Action Learning A how to Guide

ActionLearning A howto Guide StorytellersFoundation Hazelton,B.C. Copyright 1 Animation and Adventure Challenge Games For Facilitators A how to binder for informal teachers working with groups Storytellers
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ActionLearning A howto Guide StorytellersFoundation Hazelton,B.C. Copyright 1 Animation and Adventure Challenge Games For Facilitators A how to binder for informal teachers working with groups Storytellers Foundation Hazelton, B.C. 2 TABLEOFCONTENTS Introduction 5 BackgroundandContext 6 AdventureChallengeProgram 7 ProgramDesign 8 1. BallThrow SlingGame JointheDots 13 4.Marooned TeamMapping Balloons Knots GroupGrumble PasstheClap ShakeitUp SumoWrestling SideDancing AnimalLineUp TennisCourt BuildanObject/TableauWarmup FrenchTelephone 26 17CompletetheImage BalancingAct SpottingStance GlassBottle TinyTeach Thisisnota PyramidofCups CrosstheGreatDivide ToxicWaste StarWars SteppingStones KeyPunch 38 3 29.Plank BalanceBeam ObstacleCourse VerticalSpidersWeb HorizontalSpidersWeb TreeRopes OvertheWall PostcardSnapshot Tortoise,HareorThoroughbred WebofConnection GroupToast Airplanes 50 Appendix 51 4 Introduction This binder is made up of a variety of experiential education games that can be used for interpersonal skill development, trust building, conflict resolution, and team development. The games have been gathered from many different sources including training with Headlines Theatre Company, Outward Bound Scotland, and the Northwest Pacific Institute for Management. Many of the games have come from networking with other trainers. Every game listed has been facilitated with the diverse groups we have interacted with over the past twenty years. This binder has been specifically designed for informal teachers who are looking to fill their bag of tricks when working with groups. As you use the games find which ones work for you and adapt them to fit your group s needs. Most importantly share the games with other trainers you meet. Write Us 5 BackgroundandContext What is Experiential Education? Experiential education is simply doing something and then stopping and thinking about what we learned. Throughout this binder we refer to a component of experiential education known as action learning. At Storytellers Foundation we use action learning to help people find out what is significant to them. This can help people develop the knowledge, skills and attitude that they need in order to meet success in their learning and growth. Action Learning has two components: action and reflection. People learn by doing and then stopping and looking back at what they ve done. To help people learn the skills for action learning we facilitate an activity or game and then stop to think about what happened. In action learning we follow the experiential learning cycle: DO IT (Concrete Experience) TEST IT (Transfer to other areas of life) DISCUSS IT (Reflect on experience) DEVELOP IT (Find meaning and new skills) Kolb sexperientiallearningcycle In order for participants to discover significant learning about their attitudes and behaviour the games must be organized in a carefully planned progression. This progression usually includes activities that give some practical knowledge and skills that can be put to immediate use in other areas of the participant s lives. 6 AdventureChallengeProgram An effective program will be highly interactive and involve a high level of participant interaction. While developing the program careful attention must be given to participant s physical and emotional safety. If the program is well developed it will allow people to move out of their comfort zone into their learning zone. PanicZone LearningZone Comfort Zone A well-designed program challenges participants to move into their learning zone. If a person moves into a panic zone they are usually frozen and will not learn. 7 ProgramDesign A well-designed program uses three areas for helping people grow and learn: Animation Formation Education By encouraging people to try new things Where people develop specific skills By supporting people to reflect on their experiences Before designing your program think about your group s needs. What challenges can you provide for people? What skills do people want and/or need to develop? And how can you support people to stop and think about their experiences so that they can find significant meaning. In order to challenge people to find significant changes in attitude and behaviour a program needs to be progressive. A well-organized program will develop people s confidence, improve their ability to reflect, and develop a comfort with team interactions. This is done through a series of exercises and activities that are carefully planned: Icebreaker Help people get to know each other Loosens people up Warm-Up Helps people move and stretch Develops a sense of comfort with the type of activity yet to come Trust Building Develops comfort among participants Helps people find learning zones Communication Helps to develop skill in