ASSISTANT TRAINERS SHARING KNOWLEDGE (ASK)

Project presentation

SUMMARY

The project Assistant trainers sharing knowledge (ASK) focuses on a group that has not received much attention before: the assistant trainers in youth circuses. Some of the partners have created their own training courses for assistants and are now willing to share their expertise and develop their program through the common exchange where as in most of the countries there is absolutely no training available for the assistant trainers. This is the main focus of the project: to create a curriculum for a assistant training, as well as learning material (videos) and guidelines for a circus school in order to support the assistant trainers in their role.

In the project the 11 partners organise five training modules for assistant trainers, circus amateurs interested in becoming assistant trainer, as well as youth circus professionals and trainers of trainers. Together, in a facilitated process, the participants share their knowledge, gain new skills and create a the project outputs. After the project, a European model curriculum for an assistant trainer course is available.

The project results are disseminated through social media, newsletters, printed articles, different seminars and network meetings. Four multiplier events are organised as well and they are expected to gather more than 210 participants altogether.

PARTNERS

Suomen Nuorisosirkusliitto – Finland (Leader)
Estonian Contemporary Circus Development Centre – Estonia
Fundacja Miasto Projekt – Poland
Vlaams centrum voor circuskunsten vzw – Belgium
ASD Giocolieri e Dintorni – Italy
Circomundo – Netherlands
Federacion Española de Escuelas de Circo Socio Educativo – Spain
Fédération Française des Ecoles de Cirque – France
UK YOUTH CIRCUS NETWORK – United Kingdom
BAG-Zirkuspädagogik – Germany
Slovensko zdruzenje za cirkusko pedagogiko – Cirkokrog Slovenia

The project focuses on assistant trainers in the youth circus field. A certain, fixed definition of an assistant trainer does not exist, but generally they are young people with circus amateur background who help the basic circus trainer in their task. The tasks can vary and they can include activities such as leading warming up and games or helping some students during class. Many of the assistant trainers work as volunteers but some are paid. In Germany, Italy and Finland the partner organisations organize a training course in order to teach necessary pedagogical skills for the assistant trainers. In the other partner countries, no such training exists.

The needs for the project are the following:
1) there is no education or training available for assistant trainers in circuses in most of the countries represented by the partner associations
2) the assistant trainer without training may lack skills that would be useful when being an assistant trainer or they don’t understand their role
3) the circus schools may not understand the role of the assistant trainer or they could benefit of creating a system with assistants
4) there is a need for easily accessible learning materials
5) young people in the age of 15-17 drop out of the hobby
6) to get an overview from different perspectives (the assistant trainers, the basic trainers and other staff in circus school) about what should be the competences of the assistant trainer. To define the set of skills and competences needed to become an assistant trainer. Who is an assistant trainer? Which skills are required? How much autonomy does he/she have towards the group?

The project is carried out transnationally because the partners see that it can be very benefitial to share the knowledge and best practises about assistant trainers, their role and training in a group that represents very different youth circus fields – some that are in the beginning and some that can share their long expertise on the subject. Through the exchange those partners who are already running trainings can compare them with the others and develop them, whereas others can gain the expertise on the topic through the collaboration. All partners have previous experience from different European partnerships and have found them useful in developing new methods within the circus fields. Also the participants of some previous partnership announced their satisfaction with the fact that they got new contacts and that they were able to meet colleagues from other countries but similar daily situations. Some participants also felt that it was easier to discuss difficult topics with people coming from another part of Europe than what it would have been at home.

1) To strengthen the competences and the self-esteem of the assistant trainers and to support the assistants in their role (empowerment, skills). Also giving the adolescents the role of teaching is a deeper way of understanding than just being the learner.
2) To find methods to develop these competences or how to develop sharing and supporting ”spaces” or ”structures” where assistant trainers can nourish them (like workshops, video resources, etc.). Create learning material for assistant trainers that can support even those who can not attend the trainings.
3) To organise exchange of experiences in the different European countries. Some partners already are running their own courses for assistant trainers and can analyze and develop these courses through the project, whereas in some countries there is no training at all available for the assistant trainers within the circus field.
4) To develop a curriculum, a European model for organising an assistant trainer training
5) To share good practise and to help to develop similar systems in other countries. Create a publication about best practises for a youth circus about the supporting assistant trainers.
6) Youth participation, give new roles for the amateurs: Assistant trainers education can be an important step to include young people at an age, where they tend to leave the groups. To avoid the adolescent drop out. It can also allow young people to take a step towards a circus profession and thus test if it is what they like to do. Create a bridge between a hobby and a profession.
7) Employment: Being a certificated assistant trainer can help in finding and creating jobs. This is the experience from the last couple of years in Germany where an assistant trainer program has been developed. Some of the young trainers are now professional circus teachers. Others could put it to their portfolio and were more successful in finding jobs.

We will select the participants according to the following criteria:
– each partner can send two participants to each training module
– we hope to have both adults and young people participating for the activities
– the young people can be assistant trainers or interested in becoming an assistant if there are no assistant trainers in a country represented by a partner in the project
– the adult participants should have experience of creating trainings, be a circus teacher or work as administrational staff in a circus school.
– They have to be able to share the knowledge further after the training module afterwards for instance in a workshop or in an article.

The creating of the curriculum, all content in the training modules as well as the learning material (videos) created in the project are based on the knowledge of the participants and what they can share when they meet. There can be collaboration in resolving problems for instance, instead of lectures. The processes will be facilitated by two facilitators and there will be a person notating those topics that come up.

IMPLEMENTATION

The project will consist of four main parts:
1) the project meetings and other communication between the partners that will ensure that all tasks will be handled
2) five training modules, of which the first one focuses on the creating of the curriculum of a training course for assistant trainers and the four others are pilot version that focus on piloting the model curriculum from some point of view. The training modules serve a double role in the project: they are both a training for assistant trainers themselves as well as people working with them or training them but at the same time they are a method of collecting knowledge and creating the outputs. This is possible because the project is based on a methodology of facilitation. This means that all participants are invited to share what they know or what they want to ask with the group. The final output is collected trough this method during the training modules and finalized afterwards.
3) the outputs include a course curriculum based on best practices, guidelines for circus schools as well as video learning material. All outputs will be published online. The material will be in English, but on top of that, the guidelines will be translated to seven other languages.
4) Multiplier events, communication and dissemination activities: the partners are committed to share the information about the project and its results through their networks, social media and in different types of events.

TRAINING MODULES:

14/18 october 2018 Gschwend (Germany)
27 february /3 march 2019 Tallinn (Estonia)
3/7 april 2019, Lods (Poland)
9/13 october 2019,  (The Netrherlands)
20/24 november 2019, Barcellona (Spain)

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