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Day 1 – International College Training

September 15, 2010

Today was the first day of our Critical Skills/SPEC training. Nayla, Maha, and I have 18 teachers and administrators in our Institute and Bruce, Nawal, and Georgette have 20 in theirs. We are off to a good start.

Bruce shares the following

Our day went very well. Cyndi LaPierre, our colleague who has joined us on many of our trips to Lebanon would have been proud at the way that Nawal overcame her nervousness and got into the flow almost immediately. We all debriefed after the day and it was obvious that Nayla did the same with Jack.

Our groups are less proficient in English than previously so there are times in my workshop when Nawal is leading the discussion in Arabic. This situation created an opportunity for a good joke early on in the day when one of the men responded to a question of mine in Arabic. Nawal turned to me to translate and  I indicated to her that she might
want to turn and face the whole group so they could hear her translation as well. She responded with her impish smile, “No Bruce, they all know what he said!” I responded with a hugely overplayed look of shock, grabbed a nearby chair, sat down, and said, “Well, you better fill me in quick!”  The whole group laughed out loud – it made for a great moment of shared humor at the expense of the American “authority” …. and I loved it.

Usually when we get four or five institutes deep into the same school we begin to bump into folks who have been “asked” to attend and really aren’t crazy about being there. Although I am sure there are at least a couple of participants who fit that description, the spirit of the group is overwhelmingly positive. The End of the Day sheets on Day #1 show responses that are typical — those who are eager love it, those not so much are just very tired. As Nawal mentioned, the spirit of SPEC is filtering throughout the system so much so that even those who don’t think they can/want to do it are willing to learn about it. When she said that I was tempted to say, “We are the BORG, resistance is futile!” …. but thought better of cracking that line. Probably wouldn’t have translated across cultural lines anyway!

Jack's group as they line up after introductions and the first ice breaker

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