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An Amazing Coaching Experience

While VISUALIZE can be used in any language, one of the main challenges of the professional training in Germany was to transport the method and elements of Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) to a group of experts with limited English skills. Since development of communication is a key part of VTS, participating experts needed to translate VTS basics into their mother languages. Consequently, the practical training had to be conducted in their first language, which was both challenging to supervise and for group participation.

While conducting VTS, participants used a mix of statements in “broken” English that were paraphrased into various languages. Admittedly, in the beginning there were serious doubts as to whether this training could work without knowing each other’s languages. Surprisingly, we recognized VTS can be handled by watching the interaction of the facilitator and the group without understanding each language.

One of the primary features of VTS is that it encourages us to use our senses. While not initially apparent, it became obvious that using our senses was equally valuable for participants, facilitators and coaches. By listening to amount detail or length of the paraphrase, we could tell how well the facilitator was bringing various statements to the point. By physically connecting to statements to the image (pointing), we could understand the linking of thoughts. Another positive indication of good facilitation was to observe the participating group and see how engaged the experts were with the image.

The positive result of the project revealed we accomplished our goals during the 5-day training. We became an international team helping each other and learning from one another. The experts returned to their countries and successfully implemented VTS, developing it further in their fields of expertise. Via Skype-meetings we continued to exchange our experiences. All were willing to allow a personal process for themselves and the group. It is nice to know that the future of VISUALIZE for non-native English speakers is bound for success.

left to right: Monika Bröhl, Head of EU Project Management, CJD

Germany; Marina Tosheska, Head of Center for Development & Education, Macedonia

Angelika Jung, Head of Institute for Visual Literacy, Austria

The project Visualize: An innovative training concept for strengthening the tolerance and soft skills of young people, addresses especially these skills by equipping the youngsters with tolerance and overall soft skills by looking at art and responding to each others comments.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Our Partners

  • Christliches Jugenddorfwerk Deutschlands gemeinnütziger e.V.
  • Institut für Visuelle Bildung
  • Center for Development and Education
  • Best Cybernetics
  • Fundacion Intras