CBT (Community-Based Training) consists of five weeks in which PCTs (Trainees) live with host families who speak the primary language of their future sites and in communities that have similar cultural aspects to the future sites as well. Throughout CBT, PCTs participate in both technical and language & culture training, as well as return to the PC office every Friday for additional core sessions.
CBT Week One
During our first week in site, the schools were still on the two-week Easter holiday, so tech training focused on introductory sessions about schools in Belize and our PC project work. I felt it was important to provide trainees with some context for their work prior to becoming involved with a school and working with principals and teachers.
We did a lot of activities to learn about the ways in which Belizean teachers write lesson plans, how principals manage schools and the MANY roles they play (classroom teacher, supervisor of other teachers, head disciplinarian at school and administrator of corporal punishment, facilities manager and maintenance coordinator, record-keeper, treasurer, bill-payer, etc.), the role of corporal punishment (so as to understand it and especially now that the ministry has mandated an outlaw and put together a task force to determine alternative means for behavior management), and basics on school structures and challenges PCVs face in their work.
The other major activity of the first week was the explanation of all the assignments the PCTs will complete for their self-directed learning. This can be overwhelming, but I try to ease that by showing the assignments on a calendar, providing a SDL packet with suggestions for when to work on what, and by posting a chart with deadlines. The trainees took it well, but each had his/her own moment of panic and feeling overwhelmed, but we talked it out and in the end everyone did fine!