The twelve learning principles or topics encompass both people and technical skills which I think is a good mix. The Torquaid skills required match well with the other training providers’ principles and goals, such as with ELD’s 7 principles. The linkages are attempted below:

* Torquaid ‘Topic 1 – Know material well’ could relate to ELD ‘nothing is so complex that it can’t be explained’. You can only explain well if you yourself understand principles, applications, exceptions etc.
*Torquaid ‘Topic 2 – Being clear on what to teach, and to what level’ corresponds to both ELD and LINGO’s principles of relevance and appropriateness of material, with potential links to ELD’s ‘Training should not be hard work’ . This would all come under the banner of teaching what is relevant at a level that is appropriate for the participants

* Torquaid ‘Topic 9 – Great variety of teaching techniques’ would support ELD’s principle of ‘nothing is so complex that it can’t be explained simply. As well as understanding the material (Topic 1), it is key to be able to be flexible in the teaching approach and to be sensitive to identifying when an approach is not resonating with participants and to adapt. For instance when this happens I tend to use examples followed by activities to reinforce what might have initially appeared confusing. While not necessarily an academic or technical expertise, it is a more objective skill of a good trainer.

* Torquaid ‘Topic 3 – No substitute for Hard work’, ‘Topic 4 – Planning your lessons carefully’, ‘Topic 5 – Checking everything beforehand’, all remind us to be as prepared as possible to achieve the best outcomes. In some ways this is like project management – planning thoroughly, checking risks, allowing for contingencies etc

* Torquaid ‘Topic 6 – Understanding Students’, ‘Topic 11 – Being sensitive and responsive to language and culture’ also relate to Topic 4 in terms of preparation and to the ELD principles of ‘responsiveness matters’ and ‘participants are the most important people in the room

* Torquaid ‘Topic 7 – Teaching with passion, skill, flair and enjoyment’ is an interesting attribute to teach. I would be keen to understand this a little more. Simply if you don’t enjoy it, then you shouldn’t teach it? It would support the principle of ELD – ‘training should not be hard work’. A passionate instructor is inspirational for participants.

* Torquaid ‘Topic 8 – setting high standards of discipline, earning respect’ is a topic that supports best practice in teaching. There does need to be mutual respect and accountability for the training to be effective and meaningful.

* Torquaid ‘Topic 10 – getting students to talk, share experiences and gel as a group’ aligns well with ELD’s principle of ‘participants to be involved as much as possible’. It may not always be possible to talk and share experiences as a group; for instance an online course but forums etc can be established for some level of interaction. I wonder about the ‘gel as a group’. This would teach participants leadership, flexibility and social skills but the necessity of learning these may not always be there depending on the context and technical topic.

Where within the 4 Torquaid areas does pedagogy sit? Teaching expertise is different to subject matter expertise and it could be argued that all the Topics together would deliver good teaching techniques – is that the intention? Things like – speaking loudly, keeping sessions after lunch more active, handwriting, good presentation tips etc. I estimate ‘Topic 12 – measuring teaching/learning outcomes’ falls into this category. Assessments need to be designed appropriately and the teaching topics aligned to them.

I recently adapted my approach in Solomon Water where the initial intention was to train in Procurement. Having met the staff and got to understand the structure, limitations and priorities, this training was postponed until November when key staff will be in a better position to attend and when the senior members of the management team have been through their own change management processes to buy into the new ways of working. If I had gone ahead as intended, the material would not have been relevant or actionable within Solomon Water and therefore its effectiveness would have diminished.

The material itself is full of activities and interaction on the basis of learning through doing. While no formal accreditation is included, the proof will be in the application.

I believe that I have applied the 12 Topics to the material and planning however, only through delivery of the material will I better understand how well it works! We’ll see in November.