunity to work with their strengths.  Are you able to give learners choices on projects they complete to give them a sense of control and an ability to use those strengths?

One thing you might need to think about when designing an online class is whether all of the learners are able to access all the materials. Do you have a learner that has a visual impairment, a low literacy level or a hearing impairment?  How are you going to make all of the materials and resources accessible to them?

If you have lots of content to share with learners, text on the page might be the best way to get all of that information in, but will it truly engage them?  Depending upon your technological skills, there are a variety of ways you add other content and still help students learn.

💭ThinkSpot:

On page 19 of your handout, list 3 ways you are going to design your training so that participants enjoy engaging with the content.

Safe and Supportive S19

In any training, participants must feel safe and be supported in order to learn. In most online learning situations, you are not able to read the body language of the students, therefore you need to learn ways to make them feel both accepted and respected by other students as well as the instructor. Especially for first time online learners, there may need to be some type of orientation to the new system and extra calls or emails through the first few weeks.  This will help the learners feel more physically and psychologically safe and open to making mistakes which will increase their learning.  Sharing guidelines (netiquette and class expectations) can help all know what is expected.  Create a set of participant and instructor expectations so that the participants know what you expect from them and what they should expect from you.  One perk of online learning is flexibility for participants, however you need to make sure they follow through with all expectations.  Participants should know your expectations and that you are willing to help by sharing when you are available for emails, phone calls or texts to help with questions.

By providing an introductory page at the beginning of the class, participants can view the expectations, the training outcomes, handouts and tips on navigating through the course itself.  Screenshots can help participants navigate through the site itself as well as the content.

All of the suggestions above help the participants to trust you as their instructor.  Privacy is also a very important part of building trust.  It often takes some time to build trust, but if you respond to participants promptly and as promised, you will build that foundation for trust.

Prepare Yourself S19

The first and most important step to preparing for a training is preparing yourself. 

Are you ready?

Is the room set up so that it will work best for you and the learners?

  • Set up the tables with ample space for each person.
  • Provide them with all necessary materials and handouts.
  • Set out a box of “just in case” table supplies including extra pens, post its, index cards, staplers, fidgets, etc.
  • Make sure the screen and any flip charts are visible from all seats.
  • Refreshments, if provided, should be in the back.
  • Check the thermostat. Is it set at a comfortable level?
Before & after pictures of training room set up
Before
Before & after pictures of training room set up
After

Do you have all the materials you will need (handouts, props, etc.)?

  • Set out pre-counted handouts, any props or materials for easy access.
Set up trainer’s table

Is all your equipment working properly and do you have a backup plan if anything stops working?

  • Test out any tech equipment prior to the start of the training.
  • Make sure you have the WiFi password if required.
  • Bring a backup flash drive of your presentation just in case.
  • Test your videos to make sure they work.

Have you left any personal concerns at the door and are you ready to focus on the needs of your learners?

  • Training attendees deserve 100% of your time and energy. Do your best to handle personal business before or after your training.
  • Develop a trainer self-care routine that helps you relax and mentally prepare for the day (deep breathing, certain type of music playing, etc.). Make sure that you have water close by when presenting.

Have you reviewed your training plan and presentation to refresh yourself on the content and pacing of the training?

  • Taking time to read through your training plan and brush up on the content the day before will ease your mind and boost your confidence on the day of the training.
  • Be sure to get a good night’s rest and eat a balanced meal in the morning.

Is your registration table ready with ECE-TRIS sign in sheets, name-tags and special instructions?

  • Having a registration table near the entrance is a nice way to welcome your learners.
  • A warm personal greeting sets the tone for a positive experience.
  • Providing name-tags will allow the trainer to address each person by their name and will allow the learners to connect with each other more readily.
  • ECE-TRIS sign in sheets should be available at the registration table.

Do you have optional activities for early birds to work on until the training begins?

  • “Unofficial Start” activities are optional tasks that learners can engage in if they wish to connect with others or to connect with content.
  • Trainers can post options on a PowerPoint, a chart paper or give verbal instructions.

Nationally Recognized Sources for Content S19

CONNECT – The Center to Mobilize Early Childhood Knowledge

Connect modules are practice-focused instructional resources for faculty and other professional development providers. Connect modules are designed using a 5 Step Learning Cycle ™, an approach for making evidenced-based decisions about practice dilemmas, based on the integration of multiple sources of evidence.

http://community.fpg.unc.edu

Results Matter Video Library

These videos have been produced to help providers better understand ways to use observation, documentation and assessment to inform practice. You can watch the clips online or download Quick Time versions of the videos for use in educational and professional development activities.

http://www.cde.state.co.us/resultsmatter/RMvideoseries.htm

Videatives

The word videative [vid-e-a-tive] refers to the combination of text and video segments to create an integrated viewing experience (video + narrative = videative). The text explains the video and the video exemplifies the text. Our videatives help you see what children know ™ and thereby help you better support their learning.

http://videatives.com

Training Space Essentials S19

Next let’s think about ways to organize the rest of the training space to make it efficient and comfortable for your participants.

Directional signs
Posted directional sign

Directional signs are a nice addition that guide the participant easily to the training room and help things get off to a good start from the beginning. Think about the frustration of our participant in the disorganized trainer video who could not find the training room. She could have been saved much frustration had our disorganized trainer had these signs. Keep an assortment of signs in a portable file box so that regardless of the location of any training room in any building, the signs will work.

Organized sign in table

A sign-in table should be placed in the hall outside the training room or just inside the entrance to the room. This is less distracting to others if there are late-comers who need to sign in.

