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Prasanna — the Relentless Facilitator and Friend

The young 24-year-old engineer, Mohana Prasanna, has always aspired to teach. He is not only a transformed MasterCoach facilitator but also a friend to his learners.

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At a very young age, Prasanna dived head-on into what most youngsters would not even consider. He is a Soft Skills and Life Skills Master Trainer at Shakti Pengal Munnetra Sangam, Polur, Chennai, and this is his first job. This MasterCoach graduate understands that a teacher is a mere instrument of learning who when steered correctly can be the most powerful instrument of learning.   

Since most of his family was into teaching, he too wanted to become a teacher since he was a child. He excitedly shares, “My family has been my greatest motivation to become a teacher.” For professional guidance, Prasanna looks up to two MasterCoach alumni, “Sharath Sir and Sindhu Madam have motivated me throughout my teaching journey and continue to so do,” he shares.

Although teaching came naturally to Prasanna, a MasterCoach training under the Skills to Succeed project provided Prasanna with a new identity—a professional trainer. It gave him a tenacious direction that led him to understand his learners. “After the MasterCoach training, I started using different approaches to take care of my students. I now understand my learners and their needs better. I incorporate my learners’ needs into the lesson plans that I use,” he explains.

Since 2011, under the Skills to Succeed initiative in partnership with Accenture - India, we’ve worked with hundreds of trainers to deliver critical life and work skills to thousands of youth. One of the key elements of training youth is building capacities of facilitators and trainers. Prasanna, a MasterCoach cohort 4 participant, thoroughly enjoys his job but it’s not fun and frolic 24/7, “A challenge that I face as a facilitator is that I don’t get my students’ full attention when I go out to train in other organizations. This demotivates me, affecting my energy levels. I don’t face this with the students of my centre.” But persistent Prasanna also finds a way to address his challenges, “One time one of my students didn’t want to think and acknowledge his parents because he felt that they did not support him and he was all by himself. At this time, I divided the class into four groups and asked them to conduct a few tradition-based activities, one for each group. For every activity, one of the students was to act as parents and others were to act as rest of the family members. This helped my student understand the value of his parents,” he affectionately recalls.

Since the MasterCoach training, Prasanna has sensed a change in the responses he receives from his students, “My students have noticed that there is a considerable change in the way I take classes now. I use a lot of activities in my classroom to explain various topics and concepts. I begin the class with an icebreaker to introduce the topic and use energizers in between my classes, whenever required. I like to design my lessons and classes depending on the topic and concept. I typically use lectures, activities, PPTs, videos or movies. I use these or a mixture of them to teach a topic depending on the students’ needs and requirements. I usually end every class with a feedback session that I learnt in the MasterCoach program. MasterCoach has taught me not to worry about things that are wrong, rather to correct them and learn from them. My students now consider me as a friend and not just a facilitator,” he says.

Prasanna is famous even among his peers. Mrs. Anandi, a colleague, considers Prasanna a gift to the organization; “Prasanna has a helping mind and is ready to help in any situation. He is extremely impartial with his students. He is also an understanding facilitator and has an excellent facilitator-student relationship. He is friendly and extremely mature in his profession. Prasanna is also very caring and empathetic and gives his students a lot of encouragement and advice,” she says.

Apart from being an exemplary facilitator, Prasanna is also a placement officer and a counsellor. His supervisor calls his dissemination of content ‘effective’ and him an ‘effective trainer!’ Prasanna has now successfully trained 10 batches in his 3 years of facilitation and has been awarded the Quest Star for ‘Emerging Leader’.

Given his involvement and improved understanding of training through MasterCoach, Prasanna will continue to break down the walls of professionalism and build a closer facilitator-student bond with his students and impact several lives positively.