What can we learn during the evaluation?
During the evaluation, the group may raise various remarks: starting from dissatisfaction with the quality of the workshop materials, through insufficiently diversified meals, an uninvolved group member, to complete dissatisfaction with the way of working during the workshops. As evaluation moderators, we must listen to all observations and give participants a free space to talk.
When participants raise logistical comments (e.g. too short breaks, no vegetarian option at lunch): do not judge their applications, and if we know an explanation for any of them – let them know immediately. We can also directly ask the dissatisfied person about the preferred solution to the situation. If we are personally responsible for dealing with an issue raised, make a note to deal with it and let the reporting person know how long, more or less, they have to wait for our response / decision. When we are not the organizers, but, for example, national leaders, we should always forward the applications to the organizers at the first meeting summarizing the evaluation. If the matter requires discussing it with the whole group of participants, we should raise it immediately (e.g. during the first workshop session on the next day).
Within our evaluation group, a conflict may arise between several participants in the entire team or in the national group. Don’t nip it in the bud – it’s often worth letting conflicting opinions be spoken aloud. This may lead to clarifying the misunderstanding, or a joint solution to the whole situation. Other participants also have a right to know what has become a bone of contention and are often able to propose a reasonable solution to the matter.
There may be comments about other participants sometimes in the group, e.g. workshop group or national group. Usually they concern different dynamics of work, too little involvement, delays, misunderstandings. In such a situation, it is worth talking to the leaders of the national groups to which these participants belong and working out a reasonable solution together – for example, arrange a meeting in a workshop group in which a problem has arisen, to give them the opportunity to confront different expectations, or to personally draw attention to people, who, for example, are late to classes every day.
What should you remember about?
Remember that you are not always personally responsible for the submitted comments. Whenever possible, let the solution of the matter to the people who are directly responsible for it (e.g. report the lack of a vegetarian meal to the hotel kitchen; report the lack of information about when does the national evening begins to the responsible group’s leader). However, let’s coordinate progress in these areas so that we know what response to give to the person who raised the issue.
Remember to always try to clarify the gist of the matter. In the event of a conflict, let the disputing parties explain what is the basis of the misunderstanding. If the language of exchange is a barrier here, involve national leaders or other participants to help in translating the statements. Don’t allow aggression, but a cultural conversation is the best way to find a way out of this situation.
Draw consequences from acts that violate the basic principles of international exchanges. It is not the most pleasant task, but the organizer must take it on his shoulders. If someone threatened the safety of the group, acted aggressively, did not participate in more than 20% of the activities without reporting any reason, or broke the rules that the group agreed to on the first day of classes, we must react to it (act in consultation with the appropriate national leader).
Let’s not forget to draw conclusions also from the positive information obtained during the evaluation. If the participants are satisfied with your arrangements, preparations, decisions – it means that they are properly matched to the needs and expectations of the group we work with, and you have done a good job! 🙂