communication Allows people to articulate new understanding Provides opportunity to discusses process and what is happening Helps people work with others 8 Problem Solving Allows practice in leadership Provides opportunity for team learning Builds cooperation Creates opportunity for initiative Helps people learn to follow and listen to others Team Problem Solving Creates awareness of role in group Provides an opportunity to use resources of group Helps bring group needs to surface Highlights interdependence Closure Allows for reflection on experiences Gives a time to summarize discoveries Ties up loose ends Gives a time for emotional and formative check in and letting go Provides a transition to returning to regular life Although the planning of the program is critical, the key to any successful program is facilitation. When we talk about a bag of tricks we don t only mean the amount of exercises, games and activities that can be used to help people grow and learn, we also mean the skill of the facilitator to help people reflect, discuss and find meaning in their learning. A skilled facilitator can organize and plan a program that will help people move from their comfort zone into their learning zone and be able to adjust the program as they observe the participants interact. As informal teachers we need to be able to go with the flow and adapt our plans to suit the needs of the participants. We need to have a critical eye to see what is happening with individuals and with the dynamic within the group. And, we need to have enough experiences in our bag of tricks to be able to shift with the participants. 9 When planning a program we have two focus areas; the progression of the activities and the intellectual framework that will allow participants to put their experiences into a perspective that they can understand and apply later. The intellectual framework guides us to better facilitate discussion and reflection. This is done through debriefing the activities. Debriefing is personal. The group often dictates the strategies used and the length of time spent on debriefing. At its simplest debriefing can include these basic questions: What happened? What worked? What didn t work? How did you want to act? What do you want to do differently? With this progression we hope the group will find meaning and apply it to the next activity. Highlighting individual and group behaviour may mean the group will transfer it back in their work place, their school or whatever the circumstances that makes them a group. Debriefing need not be lengthy nor intense and can be done in a variety of ways. There are many debriefing exercises listed in this binder. Take time to think about which ones are more suitable to the different groups you work with. A final key factor to making a program work for participants is the element of fun. If people begin to play they will be more creative. Play allows us to shift our thinking and our responses to situations and that is when we have our most significant discoveries. As an informal teacher never underestimate the power of play. Playing and being silly frees up a lot of energy that is usually used to protect our ego or to make us look grown-up. Carefully design your program so that people become more comfortable being silly and playing together. So, with your groups needs in mind, design a program and go out and have fun while challenging people to grow and learn! 10 1. BallThrow Icebreaker 10 minutes Selection of small rubber balls (approx 7 or 9) This exercise helps people remember each other s names. It is also a lot of fun. Instruct the group to stand in a circle. Begin by quickly explaining the rules of the exercise and quickly trying it out with a practice round. Say the name of a person that is across the circle from you and then pass them the ball, that person then names someone across the circle from them and passes the ball. Once the group have successfully passed the ball in accordance to the rules ask them if they can repeat the ball throw in exactly the same sequence. Send the ball on another round. Once the ball has successfully been passed around, repeat and this time add an additional ball, keep adding balls until the group is juggling many balls. Expect a great deal of laughter. Rules: You must say the name before you pass the ball. Each person only receives the ball once. The ball must cross the circle (it can t be passed to the person beside you) Note: This can be played just for fun or it can be used as a discussion point around the intensity of experiential education. 