Timeout Instructor’s Guide


Hannele Laaksolahti and Kai Alhanen


You are reading the Timeout instructor’s guide. It is intended for those who are planning to provide training in the dialogue based Timeout model. This guide leads you through the principles of the Timeout training all the way to the steps of concretely implementing it. You are probably already an experienced group instructor and facilitator. You might also be a professional trainer or developer in your working community. Your heart beats for constructive discussions, and you want to develop interaction and promote genuine community spirit and participation.

Timeout is a way of initiating and engaging in constructive discussion, bringing people from different backgrounds to an equal encounter and meaningful dialogue.

Timeout discussions help to deepen understanding of different things without pressure for unanimity or quick resolutions. At the same time, they enable you to build trust and participation in the community.

Timeout was developed using the methods of co-creation, and is intended for open use by everyone wanting to promote constructive discussion. The model consists of tools for planning and facilitating discussions and ensuring their effectiveness.

The purpose of Timeout training is to increase expertise in the planning and implementation of dialogue-based participatory practices and the capability for constructive discussion in the society. The content and materials produced for the Timeout model make up the spine of the training. Use the guide as support material in planning the training. The first chapters explain the background and principles of Timeout training and describe the objectives, methods, target group, content and conditions for implementation. The second part of the guide includes three modules for implementing the training. You can pick the parts of the modules that serve the objectives of the training, the capability needs of the participants and the framework of time use. However, we recommend full-scale Timeout training whenever the participants’ aim is to organise a Timeout event.

The instructor’s guide was prepared to be applied and adapted. You can boldly experiment with different implementation options and apply the tips collected in the guide as you best see fit. Give the training your own touch and introduce your own experience to its implementation. Draw examples from your own life and supplement the instructions in the guide with various facilitation and teaching methods. Do not base the training strictly on the guide; think about the big picture yourself and prepare your own plan based on the guide. We also recommend planning and training Timeout together with another instructor. If you give training alone, it is a good idea to review your plans with someone else – this way dialogue also becomes part of the planning phase of Timeout training.

We hope that you will be inspired to share the lessons learned from good training experiences with other instructors. This way, we can launch the virtuous circle of the open sharing of lessons learned and continuous development, which is crucial to Timeout.

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Timeout Instructor's Guide


Hannele Laaksolahti and Kai Alhanen

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Sitra studies

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