A Project of the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice

Explanation of Icons & Symbols

The following icons are used in the curriculum to help guide users through the materials:

This icon indicates the beginning of a new lecture topic.
This icon highlights a Learning Activity. When users see this icon, they should remember that this is an opportunity for breaking the audience into smaller discussion groups to process some of the information that has been covered during the training.
This icon signals a question that the trainer might pose to the audience for consideration. In most instances, the questions are a follow–up to the lecture content. In a few places in the curriculum, the questions are presented as an alternative to lecture.

Other useful symbols include:

Use Slide #: This notation appears in the Teaching Notes alongside the relevant Lecture Content text. The vast majority of the slides do not introduce any new information. Instead, they are designed to reinforce key teaching points made by the trainer. The slides are included in the curriculum in PowerPoint so that they can be downloaded and used with an LCD projector, or printed out and copied onto transparencies. The slides can also be printed as handouts and distributed to participants.

Refer to Handout: This notation is used to refer to all types of handouts, including exercises, policy and practice briefs, and other relevant resources. The handouts included in the curriculum can be printed out, duplicated, and distributed to participants during the training. Users of this curriculum are encouraged to provide packets of materials (including the training goals and agenda) to all participants.

Time Allotment

Throughout this curriculum, users will find guidance and recommendations about how much time they should spend on specific substantive topics and learning activities.


Outlines are provided for each section of each version (long and short) of the curriculum. The outlines include a table of contents for the sections and a suggested time allotment for the specific topics covered in each. Click here to be taken to the outlines of the five sections of the long version of the curriculum.

Version “Home Pages”

Each version (long and short) of the curriculum has a “home page” that contains the recommended time allotment for that version, a brief summary of the subject matter, and a short description of the learning activities that have been included.

Lecture Content and Teaching Notes

The Lecture Content and Teaching Notes for each section of each version of the curriculum also contain recommendations about how much time trainers should spend on each topic and on the learning activities that have been included.

Users should remember that the times that have been recommended in this curriculum are MINIMUM times. Neither breaks nor question and answer periods have been included. Trainers are encouraged to schedule breaks approximately every two hours, and to address questions and concerns from the audience in a way that suits their presentation style.

Most of the substantive material is presented in the curriculum in a way that is very easy to tailor and abridge, if necessary. CSOM suggests that users do so according to the size, knowledge and expertise, needs, interests, and questions of the audience.

Learning Activities

Learning activities provide opportunities for participants to reflect upon how the information that is presented applies to their own and their agencies’ work. As such, users of this curriculum should make every effort to include activities in their training agendas and promote audience participation. The long version of this curriculum includes several learning activities. Because of time constraints, the short version does not, although it includes discussion questions that trainers might pose to audience members to encourage them to reflect on and process the material that is presented.

During their event planning, trainers should take time to prepare for learning activities. With an audience that includes 25 participants or less, users can engage the entire group in a discussion, or break the audience down into even smaller sections. Discussion sessions that include more than 25 participants can be very challenging to manage, even by a seasoned trainer and facilitator.

As has been mentioned, another important consideration for the learning activities is the composition of the discussion groups. Trainers may want to mix discussion groups or make specific assignments to them based on levels of knowledge and expertise, or agency/discipline affiliation (so, for example, treatment providers and probation/parole officers meet separately, or more seasoned and less experienced treatment providers meet separately). Users may want to consider using both options (mixed and similarly composed groups) at different times throughout the event.

Training Techniques and Strategies

Responding to Questions from the Audience

Some trainers are comfortable with participants posing questions throughout their presentations. Others prefer that participants hold their questions until the end of a session or a specified period. When considering how to respond most effectively to participants’ questions, faculty members should be cognizant of the time available (as lengthy question and answer sessions may not be possible) and be careful not to get “caught up” in a specific case or problem (that is introduced by one participants) that may not be relevant or helpful to the larger audience.

The trainer’s familiarity with the curriculum material is also very relevant. The more familiar the presenter is with the material that he or she is presenting, the less disruptive frequent questions from the audience may be.

One strategy to manage questions is to distribute index cards to the audience at the beginning of the training and ask participants to record their questions on them. The cards can be submitted during breaks, when the presenter will have time to review them and decide how to respond most appropriately.

Facilitating Broad Audience Participation

In any audience, there will be some individuals who are more willing to contribute and ask questions than others. If a trainer allows the typical dynamics of a group to play out—with some participants being much more active than others—there may be some audience members who do not have an opportunity to participate. One technique for “leveling the playing field” in a group setting is the use of a “round robin” approach, where input is requested from every person present. Sometimes, the individual responses are recorded on a flipchart so that everyone can see and remember what has been said. This process—which is usually only possible in smaller groups—is an excellent way to solicit broad participation, make sure everyone present feels heard, and minimize the impact of individuals or factions that tend to dominate discussions.

Making Discussion Group Assignments

The importance of providing opportunities for training participants to process the information that is provided during any training event has been emphasized already. A quick strategy to create random discussion groups, and to encourage participants to engage with individuals with whom they may not be familiar, is to ask them to count off into whatever number of groups the trainer wants to create.

Introductions/Ice Breakers

Often, participants are asked to provide their names, titles, and agency affiliations at the beginning of training events. However, the use of a slightly more creative introduction process (or ice breaker) can help to establish an informal tone that can promote the asking of questions and frequent interactions among the participants and the faculty members during the event. For example, in a group where everyone knows each other—or where everyone knows at least one person in the room well—participants can be asked to share something that no one in the room knows about them. (If someone says “I knew that,” then the participant must come up with another fact.) In a group of strangers, every person can be asked to share something unique or noteworthy regarding their name. In smaller groups, trainers can request that participants provide two true statements and one false statement about themselves; the others are asked to guess which statement is false. Or, a more traditional approach can be used by asking each participant to say a few words about their expectations for the training.

There are many other ways to “break the ice” at the beginning of an event—trainers are encouraged to use their imagination. Although some users may feel reluctant to introduce informal or “non–substantive” elements into a training event, the goal of introductions/ice breakers is an important one—to create an environment in which attendees feel comfortable and welcome to participate actively by asking questions and reflecting on their experiences. This will ultimately make the training experience much more meaningful and will assist participants in mastering the material and understanding more fully its relevance in their own and their agencies’ work.