Developing Training Goals and Expectations

The three basic training approaches (Intercultural/Valuing Differences, Anti-Racism, and Prejudice Reduction) should not be confused with the design of training programs.

Many effective training programs will incorporate multiple approaches. Designing a training program that uses training approaches that are appropriate for your organization will work best when the goals of training are clearly articulated. While there are many possible goals for inclusiveness training, you should begin designing your training program by answering the following questions:

  • Is the goal of the training program to facilitate better cultural awareness and manage cultural differences?
  • and/or Is the goal to create racial equity within the organization and ultimately within society?
  • Do you want training to focus on inclusiveness issues at the individual, intergroup, and/or systemic levels?
  • Do you seek short-term incremental change and/or long-term transformational change?

Once you have answered the questions above, you will have the basic information that an inclusiveness trainer will need to put together an effective training program that meets your organization's unique needs. Some trainings will utilize only one of the training approaches outlined in this module; others will incorporate multiple approaches; still others will likely present options not even addressed in this module. There is no one way to do effective inclusiveness training, but the more clarity you have about your training goals, the more likely you will be to find a trainer who is able to design an effective training program for your organization.

Note: For more information on training models, see the following resources:

  • Shapiro, Ilana, PhD, "Training for Racial Equity and Inclusion: A Guide to Selected Program," Project Change Anti-Racism Initiative and the Aspen Institute Roundtable on Comprehensive Community Initiative for Children and Families, 2002.
  • DeRosa, Patti, "Social Change or Status Quo? Approaches to Inclusiveness Training," Change Works Consulting, 2001.

As conversations among committee members will elicit, many people in your organization have probably already been through some form of diversity or inclusiveness training. You are also likely to find their experiences may not have been productive. This may be because the training program was held only once and did not have any follow-up discussions, or because the training program was not connected with action within the organization. The best thing to do in this situation is to prepare people for the present by setting clear expectations.

There are a number of basic things you can do to set expectations such as clarifying the training objectives before you get started, having agendas available, giving people materials in advance that are relevant to a training, and so on. More important than that, however, is ensuring understanding that inclusiveness training designed to increase understanding and awareness about race and ethnicity, by its very nature, will not necessarily be easy. Developing awareness and understanding is a process.

Given that training programs cause people to think about things in ways that are unfamiliar to them, it is likely that people will experience some discomfort in the process.

  • For some, this discomfort will lead to anger and frustration.
  • For others, it may cause passive-aggressive behavior.
  • For still others, the discomfort can result in deep, quiet reflection that may be perceived as checking out of the process, which may not be the case at all.

And some people, especially those who generally welcome change and those who are excited that conversations they've wanted to have for some time are finally occurring, may be energized by the discussions.

It is impossible, and unnecessary, to predict how different people will respond to the process. What is safe to say is that people will respond differently.


We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community ... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.
     Cesar Chavez