Since the emergence of civilization the human race has never stopped to strive for a better quality of life. Especially in the last few decades, the countless technological breakthroughs have changed the world in ways that even our recent ancestors could never have imagined.
However, as the renowned social observer/writer/public speaker John Naisbitt had predicted many years ago in his “high tech/high touch” and “institutional help to self help” theories, the world has also witnessed increasing interest in the human subject itself. Social scientists of different schools, educators and even the business sector have acknowledged more needs in learning about and in developing the most important resources on earth: the Human Beings. Evidently, alongside the technology superhighway, there is a growing trend of research and development of education models, training methodologies and management skills. So far, the Experiential Learning technology has been recognized as one of the most effective way to tap into the vast human potential. Among all endeavors, the “Basic Training” introduced more than 30 years ago has been and still is one of the most successful training modules.
The Benchmark Basic Training has a proven design – it is an Experiential Training module which is very different from traditional classroom teachings as in schools. Instead of passively listening and remembering or taking notes, the learners are involved at all mental, physical and emotional levels. As a consequence, the learning is most relevant to the learner himself or herself and its impact will sustain much longer. In a nutshell, the participants in the training simply learn by doing and experiencing.
The Benchmark Basic Training is not intended to provide answers or solve problems. It is rather a tool or a process for participants to gain insights and discoveries in themselves and in their lives. Each part of the Benchmark Basic Training has a specific purpose or purposes. What we mostly deal with in the training is the relationships among Belief, Attitude, Behavior and Result. We believe that when people have better clarity about such relationships, they will start to see more possibilities and can therefore make better choices. As such, they can perform more effectively in various areas of their lives such as: relationships, career, family, health, finance, education and any other personal goals deemed important to them.
What participants take away from the Benchmark Basic Training could be very different from each other. There is no certain “right” way of how any participant should think or feel after the training, since each individual comes with a different background and history. That is also the beauty of the training because it applies to all walks of life in principle. The only thing certain about the Benchmark Basic Training is: How much value one can create depends on how much he or she participates.
Structure and Contents
The main themes of the Benchmark Basic Training are Awareness and Possibilities. We believe these qualities are crucial to effective and quality living. The Benchmark Basic Training allows participants to look honestly and rigorously into their lives from different angles.
The following main topics will be addressed to in the Benchmark Basic Training :
- Agreement and Integrity
- Choice and Responsibility
- Beliefs and Results
- Cooperation and Communication
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
All these concepts appear to be common in life on a day to day basis. They are interpreted and taught to people since they are very young and, very often, they may even have become stereotypical. However, in the Benchmark Basic Training, we will attend to these concepts rather differently. We do not only discuss them, but we will also facilitate in special formats for participants to experience and reflect on them. Participants will always have a fresher and deeper comprehension as a result. Awareness is not always an easy process.
Participants may feel tension when they are exposed to unfamiliar ideas, situations and emotions. But, on the other hand, there can also be excitement and revelations when they see more possibilities. Therefore it is very important for participants to remain open and purposeful in the training.
A typical Benchmark Basic Training will approximately be structured as follows:
- Lectures by the Trainer(s)20%
- Communications by/among participants20%
- Experiential processes and exercises60%
The 40 hours duration of the training will include the following main elements:
A set of Ground Rules will be reviewed at the beginning of the training. The Ground Rules serve to maintain the consistency and integrity of the training design, so that the maximum quality of the training can be ensured. Participants are requested to agree to follow these Ground Rules if they desire to complete the whole training. A list of the Ground Rules is enclosed herewith.
Communication is crucial in the Benchmark Basic Training. Participants are always encouraged to share about themselves, their learning or whatever that is occurring at the moment. This sharing may be carried out between specific partnered participants, in a small group or in a large group situation.
Dyad refers to a one-on-one dialogue with another participant. With the guidance of the Trainer, the mutually supportive manner of a dyad can enable participants to express freely and openly. It may be done in the form of answering questions, completing some statements or communicating personal experiences.
Interaction with Trainer(s)
The Benchmark Basic Training will be facilitated by an experienced Trainer (or Trainers). The Trainer is not the authority or the leader in the general sense of the words. What he or she says should not be viewed as dogmas or impositions. Instead, they are viewpoints that support participants to explore and reflect on corresponding aspects in life. His or her role is to effectuate the training as it is designed and to maximize the values participants can create. The Trainer will also work on the premise that participants are responsible and open to learning and change.
