Why aren't they listening to me?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010 - 16:01

We have all, at some time or another, felt that jaded feeling... no-one is hearing us, people aren't listening, I simply can't keep their attention...

Acknowledging that ongoing education and training towards personal, organisational and social transformation is key towards realising change at every level of society, Vuleka's acclaimed DEE (Designing Educational Events) courses seek to adress this need.

Both the basic and advanced course equip delegates with the knowledge and skills to effectively design, implement and evaluate a variety of educational programmes for youth, adults, communities, business units or NGO staff.

During the intensicely structured, five-day courses, novice or experienced trainers gain a comprehensive understanding of experiential learning as a constructive educational framework together with the skills to demonstrate creative ways to design, implement and evaluate an array of learning programmes. Insight is gained into group dynamics and skills to address complex issues which emerge in group situations.

The courses offer deliberate exercises on personal discovery and trainer introspection aimed at building, nurturing and maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships and bringing about a heightened consciousness of the role of the trainer in the broader environment.

These courses have contributed significantly to the development of many of the leaders in our NGO world today: I think of the likes of Paul Graham (IDASA), Nomabelu Mvambo-Dandala (Diakonia Council of Churches), Revd Sue Brittion (Anglican Church of SA), Revd Dr Norman Hudson (Methodist Church of SA), and so many others. They remain a must-do for any aspirant trainer, facilitator, youth or community worker, as well as being hugely important to anyone involved in designing educational events, whether a one-hour workshop, a worship session or a week long wilderness trail!


The Grahamstown Foundation’s Arts Education department runs several arts education projects ranging from local (Grahamstown Township Dance Project) to provincial (Festivals: EC, WC, KZN, NW, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng and Eastern Cape Eisteddfod) to national (Standard Bank National Schools Festival and De Beers English Olympiad). Projects serve to ignite a passion for South African arts and develop artists, and arts consumers with a culture of ‘paying for the arts’. Self-expression and bridge-building between individuals and communities are focal points while platforms for performance encourage audiences to engage with the best South Africa has to offer encouraging emerging artists to discover and develop their own artistic skills. Some 16,000+ participants benefit from these programmes nationally over the period of a year. The need is evident from the enormous demand by schools. Participants from across a wide economic divide get to literally ‘rub shoulders’ because the projects attract large numbers of participants from the most rural schools (e.g. Pampierstad SSS) to the most wealthy (e.g. St Stithians College). Due to a lack of resources there is a very limited focus on the arts in primary and secondary education despite the best intentions of the new education curricula. These projects expose participants to career options and the arts as a meaningful way to explore social issues and raise debate in an emerging democracy. The nominal entry fees do not cover all the associated costs, but they do encourage a culture of ‘paying for the arts’.Delegates are given the opportunity to discover and develop various skills under the supervision of professional arts practitioners, whilst interacting directly, and in collaboration with fellow learners from a range of diverse backgrounds. Apart from learning new skills and having a whole lot of fun while doing it, these workshops form an integral part of the overall Arts Education programme, by promoting collaboration, communication and direct interaction in a non threatening, “neutral” environment. Most importantly, the participation in these workshops enables a significant boost of self-esteem and confidence, and in so doing, facilitates the discovering of the values of co-operation and empathy that the ensuing self realisation fosters.