11 2. SlingGame Icebreaker 10 minutes Sling or hula hoops The group stands in a circle. Everyone holds hands. One sling (or hula hoop) is sent around the circle. The sling must go all the way around the circle without anyone letting go of his or her neighbour s hand. No fingers or thumbs are permitted. Once the sling has successfully been passed around. Add another sling to the circle. One sling is passed clockwise and the other is passed counterclockwise. Again, expect a lot of laughter especially when the two slings meet. 12 3. JointheDots Icebreaker 10 minutes Flip Chart or paper with dots, pencils Make four straight lines without taking your pen off the paper. Can you connect all the dots? * * * * * * * * * Debrief this game by discussing how we often keep our thinking inside the boundary of the nine dots. Explain to the group that with action learning they will be pushed to break the rules and think beyond the boundaries so that they find creative solutions to the challenges they will face. 13 4.Marooned Icebreaker 5 Minutes None Often people work together and talk lots but never really get to know each other. This exercise helps group members get to know something a bit more significant about each other. This is a good icebreaker for groups that already know each other. It warms people up for reflection activities. Allow the group a couple of minutes to consider their choices and then ask them to share their choices with the other members. If this is a particularly large group, split the team into small groups for the debriefing circle. Imagine you are stranded on a desert island. Fortunately your fairy godmother is stopping by as part of an island vacation. She waves her wand and allows you to choose three people to stay on the island with you. Who will you choose? Tell the group and explain your choices. 14 5. TeamMapping Icebreaker 10 Minutes None This is a fun exercise to help break the ice and let people talk about themselves. In an open area start the boundaries for a map. Decide what country your map will be on. If you are working outdoors use trees, rocks, buildings, etc for landmarks, if you are training indoors you can use masking tape on the floor. Our map is Canada and to create landmarks I say: BC is beside the tree on the left, Toronto is next to the rock.. After you have pointed out boundaries ask participants to go to a province or city/community where they had their best laugh (or their best meal or whatever you want to suggest to participants) Make sure people don t go so far away they can t hear one another. Once people have arranged themselves on the map invite them to say where they are and to share their laugh. You can play this game several times with different themes. This game doesn t need any debriefing or lengthy discussion. It lets people find out interesting facts about their team members that they may never have had time to discover in their work situation. 15 6. Balloons Icebreaker 10 Minutes 10 balloons This is a fun game to get people moving and laughing. Blow up 10 balloons and throw them into the middle of the group. Every one must work to keep the balloons off the ground. Shake the game up by only allowing certain body parts to be used. 16 7. Knots Icebreaker 10 Minutes None The group stands in a circle and put their hands above their heads. Instruct people to grab a hand. Once all hands are held, instruct people to close their eyes and put their other hand above their heads. Everyone must grab another hand so that all hands are clasped together. Instruct the group to try and untie the knots without letting go of each other s hands. Note: This can be facilitated in different ways: Eyes closed In silence Eyes opened Talking 17 8. GroupGrumble Icebreaker 10 Minutes None Instruct the group to stand in a circle. Make the circle very large. Ask one person to begin the grumble by taking a step forward and grumbling, Everyone else takes a step forward and repeats the grumble. Continue until the group is in a very tight circle. Instruct one person to take a step back while saying something positive, everyone else takes a step back and repeats. Continue until the group is back in a wider circle. Examples of grumbles: I hate rain I hate playing games I hate debriefing I hate strong coffee Examples of positives: I like laughing I like today I like puppy dogs I like lunch 18 9. PasstheClap Materials Warm up 10 Minutes None This game can become quite lively and is great to wake people up after a lunch break. Organize group into a circle and instruct everyone to warm up their shoulders and arms with shrugs and arm circles. Begin passing the clap by exaggerating arm movements and clapping in the direction of someone else in the circle, that person then catches the clap and dramatically passes it on to another person. Challenge the group to be as dramatic as possible and as fast as possible in passing the clap around the circle. 19 10. ShakeitUp Warm up 10 Minutes None This is a fun warm-up activity that gets people moving, stretching and laughing together. This is often a safe way for people to become more comfortable touching their teammates. Stand in a circle. Instruct people to find a partner and touch with the body parts called out. Example call out: head to shoulders knee to elbow and so on.. After a few minutes shout out, shake it up and instruct people to find a new partner. You can do this a couple of different ways. The facilitator calls out for the length of the exercise or if there is an odd number in the group, one group member calls out until the facilitator yells shake it up. Once people switch the person left alone is the caller. 