Tip #554: Creative Learning Activities in Jordan- Part One

“Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.” Edward de Bono  

While in Amman, Jordan, I also conducted a six-day Train the Trainer Program: Designing and Delivering Dynamic Learning for humanitarian workers.

The third day was focused on Inviting Learning from the standpoint of creating a positive learning environment and having strong platform skills.

For a closing activity, I asked the participants to select an object from a bag and then create a 2-minute presentation about it. The presentation could involve telling a story, trying to sell the product, brainstorming with the group to come up with different uses for the item, etc.

Here are some of the presentations that really stood out.

Heba had selected an American Idol toy microphone and she did her presentation in a wonderfully creative way. She first asked me to let her use some classical music. Then she began by asking the group what one word came to mind when they saw the microphone. “Dream” was one of the responses.

She turned on the music, asked the group to close their eyes and think about their dreams. For the visualization, she asked them to think about their dreams, what are they, who supports them in their striving to make that dream a reality, who would they like to include in their dream realization, how far were they along in reaching their dreams, and was it too late for them to fulfill their dreams. When she had them open their eyes, she asked them again, was it too late? They all said “no,” and she concluded with a strong message to pay attention and work consciously toward their dreams. It was very powerful.

Dalia began her presentation with a role-play. MagD lay on the floor and Morad dropped litter all over her. Dalia explained that MagD represented Mother Earth and Morad represented human beings. She then gave an impassioned speech regarding our responsibility to take care of Mother Earth so she can take care of us. Her prop? A plush carrot!

Mohammad was terrific. He introduced himself not as Mohammad, but instead as a long list of numbers, explaining that he came from Pluto with a special product to help us. He split the group up: one side of the room feared thieves and the other feared that they were too busy to recognize their children’s accomplishments. He asked the groups how they typically dealt with their fears.

Aa’la said that if she heard a thief, she would hide in her bed. Heba said that she would give her children chocolate as a reward. Then Mohammad showed us his prop, a toy clapper gun. He explained that it would solve both group’s fears: if they heard a thief, they could use the clapper to scare the thief away. If they were busy, the parents could use the clapper to applaud their child. It was outrageous and brilliant!

Morad came with a screwdriver and a measuring tape. He asked the group to identify them and then requested creative ideas for using each that did not involve house maintenance. The responses were hilarious. I won’t repeat what the men could measure with the measuring tape!

After lunch, Monther set up a spectacular team building game. He split the group into three groups of six and had each group sit in a circle. He took three magic markers and looped three long thin cords around each marker. Then he gave the members of each group one of the cords, with the marker facing downward. He took the cap off of the marker and pointed to a sheet of paper in the middle of the circle directly under the marker.

The groups’ first task was to draw a circle with the marker, which required great coordination and teamwork. The two groups with a majority of women had no trouble. The group that was entirely men had great trouble. When we debriefed the groups later, Zaid explained, they had wanted him to lead them and when he said he led enough, each of the other men decided to lead at the same time!

The next task was to draw a triangle. Again, the women-dominated groups completed the task very quickly, while the male group struggled.

The last task was to draw a rectangle and then a circle within the rectangle. The women-dominated groups managed this easily, while the men’s group was completely unable to do it.

It was a terrific game that I definitely plan to use for team building training in the future!

May your learning be sweet.


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