Wildflower field with headline: What's new Since Spring Break?Part 1 of 2

Supporting educators with new Virtual Micro-Trainings and MicroCredential Trainings!

When our governor recommended working from home in March, NSRF started scrambling to rethink what Critical Friends Group Coaches’ Training could look like for 2020 and beyond.  We started revising our popular protocols and activities for virtual use and quickly discovered how that translation wasn’t always obvious.  We learned a LOT more than we expected about facilitating and helping people feel like they BELONG via screens, and we learned about Zoom fatigue. (My, did we learn about Zoom fatigue!)

Of course we’re all looking forward to the time when we can visit your schools to train people on-site, and invite people to Bloomington, Indiana for open trainings again. But in the meantime there’s a huge need for Critical Friends Group work to continue.

You’re facing uncharted territory, unforeseen dilemmas, significantly different work “products,” and stresses unless anything you’ve experienced in your teaching careers … and many of you are experiencing greater isolation due to working remotely, struggles around assisting family members young and old, in your home and away, as you maintain your full-time commitments at school and try to squeeze in some self-care. What better time to feel the powerful support of Critical Friends Group communities?

So here’s what’s happening now, what we’ve been doing, and what we intend to do as quickly as we can. (If you want to jump to the specifics of what’s being offered right now, please visit our Open Trainings page.)

Micro-Trainings

This summer we began periodically offering 90-minute Micro-Trainings via Zoom.  Through this school year, we’re trying to offer  sessions each month — some are open to everyone regardless of their experience with NSRF, Critical Friends Group communities, or protocols, and others are available only for NSRF-certified CFG coaches. Each one takes advantage of Zoom breakout rooms (these are NOT “sit-and-git” webinars, but truly interactive experiences, as all previous CFG trainings have been). We’re pricing them as affordably as we can, considering that NSRF was not able to lead ANY on-site trainings this summer and those are our primary source of income.

Early on, we focused on new protocols around sharing feelings and reducing stress, designed to bring people together quickly, encourage a sense of belonging and “being seen,” and reinforce what can happen within an hour when using NSRF protocols.  All summer, participants raved about how efficiently and effectively these new materials helped strangers feel connected with one another, even across hundreds of miles and while looking at screens instead of faces in the same room.

At the time of this writing, we haven’t quite booked October and November Micro-Trainings yet, but we anticipate upcoming trainings to focus on Setting Agreements (even more important within virtual spaces) and the Commonalities Activity (to help students or colleagues feel more bonded to one another by finding what we have in common).  Right now it looks like the next Coaches-only Micro-Training will be a Zoom-friendly method of Success Analysis Activity in which we’ll invite participants to learn the virtual adaptation as we share out successes related to teaching this semester.  (Again, details will be posted on the Open Trainings page.)

MicroCredential Trainings (currently on Building Belonging and Managing Change)

The next step up from a 90-minute commitment, our multi-day (after school) trainings focus on particular topics of extreme importance right now. How can we help teachers create a stronger sense of “belonging” for students who literally aren’t crossing our classroom thresholds?  How can CFG Coaches facilitate activities in which their administrators and other school leaders can identify the many-layered realities we are facing as we navigate these uncharted territories, and how can they use NSRF protocols and activities in a scaffolded attempt to resolve problems quickly and come together as a school throughout these rapidly shifting times?

MicroCredentials tend to be about nine hours of training spread across three evenings, and eventually will be offered in a variety of time zones to accommodate educators worldwide. Participants who complete them in full will earn NSRF MicroCredential Badges and a certificate of completion stating how many hours of PD were completed.

Read What’s New Since Spring Break: Part 2 for the answer to the question …

Yes, but how can we get our people certified as Critical Friends Group COACHES these days?