Operacy training: Remembering to think out of the box
Last month, the PEPY Siem Reap office members joined the Chanleas Dai staff for operacy training at the Chanleas Dai Primary School. While we boarded the PEPY truck bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at 8:30am, some of us couldn’t help but wonder: what exactly is operacy training and how will we use this training?
Our questions were soon answered when Ms. Chanchhorvy Hay, PEPY’s Effective Teaching and Learning (ETL) and School Leadership Trainer— as well as our facilitator for the day— explained that operacy training provides skills to help people develop into confident, successful, and happy individuals. Part of this training included recognizing that this was an opportunity for change, cooperation, self-discovery, and an expansion of one’s knowledge. Chanchhorvy stressed that she was simply presenting what she had learned, but she encouraged all of the participants to think critically and independently.
Keeping that in mind, we dove into a full day of workshops, activities, and games to learn key lessons about broadening our thinking and how we process and analyze challenges. Everyone was full of enthusiasm and showed great interest in learning about what Chanchhorvy had to say. There was a commendable amount of preparation put into each activity to engage and teach the group.
For one particular activity, staff members learned how to create tessellation pieces from an ordinary piece of paper. Though everyone had the same set of shapes, each person created a unique image. Chhanchhorvy included this as a part of operacy training to show that people can make the same animal, such as a rabbit, but in different ways and in different positions. This activity, which can be replicated in the classroom, allows students to combine mathematical and creative thinking, and it encourages students to problem solve while leaving space for imagination.
By encouraging people to take the time to think critically and to ponder multiple ways to analyze a task rather than to look for a quick and standard answer, Chhanchhorvy stressed the importance of cultivating the minds of students so that they can grow into innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers. The day was an excellent reminder that there are many teaching techniques that are not only effective in the classroom but also useful to people regardless of age, ability or profession. We were all grateful for the opportunity to engage with these principles and to think about how we can apply them into our everyday lives.