Sometimes the Trainer will give lectures on particular topics. The floor will be open to participants to involve in discussions. Learning is often stimulated through the dynamics of the exchange of thoughts and feelings. At other times, the Trainer may focus on individual participants as and when the situation requires. The purpose is to engage such participants in more in-depth examination of themselves. Although it may be a challenging and even uncomfortable experience at times, this always presents itself as a good occasion where awareness is heightened for both the participant involved as well as the others within the training.
Mingle is a process in which participants will walk around the training room and interact with different participants. Mingles are structured and facilitated by the Trainer to provide great opportunities for participants to maximize interflow of experiences among themselves.
Small Groups of approximately 10 participants each will be formed on the first evening. It will be an immediate support network for any individual participant throughout the training. On occasions, the Small Group will engage in discussions or carry out certain activities together. A volunteer graduate from a previous Benchmark Basic Training will be assigned as the Small Group Leader of each Small Group.
Closed Eyes Exercise
A Closed Eyes Exercise is a process where participants are asked to close their eyes and visualize or associate with certain scenarios or to recall past events. The purpose is to encourage participants to be in contact with issues and possibilities that may seldom be approached to in their daily life consciousness. Quite often lights will be dimmed and background music will be played in the training room to support participants to stay focused and be present in the process.
Game and Exercise
Within the training, the Trainer would facilitate various games and exercises for participants of varying group sizes, with the view to connect participants with different topics and situations. These games and exercises may require participants to take part psychically, intellectually and emotionally. Through such processes, participants will attain a deep experience in the topics and situations involved. Also, these processes would present an excellent opportunity for participants to examine and evaluate their effectiveness in interpersonal relationships.
Written homework will be assigned to participants before the end of each day of the training. This will assist participants to further summarize and digest their learning during the training sessions, as well as to prepare themselves for the next day’s training.
Preparation for Training
Participants are requested to the do the following in preparation for the Benchmark Basic Training
There is no specific dress code for the training, but participants should note that some parts of the training may involve physical movements, while other parts may require them to sit on the floor. Therefore, it is advisable for participants to wear comfortable and neat clothings throughout the training. During the last day the training, the Trainer may invite you to dress more formally, at your discretion, for graduation.
Physical Well Being
According to our experience, the 3 evenings and 2 full days schedule of the Benchmark Basic Training is well adapted to the local norm, whilst at the same time, preserves the integrity of the design of the training most effectively. Participants are expected to adhere to the training timings and plan each day to ensure they have sufficient rest and nutrition. During the training sessions on the first 3 days, there will be 1 to 2 short breaks of approximately 20 to 30 minutes each. On Saturdays and Sundays, there will be a long meal break of approximately 1 to 2 hours towards the late afternoon, in addition to short breaks during about every 2 to 4 hours. Participants are advised to eat substantially before they come to the training each day. They can also bring along small meals and fruits to eat during the short breaks.
In case prescribed medication is required or if participants experience any discomfort during the training, participants should inform Benchmark’s staff in a timely manner. Under all circumstances, participants will be responsible for their own well being.
The Benchmark Basic Training Ground Rules
The below rules will be reviewed at the very beginning of the Benchmark Basic Training. These rules serve to maintain the consistency and integrity of the training design, so that the maximum quality of the training is maintained.
Participants are requested to agree to follow these rules, if they desire to complete the whole training:
- Maintain confidentiality of the contents of the training and other participants’ experiences. Benchmark cannot guarantee confidentiality.
- Attend the entire training.
- Be Punctual.
- Ask questions, talk, and share only when indicated by the trainer or during specified sharing period. Do not side talk.
- No smoking, drinking, eating or chewing gum within the training room.
- Display your name tag visibly during training and return it at the end of each day and before meal breaks.
- No notes/records taking in any form within the training room.
- Turn off all electronic devices during the entire training.
- Do not sit next to anyone whom you knew prior to the Benchmark Basic Training.
- Be responsible for the condition of the training premises and respect those who use them.
- No taking of alcohol and/or any non-prescribed/mood-altering drugs during the entire training.
- Be responsible for your well-being. This means getting sufficient sleep and nutrition during the entire training and taking prescribed medication on time and as medically prescribed.