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Security Education Companion
A free resource for digital security educators

Am I the Right Person?

If you’re interested in digital security and sharing your knowledge with others, you may be excited at the prospect of leading a digital security training in your community. Sometimes, it’s hard to know where to start, or whether you’re even the right person for the job. Before deciding whether to lead a digital security training, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have I talked to other digital security trainers or local digital security groups?

  2. Do I have credibility within the community I want to reach?

  3. Do I have enough time to commit to hosting a training, and providing adequate follow-up?

  4. Have I attended and shadowed a digital security training with an experienced security trainer?

  5. Is there someone else in this space that would be more appropriate for the role of trainer?

 


Let’s break these down:

1. Have I talked to other digital security trainers or local digital security groups?

If you’re new to digital security, seek out local digital rights groups that are already established in your community. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know and attending a chapter meeting or networking with enthusiasts, trainers, and advocates already established in the space is a great place to start. If you are based in the United States, check to see if there’s a local Electronic Frontier Alliance (EFA) group you can connect with in your area. If there isn’t a local EFA group, join the monthly EFA teleconference to see what others around the country are up to.

2. Do I have credibility within the community I want to reach?

Perhaps you’ve identified a community you’d like to train. It’s best if you’re already a part of that community, and have some credibility with its members. These trainings should be a grassroots way to educate your neighbors and friends about the importance of digital rights, not a way to show up in communities you're not part of or familiar with, and whose trust you have not yet earned. With that in mind, what is your role within this community? Do the leaders within the community believe you’re the right person for the job? If not, are you willing to put in the time to build that trust?

3. Do I have enough time to commit to leading a training, and providing adequate follow-up?

Leading a training takes more time than just the training itself. Often trainers underestimate the work it takes to schedule an event, find a venue, plan a training, communicate with attendees, understand the needs of the attendees tailor the training for their interests, and provide adequate follow-up. Consider the commitment and know it’s okay to co-facilitate a training, or tap someone else you trust to host if you don’t have the time.

4. Have I attended and shadowed a digital security training?

We understand that many aspiring trainers may not know a trainer they can shadow or co-facilitate a training with—and in some cases, even find a training they can attend. So, the following is aspirational advice that we encourage you to try.

Before hosting a training on your own, we suggest you: attend, shadow, and co-facilitate a digital security training.

If you’ve attended a digital security training, great! However, if you’re serious about teaching, we suggest shadowing and co-facilitating a digital security training, too.

Shadow a veteran trainer to see digital security trainings from the perspective of the teacher. By shadow, we mean observe a full digital security training (from prep to follow-up) taught by someone who has experience conducting one. Be a fly on the wall, take notes, and jot down questions that arise throughout the training. Consider how you might have conducted the training, given your own unique skill set. Schedule a debrief with the trainer immediately after the training to review your questions.

Once you’ve shadowed a training, co-facilitate a training with a veteran trainer who can help guide your teaching and provide insight into common training pitfalls. When co-facilitating, it's important to work with someone who compliments your own teaching style, and to ensure you compliment theirs. Once again, jot down questions that arise throughout the training and schedule a debrief immediately after the training to review them with the trainer.

5. Is there someone else in this space that would be more appropriate for the role of “trainer?”

After you’ve tapped into your local digital rights community and attended and shadowed trainings, perhaps you’ve identified someone who is better suited to lead a training. That’s okay! Remember that even if you aren’t the primary trainer, you can still contribute. You can offer up your space, help with training prep, co-facilitate a training, or, if you’re more comfortable with smaller group interactions, host “office hours” to answer digital security questions. A major way you can help is to make yourself available for these kinds of follow-up questions: as learners begin to explore the skills they develop during the training, they may want to dive deeper beyond the scope of an awareness-raising digital security event.  You can play a valuable role in helping them understand the nuances of a tool, or planning for more specific scenarios.

 

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