1. UNDERSTANDING OURSELVES
This module of the MOOC refers to the last part of the Coaching tools’ guide that has been developed in the framework of the project named after it. This section of the publication contains various “ready to use” activities categorized according to:
- the step in which we would use them (1, 2, 3 or 4);
- the number of people that they could be implemented with;
- the age of the participants we would recommend;
- the objective(s) of the activities.
Together with this info, you will also find a detailed description of the activities, the materials you need to implement them and some observations of the facilitators to help you adapt such activities to the context and the participants you work with.
By clicking the following link you will access the guide – https://www.dropbox.com/s/tj99jg8ik1w3cf1/coaching%20resize.pdf?dl=0 and you find the activities starting from the page 58, although already from the 51 you will find information on the four stages of the methodology that you already explored in the previous module of this course.
In this lesson and the following ones the idea is that we focus on each stage separately, in order to better understand each one of them, the activities that we suggest in the guide and – why not – designing new ones! How? Well, first of all it’s good to review a bit of basics in facilitation’s techniques, then will move on to the first of our stages: “Understanding ourselves”.
Following this logic now we should have a look at the activities in the manual and applying them with our participants, right? Well, maybe.
First, it’s important that we reflect together on some more concepts…
“Cool method – let’s do it”, “It has worked the last time – let’s do it again”, “Shall we try some new simulation?” This is exactly what you should not do.”
– Quotation taken from the “HANDBOOK FOR PEOPLE WORKING WITH YOUTH GROUPS – NON-FORMAL EDUCATION PRACTICE IN LITHUANIA”, by Z.Gailius, A. Malinauskas, D. Petkauskas, L. Ragauskas – available at this link https://mitteformaalne.ee/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/handbook-for-people-working-with-youth-groups-en-web-version.pdf
We completely agree on the fact that a method can be used in different contexts, as long as the educator has a clear view on how and when it should be used, in order to actually run a pedagogical intervention. What about you? Have you ever felt that you rushed into trying out a new method that you enjoyed as a participant or read in a brand new book…and finally did not come out as planned? Does it mean that we should not try new methods and always “play safe”. Well, we don’t think so. But we should definitely take into account different elements while designing learning processes and educational programs.
Task: read carefully from page 78 to page 82 of the manual linked above, then answer the poll.
You are at your first day with a group with which you would like to develop a learning process based in the coaching model of the COACHING TOOLS’ guide. The participants are quite young (15-17 y/o) and it’s the first time you meet them (although they know each others), so you decide to run some ice-breaking exercises and a short name game, followed by one of the activities inspired in the ones contained in the “Understanding ourselves” section…
So…you did it! In our opinion there are no right or wrong answers in this exercise because it depends a lot on which situation you imagined before picking your answer, but we do hope you took into consideration which are the type of activities that are useful to get to know a group for the first time and which are the ones that requires a lot more of time and some deep debriefing with the participants. Sometimes it is goos to “play it safe”, others we can push a bit the participants out of the comfort zone, but always being very careful to maintain a safe space for our participants and being responsible with them and the activities that we plan.
As a suggestion, remember that a four stages long process doesn’t have to last only four sessions. If possible, take your time to get to know the participants you work with and to give them the time to get to know themselves better as well.