The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

How to Learn With Matti

One of the things I love to do are trainings for young members within JCI. They start to know the organization and aspire to learn as much as possible about it. The sparkles in their eyes when they have seen where and how to engage as well as what they might gain from it belongs to the great joys I have as a trainer.

The challenge for the trainers thus is to create the sparkles! To achieve this independently from the tons of information to give, making them a bit too many for some, it is important to find a way to make the training a lasting experience. For this training, Diana, one of our trainers had the wonderful idea to bring Matti along.


Matti is a huge yellow rubber duck. Yes, I’m serious a rubber duck!


Well, Matti is a visual symbol for activities and partnership within this organization. Explaining where Matti came from, why he is attending all kinds of events and why it is fun to have him assist in the activities gave real insight to the participants. Matti served as materialized experience.

Another important role Matti had was to make the participants smile. Some of the participants smiled because the trainers were playing with Matti, others were simply smiling at the duck itself and the others were smiling that everyone was having fun. All had in common the feeling of something nice happening during the training.

Last but not least the ability to connect ourselves to our memories as a kid, simply by seeing a big rubber duck, reminded us of the energy we had as kids when we used to learn and have fun. Connecting to this feeling enabled the participants to use exactly this energy to enjoy the training and take as possible out of it for themselves. Connecting to this feeling also helped us as trainers to smile and remain energetic during all the training.


This training was as so often a valuable learning experience. Seeing the effect of participants connecting to visual tools as well as to fun elements was a good reminder to provide the correct mix for the different perceptions people can have: thinking, acting as well as feeling. Providing all three will enable the trainer to connect with all the participants and will give every participant something they can personally connect to and take home after of the training.

Photo credit: Jan, JCI Frankfurt



[Original publication via, Nov 22, 2010]

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