Across the divide

I’m not a fan of division, of excluding others and forming cliques, of social inequality or discrimination. When I work I try to bring a variety of views in to the room. For example when delivering mental health training I need to acknowledge medical models and social ones, balancing the discussion across medication or therapy. After all no one size fits all.

This week has challenged my training delivery in a different way. Working across a linguistic divide meant that the models and idioms contained within the Anglo version of the course were never going to “land”. In fact there is a good example, the very idea that a model “lands” was alien to the delegates. As were phrases such as “can’t see the wood for the trees” or indeed concepts such as “Eat that frog”. Some phrases have translations, team spirit was one that worked very well but it was a rarity.

Additionally my pace had to vary quite dramatically. Pausing a lot longer after questions became essential and really understanding the cultural needs around break times, a salutary lesson on a Time Management course. I learned that while group exercises take a lot longer to set up, a well designed, sparse PowerPoint goes a long way.

I’m delivering for the same organisation again in a few months. I shall definitely ” go back to the drawing board” examining the materials with “a fine tooth comb” which shows I can “think outside the box” and use a “holistic approach”. That way we can really “get the best of both worlds” and the course will “cut the mustard”.

Or maybe I will use clarity and simplicity to help my delegates learn.


Image credit – Ethan Rilly


About Jon Bartlett

I'm a coach, blogging on things that occur to me, that I want to share and any other fun stuff I find lying around in the real world.
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1 Response to Across the divide

  1. Aah the importance of language. I live in Spain and the common metaphors are different, but I like to make the leap to try and understand them. There is so much rich texture in a good metaphor. I knew what eat that frog meant instantly without ever having heard the phrase before!

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