10 Questions with Trainer Helen Barnes
Helen Barnes is a Quality Coach for South Carolina Child Care Resource and Referral Network. She worked as a preschool director for 10 years in North Carolina and 2 years in South Carolina. She enjoys every opportunity to get back in centers and Family Child Care Homes and working with providers to enhance quality. When not working, or eating (a self-proclaimed foodie), Helen can be found reading a novel (currently on a Harlan Coben kick)!
10 Questions with
Master Certified Trainer
1. Tell us about your training style using a color, an adjective, and a shape.
The color of my training style would definitely be ORANGE. I read an article once that fast food restaurants use the color orange because it stimulates appetite. When I train, I wish to satiate participants hunger with new ideas to take back to their classrooms but at the same time stimulate their appetites; inspire life-long learners.
My training style adjective would be ADVENTUROUS. When participants walk into my workshop, I want them to have fun and be actively engaged as I challenge them to higher heights and levels of thinking.
An OCTAGON would be the shape that could be descriptive of my training style. This shape has so many points on it and I think of “point of views,” on evaluations. Participants really seem to enjoy the activities in which they get to express their points of view.
2. What helps you stay organized and on schedule while training?
I like to have a certain flow to the training that helps to keep me organized and on schedule. I ensure that the objectives build one behind the other so that I can move from one to the next effortlessly. As the participants are thinking about what they learned and ask a question, I can say, “I am so glad you asked that, or that brings us right into our next objective.” I also try and make sure that I am not doing all the talking and build in time for the participants to express what they want to say without having to hurry them along.
3. Where do you find inspiration for new and different training activities?
It has been my desire to attend as many of the Train-the-Trainers as I possibly can. I have truly been inspired by the new resources that I receive every time I am in attendance. I utilize these resources and incorporate them in my trainings. I also enjoy and am inspired by watching my peers conduct workshops and how they present training activities.
When I am training, I realize from experience that it is 1) important to introduce new ideas (even if it is Blood borne pathogens, I personalize a point or two with a story from my 12 years as a director). 2) I always want to give the participants a graphic organizer, even if it is a blank sheet of paper to write something on. I share with them that I am a doodler, while I am listening I am drawing circles and flowers, etc. and it helps me focus and I invite them to do the same. Finally, 3) I really want the information to be meaningful. I always relate the information back to intentional teaching.
(Get ways to use graphic organizers in Nifty Notes: Involving Learners with Graphic Organizers by Sharon Bowman)
I would definitely say the SKYTOWER. It has a glass enclosure and lets you in at the bottom, slowly takes you all the way to the top, spins around so you can see the whole park and slowly comes down again. I have a very laid back personality, but am very inquisitive. I like to take things slowly to make sure that I get it all in. I am friendly and fairly transparent (the glass enclosure), and like to see everything and I don’t usually miss a thing.
6. In your role as a trainer, what’s your superpower?
My superpower is ENCOURAGER. I don’t take it for granted that early childhood is an easy profession and we have been consistent in change. I want to encourage everyone in the field that it is a great professional choice and that to be better recognized it is important to rise to the same professional demands of other highly recognized professionals (doctors, lawyers, etc.). I encourage them to think about what makes those professions great (education, professionalism, specializations, certifications, etc.) and to go for it.
7. What are your improvement goals in the coming year as a trainer?
My improvement goals always include to stay current on the changes and trends that are happening in early childhood. I will continually seek new opportunities to sit in and engage in workshops where I can learn and then teach.
8. What do you know now about training that you wish you’d known when you first started training?
A lot! Two things that I wish I knew when I first started training that jumped out that I practice now are: 1) I don’t know everything and I learn a lot from the participants (so let them talk); and 2) Even if the information is good if you do not allow the participants to be actively engaged, you will lose them.
9. In your professional opinion, every training needs. . .
10. Every trainer needs to be . . .