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Monday, 30 September 2013

58½ WAYS TO IMPROVISE IN TRAINING by PAUL Z. JACKSON (BOOK REVIEW)


58½ WAYS TO IMPROVISE IN TRAINING
by Paul Z. Jackson
Crown House Publishing
Cover price: £18.99

58-1/2 Ways to Improvise in Training: Improvisation Games and Activities for Workshops, Courses and Team Meetings

I have designed, written and delivered many training sessions and workshops over the years and whilst the designing, writing and delivering contain their own pressures and stresses, the biggest challenge has always been in deciding how to make training fun for the participants.  Like many people, I have sat being trained by some pretty dull people and, to be fair, I have probably been a bit boring myself in some forums, especially in the early days when I was finding my feet.  But experience as a trainer and as a trainee has taught me that without fun in a relaxed atmosphere, training lessons and important messages do not linger in the memory long after the session or workshop has finished.  So, fun in training is a priority.  In fact, in my opinion, it is essential.

And now, help is at hand.  It is not necessary to wrack your brains to come up with games and activities of your own (although that is still allowed!) because Paul Z. Jackson has done a considerable amount of work to produce a tad over fifty-eight improvisational, experimental and inspirational audience participation activities to keep interest and energy levels high during training sessions and team meetings. “58½ Ways To Improvise In Training” is a book full of creative ideas to help eliminate staid and stale employee get-togethers. 

Paul R. Scheele, Chairman, Learning Strategies Corp, says in the foreword: “Great teaching is art, and the hallmark of the great artists remains consistent.  They are the gifted few who make any subject a joy to learn…….Paul Z. Jackson has captured the essence of great teaching artistry for all who want to maximize their effectiveness as educators.”

Paul Z. Jackson says in his introduction” “Each of the activities is improvisational in the sense that it generates what I call ‘impro energy’, a current that runs between participants.“  The activities range from energisers, to working together games, to relationship influencing, to exploring emotions and attitudes and so much more.

This is a terrific book, one that I highly recommend trainers and teachers to carry with them as part of their toolkits.  It is not a stuffy text book.  It is a collection of templates that will help to invigorate training sessions, to make them interesting and memorable and, oh yes, to ensure they are fun.  

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