As you may know, in addition to certifying factories for social compliance, WRAP’s mission also contains a training and education component led by our Vice President of Training and Education Stuart Webster.
Webster uses a special accelerated learning technique, which we’ve covered on the blog before, when educating students in his three- and five-day auditor courses taught around the world all year round. (WRAP’s full training schedule can be found on the website)
Accelerated learning uses visual, auditory and kinesthetic styles of engagement to create effective, rather than ineffective learners. Webster’s teaching methods include visual cues such as color-coding, pictures, and diagrams, auditory cues such as jokes, anecdotes, music, and kinesthetic, or tactile, methods such as hands-on interactive activities and shorter hour-long chunks of learning.
Webster was deep in the throes of teaching a five-day auditor course to the students at Amsterdam Fashion Institute when our communications manager, Cori Sue Morris, caught up with Harry Mitchell, an IRCA Training Assessor to talk about accelerated learning and the values of social compliance.
Through his role at IRCA, Mitchell travels around the world visiting training courses to verify that they are technically in conformance with IRCA published criteria and are delivered in the way the organization requires. Mitchell has worked in the industry since 1994.
CSM: “Where does accelerated leaning come from?”
HM: “Accelerated learning is based upon the idea of a whole-brain approach to learning, which is why we look for a variety of teaching techniques. It comes from a few scholars—by Colin Rose, Poly Ann Wofford and Tony Buzan, who created the mind mapping theory.
It’s about understanding the way students learn. Through the way they give you answers, the way they look about and other visual cues, you can determine how each individual learns best. A good teacher will get to know his students, how they learn, how they respond to stress, how they respond to challenges. By the end of the first day, a good instructor should know all the personalities.”
CSM: “Why does IRCA value accelerated learning?”
HM: “As far as IRCA is concerned, with in the last decade, the organization’s leadership decided that it would incorporate accelerated learning into its courses. All IRCA-certified courses are supposed to use this learning technique, but it can be interpreted in different ways. It’s key that all courses involve the students, use a variety of teaching techniques, utilize a rich mix of stimuli, and improve memory and recall.”
CSM: “How do you think teaching a five-day social compliance auditing course at a fashion institute will benefit the students in their future careers?”
HM: “This idea of embedding a five-day certification course in a university program is a great idea. This AMFI course, which I first saw three years ago, is amazing because they’re doing it as part of a program. [Students take the five-day auditing course to learn about social compliance in factories before traveling to Hong Kong to learn Chinese language and culture, then intern with an apparel sourcing company].
The students aren’t just going out as academics, but as practitioners with a practical experience and ability to appraise and understand social compliance issues. It’s very valuable. It’s lucky for the students to be able to travel and have this experience.”
CSM: “What makes this training course taught at AMFI unique?”
HM: “Normally, this type of course is taken by managers and technicians, but these fashion students are young and just starting their careers, it’s an interesting perspective and challenge for them.
The enthusiasm shown and depth of questions asked by the students is remarkable. They all come in with different perceptions—it’s really interesting to watch and one of my favorite courses all year.”
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