Table organization with table identification (number)

On the tables, have table numbers that are visible to both the trainer and participants. This allows the trainer to call on a table without singling out participants who might not be comfortable with that. Place a small box of supplies on each table containing items such as index cards, stapler, tape, paper clips, etc. This way participants have things they might need without interrupting the training to request supplies. Also provide fidgets on the table for those participants who need manipulative items to help them stay focused. These things go back into each container at the end of the session, so they will be ready for the next training. Pre-counted handouts on each table also make a session run smoothly. Hard candy, mints or chocolate are appreciated by participants as special little treats if you find them affordable.

Parking lot for questions to be posted

Having an area that is called the “Parking Lot”, situated toward the back of the room, allows participants to ask questions by posting sticky notes. (Handy in their table-top supply box.) In this way, a participant is free to ask a question that may be a little off subject without derailing the training. It is also good for those participants who may not be comfortable asking questions in the group. The trainer needs to be sure and check periodically to see if there are any posts.   

Resource table

A display of resource books is handy for participants to browse through during a break. (These are samples of the types of books available to you through your training coach.)

Comfort Zone Table

As a courtesy to participants, offer a self-service comfort station. It is clearly marked with a sign and conveniently located off to the side, to not be distracting to others when participants go there. Point out the station and items that are found there during the housekeeping portion of the session. The throws are the most often used items, can be found for a couple of dollars each and are very much appreciated. (Be sure to launder them after each use.) In addition, have a First Aid kit, tissues, hand sanitizer, lotion, Band-aids and cough drops. Also keep sugar-free cough drops and candy in the comfort station and ask participants to be respectful and leave the sugar-free items for those whose situations require it. With increasing use of cell phones as a training aid, having a phone charger available may be beneficial.

FET TIP: At an FET face to face the training site had computerized heat settings with no access to control. The system was not scheduled to have heat on Saturdays. Participants who were not prepared with warmer clothing found the throws to be what saved the day.

Food and refreshments table

If offered, it is best to have refreshments (if budget permits) set in the back of the room. Participants should be welcome to help themselves to a snack or refill of coffee at any time. However, this should not be a constant disruption to the group overall. When the table is in the back of the room, it is far less distracting.

Trainer transporting supplies on a dolly/cart

And by now, you are probably wondering how to get all this wonderful “stuff” hauled into the training room. A cart is an investment that will save you time and a back ache! This is also a good time to mention that when checking out a training site, pay attention to how far the distance will be from where you will unload materials out of your vehicle before you reach the training room. (Be mindful that some buildings may have many steps before you ever enter the outside doors, rendering a cart useless.)

Resources for Trainers S19

In the FET handout under the resources tab, there is a list of books that may be available through a nearby training coach.

If you are looking for training items and other materials, check out these helpful websites:

Trainer’s Warehouse

www.trainerswarehouse.com  They have a wide selection of items specifically designed for trainers. We encourage you to explore the variety of resources they offer such as books for trainers, games for interactive training, ice breakers and more.

Oriental Trading

www.orientaltrading.com   This is a good, inexpensive source for fidgets to place on the tables.

Maintaining a Comfortable Physical Environment for Participants S19

Looking at the list below, what five (5) things should the trainer do throughout the workshop to maintain a comfortable physical environment for the participant? Click each choice to find correct answers.

Additional Layout Considerations S19

Other important things to consider when choosing a room setup are the formal vs. informality of the session, the level of participant involvement desired in activities and the group dynamics you desire to achieve. Various room setups encourage different group interactions.  Consider the possibilities and drawbacks of each setup.

The setup should take advantage of the shape of the room. If the room is a long and narrow shape, it should be set up so that you will be situated in the middle of a long side. If the room is square, the middle of any wall will do. (Always consider the availability of electrical outlets.) A rectangle is the optimal shaped room for training.

In all rooms, try to avoid having windows behind the area where you will stand when you present unless there are drapes to block the windows. The light can be uncomfortable or blinding to participants or cause them to lose concentration as they gaze into the distance outside the training room and begin to watch the deer and the antelope play. Also check to be sure that any other windows will not wash out the screen.

Trainers must make sure that all participants are able to see the screen, flip-charts and any other visual aids. Remember to print clearly on flip-charts, using large letters with dark markers, so those participants in the back of the room can easily read the information. Meeting room locations often have rules governing the use of wall space. Some venues permit the use of Post-it charts on the walls while others do not. Some places may even allow you to temporarily remove their wall art to provide wall space for group work. Remember that you must get permission for this in advance. Many venues provide a list of rules which will guide you in this and other provisions they want you to follow while using their facility.

Just as it is important that participants be able to see you, they must also be able to hear you. If you are presenting in a rectangular shaped room, speaking from the middle of one of the long sided walls will help your voice be distributed more evenly. Remember you will always need to project in order to be heard.  If there is a microphone available, it is best to use it. Presenters often ask if participants can hear them without the microphone, but there may be participants who do not feel comfortable saying they can’t hear if they feel that everyone else can. Also, a participant may not want to call attention to the fact that they have a hearing disability. In addition, a presenter’s voice may tend to fade as the training progresses and it can become more difficult for all participants to hear, especially those seated toward the back of the room.  If you tend to be soft-spoken, you may want to consider purchasing a portable microphone. As well as ensuring that you are heard, this can help protect your vocal cords!  Once you have found a general room arrangement that works for you, (including work and display tables as well as participant’s seating arrangement) it is a handy idea to have copies made, as training site staff will sometimes offer to set up the room for you if you can provide them with a general floor plan in advance.