Trainer Panagiotis Mamouzakis
If you think about the Erasmus+ programme which three words associate with it?
Europe, Learning, Network (social and professional)
What benefits and drawbacks do you see of the Erasmus programme?
Unavoidably Erasmus is bringing people born in different countries closer. This allows
countries, stereotypes, beliefs, habits, learning, borders, ideas to come closer. The process is not easy and it can bring up friction among its peers. Still, in the long run, I see it as a process for common values, equal rights and access to education.
What is most important to you in non-formal education environment?
In non-formal education, there is no expected learning output. The learner is learning to learn and gets what he wants, can, need is capable of learning. There is no expected output only a focus. In few words, it is a democratic learning, a learning that is coming out of own initiative or not from the learner. The one who is providing non-formal education is basically providing an environment where this learning will take place.
What, in your opinion, is the crucial character trait to have as a trainer?
When I am involved in a learning activity I work with a basic principle. “Everyone is capable of solving themselves his own troubles and chooses how to do it”. My role as a facilitator/trainer is to create a safe context where the trainee finds for themselves the most suitable way to learn, to grow, to resolve own issues. In other words, I find very important for every trainer to leave space for the trainees to bring personal accountability in their learning process.
Why did you choose to become a trainer? Has your scout experience had any influence?
Since 1999 I started working with people. I found joy into involving my self firstly in youth work and later (2003) in trainings. Both experiences, youth work & trainings came up through my experience in Scouts of Greece. For years till today, I offer my services in Scouts of Greece through several different ways and positions. For more than 10 years I was leading a high-school-aged group of youngsters and for 14 years now I support trainings for adult scout leaders. All this experience gave me competencies and skills that could support me in creating a professional portfolio. Additionally, in 2012 I moved to the Netherlands, working for a training organization named Olde Vechte Foundation and there for 4 years I further develop myself as a trainer. In the beginning as volunteer and throughout the years I managed to create my passion, working with people, to a profession by gaining more experiences by given space and opportunities, as well
as, skills and competencies important for a professional trainer.
What is the biggest challenge for you as a trainer with a big group of 35 people?
This is a very funny question. The question itself reveals the answer… Being a trainer along with a group of 35 people was the biggest challenge for me. Especially for the first days of the training for me was a huge challenge to create a context for learning. In the beginning of the training my focus was to give tools and approaches for the traineeship to the other 35 trainers. As the training was developing I was creating more and more space for them to start delivering activities until the point that they took over completely the program of the training one day before this finishes.
The challenge always comes with learning, therefore during this activity, I had the chance to put in practice my basic principal as a trainer mentioned above. To work beyond judgement and create a space between what I wanted that the participants’ learn from what they wanted to learn themselves. Having the space to practice this principle and training myself into that was my biggest learning out of OPEN Education training…
What activities of the training benefited you the most?
It is very difficult for me to answer what activities of the training benefited me the most. When I develop a training I find everything important: preparation before the training,
welcoming, program flow, accommodation, meals, free time, leisure time activities, informal conversations and everything around it. Still, I find this training as a big success and a milestone in my trainers’ career, given the prior mentioned challenge. Additionally, the level of experience within the trainers participating was tremendous thus I had to create space that this experience is shared the most efficient way amongst the other learning peers. It is definitely a training program that I would like to repeat and develop in future instances.
Looking back now, would you have done anything differently during the “OPEN Education” training?
Let’s leave past where it is and think about the future. For this reason, I wouldn’t change anything in OPEN Education training. OPEN Education was a complete experience that as I already shared stands as a big success for me. Still, when it gets to assessment and evaluation of the activity, of course, I got valuable feedback and I am planning to feed forward it in the next instance that I will be called to create a similar activity.
Looking at my notes on what I want to implement in the next training for trainers I will develop I would like to share few of them:
● Having a small team of co-trainers who facilitate and mentor small trainers’/reflection groups.
● Using more activities that involve body movement
● Giving homework at the end of the day for further informal learning
● Communicating the training in an appealing way that can attract a target group of people committed to learning that is interested in self-organized learning systems.
What is your goal as a trainer?
Well, my goal as a trainer is also my goal as a person. Being a trainer/facilitator/coach/youth worker or whatever else title I put on myself, the goal is one. At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter which title I put for myself. Anyhow, I love what I do for my living and I live to do what I love. My mission in this life is to support others to create a self-empowering & fulfilling context in their lives. My work, my personal and professional choices and my career are driven by this mission. I am always grateful when opportunities such as the OPEN Education training are coming on my pathway. I find them as a pivot that I can put my mission to action and this is
bringing self-fulfilment for myself and make me feel I live purposefully.