A journey with Karvouniaris

Conducted by: Agoritsa Mandraki, Greece, participant on all TOTAL editions


How long did the workshop last?

1 hour


Target group:

The group consisted of 3 people (2 males, 1 female), aged 18, 19 and 25 years old. They are the newest members of our organisation and newcomers in Non Formal education.



Introduction in the definitions of formal, non formal and informal education. Introduction in non formal learning methods. Basic aim was to intrigue their interest into non formal learning by conducting a workshop about priorities, stereotypes and conflict and engage them into further actions and involvment in the organization. So practically in was a workshop about priorities, stereotypes and conflict, within a workshop about non formal methods and the use of them to tackle different issues.


Learning outcomes you planned to achieve?

– Understanding of the definitions of formal, non formal and informal education.

– Development of critical thinking, negotiation and debating skills.

– Understanding of the use of non formal learning methods and learning to learn.


Results (were the learning outcomes met? What has the group learnt?)

The participants had their first contact with non formal learning methods. Before starting with the main workshop itself, there was a small discussion on the definitions of formal, non formal and informal education. After that we moved on to the workshop chosen. All of them enjoyed the energizer at the beginning and worked willingly on the main task. During the debriefing they were all engaged and discussed the outcomes of their task and also the explanation of the working method and how you can discuss about different subjects using non formal learning methods. All of them got engaged for future actions and asked for more workshops in larger groups, in which they would like to include different friends of them and also people they don’t know yet. To sum up, the final result was the one wished for, from the start.


What were the challenges for you in conducting the workshop? Was everything how you planed?

The group was small and the participants know very well each other since young age. It wouldn’t be possible to engage them in a conflict situation during the workshop, it was easy for them to negotiate and come to a result of the task given with, no much effort. This had also to do with their characters and the fact that they are members of larger groups (scout, football player, traditional dancer). They were unfamiliar with the methods of non formal education (apart from the one that is a scout) and 2 of them just graduated from high school. The one of them was more negative from the start (probably expecting something more formal) and during evaluation questioned the method used, asking how this would be different than a friendly conversation while drinking coffee and how can you learn something in such a “game-ish” way. Nontheless, expressed the interest to do another workshop in a larger group. The bigest issue for me was that, the fact that everybody (participants and trainer) knew each other for long time, made it more difficult for them to concentrate on the task itself and deal with me as a trainer, puting me in a more “formal” position than they were used to.


What has changed in your approach towards trainer’s work?

I hadn’t worked before with totally inexperienced participants in non formal learning, neither with people that know me in a different way than a trainer. It is a great challenge to tackle both of the above issues at the same time. It was not as easy as it would be with total strangers, or people familiar with non formal methods. The fact that I had to work with a very small group made it harder to keep them focused and retain their interest. I had to be more adapting and improvising. Also, the workshop was conducted in mother language (Greek) and the participants were fluent and easy to express themselves, but the luck of cultural diversity of an international group simplified their way of thinking as they didn’t need to deal with different cultural approaches or any language obstacle.

The whole experience made me be more observative, flexible and adaptive, towards the needs of the group.


Which skills and knowledge gained on TOTAL did you use conducting the workshop?

It is my strong wish to take part in TOTAL Advance, as it will be very useful for my future development as trainer. It will provide me with more methods and tips and help me develop my training skills and the contact with other trainers will give me the opportunity to exchange experiences and stories (positive or negative ones). Also working with TDM2000 Polska in the past (including TOTAL Basic in which I have taken part) has been proven very fruitful and it is my wish to be continued.


* Karvouniaris = slang for Coal Train