20 11. SumoWrestling Warm up 10 minutes None Stand in a circle. Demonstrate the three movements of this game to the group. The movements are: Ai make a wide stance and throw both arms to the left Kii make a wide stance and throw bother arms to the right do make a wide stance and point both arms out directly in front The game begins with the facilitator yelling one of the above commands and making the appropriate movement. If the arms point to the left, the person standing to the left of the facilitator the yells a command and makes the appropriate movement if the arms are to the right then that person takes a turn, if the arms are point out in form whoever is across the circle then takes the command. Speed this game up, challenge people to call our really fast. It s a lot of fun and gets people moving. 21 12. SideDancing Warm up 10 Minutes None The team stands in a straight line shoulder to shoulder. Keeping the line straight the team move in the direction you call out. The difficult challenge is that each person can only move a foot in conjunction with someone else s foot. Instruct the group to move 5 paces left, then 5 paces right, 5 paces back and 5 paces forward. This is a good warm up for crossing the great divide. It s not nearly as easy as it appears Debrief with the team asking how they worked together. Find out if the team worked as one or did many smaller teams emerge. This is a good exercise to talk about the big picture and being inclusive of all people. It is also a good debrief about how it is easy to become focused only on the immediate or what is directly in front of you. 22 13. AnimalLineUp Warm up 10 Minutes None Instruct each member of the team to think about an animal. Everyone stays silent. Now instruct the team to line up starting with the smallest animal and finishing with the largest. There can be no talking. The team must use their animal s body language and sounds. 23 14. TennisCourt Warm up 10 Minutes Tennis Court template, pencils Ask people to break into groups of three. Give each three the tennis court page (at back of binder) and a pencil. Instruct the groups to separate the court into five sections; each section must contain three balls. The pencil must stay on the paper. Only three lines can be drawn. The exercise is completed in silence. Consideration for debriefing: How did the group interact? Who took charge? How did people act? How did people want to act? Did everyone engage? 24 15. BuildanObject/TableauWarmup Warm up 10 Minutes None If the group is large divide into smaller groups. Instruct each group to build an object you name using their bodies. Suggestions: A zipper, zipping and unzipping A telephone A car A television set.. This is an important exercise if you are going to use tableaus as part of your closure. 25 Warm up 10 Minutes None 16. FrenchTelephone Stand in a circle. Count the number of people in the group and then choose a number that will not divide evenly into the group. (e.g. If there are 20 people, choose the number 6) Instruct everyone to stand relaxed with hands by their side and not take their eyes of the person 6 th (or what ever number you chose) to their right. They must copy everything that person does. After the game has been going for a while ask people if they have figured out what is going on. 26 17CompletetheImage Warm up 15 minutes None This exercise helps people use body language to create an image around any number of themes. The exercise begins with the facilitator explaining to the group how we must be careful in naming images because that can deny people s creativity. When a person creates an image through mime or tableau we cannot really know their thoughts or feelings. What we can do is think about our thoughts and feelings in response to the image in front of us. In this exercise stand in a circle and give the group a theme to think about. Then invite one person to enter the circle and silently create an image that relates to the theme. Once this image is created ask a second person to complete the image by making another image in response to the first person. When the second person has made an image the first person leaves and another person enters to complete the new image. This can continue for some time. The facilitator can make this lengthy or lighten the situation into a theatre sports by calling out themes fast and furious. Sometimes groups have a difficult time getting into this exercise but once it gets going it helps people to look at situations and images from a very different perspective. 27 18.BalancingAct Trust 15 minutes None Part 1 pushing Have people pick partners around the same size. Instruct them to put their hands on each other s shoulders using palms not poking with fingers. Have them push against each other, encourage them to push quite hard, and to use their muscles. One will probably be stronger and they will have to work to find their balan
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