by Huthefa, Maalim, DLINQ Intern

Rarely does a Middlebury student get a chance to both design and teach their workshop. Understandably, I was ecstatic at the prospect of leading my workshop on the R, a programming language for statistical computing. As it turns out, the experience was immensely fulfilling. It allowed me to develop my teaching abilities, enhance my communication skills, and refine my organizational capabilities. The only other time I  had worked on similar projects were during my classes’ final projects, which had predetermined deadlines set by the professors. However, this workshop demanded independent planning and execution. It also prepared me for my internship for Kenya Scholars Access Program, where I worked with students in Kenya last winter.

During the previous semester,  I designed a workshop aimed at acquainting interns with the R statistical language. I began by condensing the broad concepts I gained from my classes and interactions with fellow students into specific information that would be beneficial for the interns in their role of assisting other students.To ensure the workshop’s effectiveness, it was vital to have meticulous planning and curriculum structuring.This involved attention to detail and making informed decisions regarding the workshop’s content. Additionally, I dedicated myself to familiarizing myself with various types of questions, enabling me to remain adaptable and adjust the plan as needed during the workshop. Setting achievable and clearly defined goals, along with outlining the necessary steps to reach them, constituted the foundation of my preparation.

After honing my curriculum design skills, the next challenge was to ensure that the workshop would fit within the allocated time frame. This required a two-fold approach: firstly, ensuring that I had a fully prepared workshop ready by the scheduled time, and secondly, managing the content of the workshop to align with the intended goals. Collaborating with my partner, Luqman, we diligently crafted a concise, simplified, and attainable plan, which we practiced together the day prior to the workshop. This experience significantly enhanced my organizational and time management abilities.

On the day of the workshop, all of the preparation morphed into a sense of responsibility. Initially I was nervous, but the pre-rehearsal had given me the courage to persevere. While my communication started off a bit shaky, I gradually became more confident and clear as I proceeded. It dawned on me that I was in charge of the workshop and it was my responsibility to rally the workshop towards a common goal. I had also learned the art of injecting humor into the session when students seemed stuck, which helped alleviate the pressure. Throughout the workshop, I actively listened, engaged with the participants, and shared laughter, gradually feeling more at ease and authentic. The thoughtful responses from my peers further bolstered my confidence, motivating me to incorporate their feedback into my future workshops. This experience brought immense gratification and equipped me with heightened preparedness for my later workshop. I felt noticeably less nervous and more actively engaged, and the growth and development of my skills were evident.

I used the outline discussed in this document to execute the workshop. . Following the workshop, I recognized the value of providing interns with a comprehensive resource to reinforce the key takeaways. Consequently, I took the initiative to create a workbook that delves into greater detail and serves as a supplementary guide to the workshop. Currently, the workbook is a work in progress and is hosted on Notion, allowing for continuous updates and improvements. It offers a more elaborate explanation of the workshop content, ensuring participants have access to in-depth information and resources beyond what was covered during the workshop itself.