Friday, October 10, 2008

Reflection Activity

Word for word from a great new site I discovered... thank you! ...

Using a story spine for a reflection activity

During a workshop I was recently involved in, I introduced the story spine to a couple of participants to help them to tell a story using the simple framework.

Not only did they embrace it enthusiastically and use it to great effect, unexpectedly the framework was adapted for a different purpose. A small group of onlookers decided to use it as the basis of a reflection activity. They did a great job, and I think it worked really well.

Here's a quick summary of how it might work for you:

All participants of the group sit in a large circle
The facilitator asks participants to reflect on an activity (in our case, we were reflecting on our involvement in a year-long training course)
The facilitator begins by reading out the first part of the story spine, 'Once upon a time...' or 'Way back when ...'
The person to the left of the facilitator is then asked--without rehearsal or preparation--to develop the story further by providing a brief sentence or sound-byte
This continues around the circle with each person adding to the story until the facilitator feels that it's time to intervene with additional structure from the story spine. When they feel it is time the facilitator will add the next line i.e. 'Everyday...'

This goes on until the story (as defined by the structure) is complete.
I recommend that you record the story so that you have an artefact or keepsake, or for transcription purposes. Because of the impromptu nature of the activity this was a bit of an after-thought for us. We did try to record the story using a mobile phone, but I'm not sure that it worked very well. I haven't heard anything!

The 'story' that we ended up with didn't make too much sense in the end, but that is unimportant. What is important is that the improvisations made it a lot of fun, and it also elicited lots of memories and anecdotes. It was also nice to reflect back on our shared experiences and to make sense of what happened as a group, as a collaborative activity.

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