Deb in Amman 2013 – 5
Today, I discovered that the best way to get participants to a training room on time is to scare the pants off of them! Six of the nine people scheduled to be videotaped today were here by 8:30 and the other three were here before 9! So, now I just have to figure out how to scare people into getting to a class on time without creating a negative learning environment… fat chance!
The activities the group facilitated were fantastic- but what was even more wonderful was the feedback and suggestions that they gave each other. They were thoughtful, perceptive, going much much deeper than any group I have ever experienced in the past because they are so passionate about changing attitudes and behavior- and don’t want to pass up an opportunity to affect the deepest change possible during a session.
I’ll tell you about Bashima’s activity, because that was amazing. In preparation, she had placed eight lanes of parallel lines- like stepping stones. She lined the other eight participants up at the start of the stepping stones. She then gave each person a role (a divorced woman, a 12 year old boy selling gum on the street, etc.) although no one knew what the other persons’ roles were.
Bashima then read a statement, such as “I can get the level of education I want,” or “I will not experience any sexual harassment.” If the statement was true for the assumed role, the person would take a step forward.
Bashima read 7 or 8 of these statements. At the end, one person was far ahead, two were in the middle, and three were left back at the beginning.
She asked the ones who were able to move if they ever looked behind to see how others were doing. The general answer was, “no.”
Her entire point was that certain groups are marginalized and no one seems to care about them. The participants were really shaken up by this activity- and most particularly the ones who played the roles that could not move ahead for any reason. In just 10 minutes, she engaged everyone, affected them deeply, and raised their awareness. Just brilliant!
One other thing happened toward the very end of the day, when Abdulmonem pointed out that there was still some confusion about what level of affective learning each of the facilitated activities was attempting to achieve. He thought it might have to do with the terminology. When I had originally introduced the levels back on Day Two, I had mentioned that the terminology seemed confusing- but had not suggested alternatives.
So, we looked at it carefully and, after much consideration, decided the following:
Level 1: Receive. At this level, the participants passively receive information that raises their awareness about an issue.
Level 2: Respond. At this level, the participants actively discuss their attitudes and emotions related to the issues.
Level 3: Value. At this level, the participants accept the worth of a new attitude or feeling about an issue.
Level 4: Choose. (Instead of “Organize.”) At this level, the participants decide to commit to a new attitude or feeling about an issue.
Level 5: Act. (Instead of “Internalize.”) At this level, the participants take action in accordance with their new attitude or feeling about an issue.
I think our changes help to make the distinctions between the levels much much clearer.
This group was warm, funny, articulate, passionate, and perceptive, comprised of wonderful, caring human beings committed to making change in their culture and their communities. It was a real honor to work and learn with them.
We left each other with hugs, warm handshakes and a mutual hope to see each other again.