The European Union is an area of ever expanding borders, encompassing a myriad of different cultures, values and educational backgrounds within the mind and psyche of its citizens. In the midst of this vast sea of diversity and multiculturalism, the Police Forces of the Member States are being asked to be the only constant point on an ever changing horizon, the reference point to which every citizen, no matter the country or individual place, should look to for advice and aid in coping with whatever trouble the future might hold. In such an environment, we have no other choice but to go back to our roots, innovate and update our basic knowledge and take strength from it. In other words, we have to go back to training.
Since the start of the 21st century, technological breakthroughs have affected not only the efficiency but also the mindset of outlaws in Europe as well worldwide. Our only option is to adapt and update the training offered to Member States to cope with this fact. The use of internet in police training and the use of psychological support are solutions with an outlook to the future and will help police forces that have to work in multicultural environments.
With the above in mind, the CEPOL Unit of the Hellenic Police Academy organised and hosted the CEPOL Seminar 77/2011, “Train the Trainers” - Step 1. The seminar took place in Athens on 15 - 18 March 2011 and was aimed at nationally competent trainers/experts and police officers wanting to increase their competences in training, group-working and understand diversity in a multicultural training/ working environment.
The use of e-Net’s LMS fully supported this activity, highlighting its capacity to broaden professional networks, and was greatly appreciated by lecturers and participants alike. The main objectives of this two-step activity are:
- Given general and CEPOL educational standards, the participant will organise effective European and CEPOL learning environments, especially with regards to multicultural environments.
- Given a learning situation, the participant will identify and clarify the benefits of diversity in CEPOL and in European learning communities as well as organise the learning process.
- Given a learning situation (e.g. course, lecture, simulation, discussion), the participant will facilitate and moderate learning processes by implementing appropriate learning methods and coaching during and after the course.
- Given study materials, the participant makes use of opportunities for continuous quality improvement during the course (e.g.: evaluation, reflection, peer review).
- Given CEPOL e-Net’s Learning Management System (LMS) and knowledge bases, the participant will judge their applicability in the learning environment and make use of them, encouraging participants to access and contribute to the European Learning Network.
The seminar was led by experts from the CEPOL Secretariat, the Working Group on Learning, Germany (organiser and host of the second step), as well as an expert from Greece.
Following the initial introductory CEPOL – EU awareness presentation, the first day was dedicated to the learning environment of a CEPOL seminar, the differences between National and International training and the intercultural differences in training. The subject of adult learning and its methods-approaches to learning were addressed in the day’s final session.
The second day started with a presentation delivered on setting objectives, followed by a practical exercise involving all participants that led to a discussion on the same subject. Subsequently a presentation on evaluation, followed by a small presentation of Kirk Patrick’s model, was given. The day continued with an introduction to peer review and concluded with the role of research in Police training and the use of e-Net’s e-Library.
Presentations on day three started with the following topic: “Psychology of police trainees - Evidence-based and practice-based interventions in supporting police trainees within a culturally relevant training context”, a new topic that has recently been included in the course’s curriculum. After, the participants were introduced to e-Learning and its use in the CEPOL environment, reinforced with the use of a practical exercise using e-Net’s LMS that led to a long session of questions and answers. Following this, each participant had the chance to identify topics missed (if any) or needing further exploration (to be dealt with in step 2). The day came to an end with explanations provided by the experts regarding the participant’s assignment that needs to be worked on between the two steps of the activity.
The final day was dedicated to a written evaluation of the seminar and Deputy Director of the Hellenic Police Lieutenants’ School, Police Colonel MANTIKOS Georgios, handing out the certificates to the participants. Timo Greil, a participant from Germany, wrote about the course in his evaluation: 'The course in Athens was a real experience. The perfect mix between knowledge mediation, Greek hospitality, culture and teamwork made learning possible. I hope CEPOL courses are always like this.'
Mr. Joao Cabaco, an expert from Portugal, stated:
“As a trainer, during the course I felt the participants really interested in the learning process; they always give contributions to ongoing discussions, and shared their expertise. Learning occurred during the sessions, but a lot of knowledge was exceptionally shared during the working groups and the free time. Everybody was really involved in the course. Thank you all.”