‘Blog’ Archive

Training Activities

Team Tally for Group Building, Reflection, Academic Review, and Data Gathering

This group questionnaire has multiple purposes: rapport building, reflection, data gathering, brainstorming, context setting, and academic or training content review/assessment. The playful, informal, small-group sharing and friendly competition engage and motivate participants to join in. Because it is so participant- directed it is ideal for transitional phases (i.e., the first few moments of a program, meal-time, or when returning from a break. It can be used to explore get-to-know-you questions or as a reflective technique to gather specific information and feedback about a topic, or to celebrate an experience. It is a useful technique for large groups (groups are broken down into smaller teams). In school settings, it is perfect for advisory groups or family nights. In adult training and team-building, I use it to ensure all voices are heard when exploring a particular subject.

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Commonalities Mingle Activity for Rapport Building, Reflection, Positive Group Norms and Academic Review/Discussion

This is an effective activity for building rapport in groups of all kinds. It is also a useful method to reflect on academic or training material while at the same time learning about peers or colleagues and exploring common and differing perspectives on a topic. For those thinking of “Back-to-School,” it is a nice group builder for advisory groups, morning meetings. For team-building and networking programs it can facilitate the understanding of “who is in the room” and help participants make connections and start a dialogue about reflection topics.

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Setting the Tone, Building Community, and Initiating Reflective Discussions: Pair Share Ideas

August is a month of new beginnings for educators and group facilitators. These last weeks of summer are filled with back to school meetings, training, student community building, and fall program kick-off events. Many educators ask me for ideas for making the most of this time of year, so I am pulling together some of my favorite past blog posts and excerpts from my books with back to school, community building, ice-breaking, meeting facilitation, and context setting activities.

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Start Off With Style: Create a Hook to Engage

Think back to your most memorable learning experiences— the courses, team-building programs, or classes you enjoyed and the facilitators or educators you found most impactful. How did they start their classes or workshop sessions? How did they begin the program? How did they greet you when you arrived? Chances are, they created a compelling way […]

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Creating Ownership and Facilitating Involvement in Learning and Group Experiences

Excerpt from Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation   Control and Responsibility In past posts we’ve established that when people feel like they own their learning experience and have a sense of control and ownership from the start, buy-in, and participation increases. Simple but intentional actions on the part of the […]

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school climate

Showing Appreciation and Celebrating Success

This time of year as I work with school programs to wrap up the year and facilitate final faculty professional development days, the idea of celebrating success and honoring the contributions of others seems especially important. Below is an excerpt from Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation that focuses on the […]

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Re-Use, Repurpose, Upcycle

Excerpt from Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation, Second Edition by Jen Stanchfield repurpose 1. To reuse for a different purpose, on a long-term basis, without alteration. 2. To alter to make more suited for a different purpose. – MacMillan Dictionary Upcycling is also known as creative reuse. With upcycling, an […]

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The Improvisational Facilitator

Excerpt from Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation, Second Edition One of the aspects of facilitation I most appreciate is the ongoing creative energy and adaptation that it both requires and inspires. I enjoy experiencing live music, of all genres, for the same reasons. Musical improvisation fascinates and inspires me—that moment […]

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Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation

Almost ten years ago, out of the desire to share my passion for experiential education and the art and science of group facilitation, I completed the first edition of Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation. Now, a decade later, I’m offering a new edition which includes updated connections to research on […]

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The Value of Reflection

Guiding Your Group: A Participant Centered Approach to Facilitation and Teaching

Excerpt from the new edition of Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation The basic tenet of experiential education is the idea of facilitators (e.g., teachers, leaders) approaching their work as guides in the process of discovery, rather than as all-knowing centers of knowledge and direction. When working with educators and group […]

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Inspired Educator Blog

Beware of the Icebreaker

Excerpt from Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation Second Edition   In chapter one, I emphasized how important it is to carefully assess your group, and be aware of putting individuals in the spotlight too early in the group process. Putting learners on the spot before they have developed trust and […]

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Setting the Tone: Creating a Positive Environment for Learning

This is an updated version of a previous post entitled “Optimal Ingredients for Effective Group Facilitation” rewritten for the new edition of Tips & Tools for the Art of Experiential Group Facilitation to be released in October. A fundamental aspect of effective group programming is taking the time to help participants create a positive, supportive […]

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Experiential Education Workshop Nashville

Guiding Your Group: A Participant-Centered Approach to Group Facilitation and Teaching

Excerpt from the Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner The basic tenet of experiential education is the idea of facilitators (e.g., teachers, leaders) approaching their work as guides in the process of discovery, rather than as all-knowing teachers and centers of knowledge and direction. When I work with educators and group leaders, I often find myself encouraging […]

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Inspired Educator Blog

Attitude is Everything

Excerpt from the Inspired Educator, Inspired Learner by Jen Stanchfield. Learners respond—even subconsciously—to a facilitator’s attitudes, demeanor, and expectations. We often communicate more than we realize with our body language and tone. A positive attitude is contagious. If you truly believe in the methods and activities you are using, participants will most likely buy in […]

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Reflection

The Reflective Educator/Facilitator Part Two: Meaningful Self-Reflection and Record-Keeping to Improve Your Practice

My most recent post from the Inspired Educator Blog Archives “Embracing the Quiet and Taking Time to Reflect” focused on the importance of prioritizing time for self-reflection to improve your work as a teacher, trainer, counselor or group facilitator. Taking the time to reflect on our professional practice helps us find meaning and develop insight […]

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Embracing the Quiet and Taking Time to Reflect

In honor of the start of the new year I am re-posting this series of articles from the Inspired Educator Blog Archives on the importance of practitioner reflection. From the Archives, The Reflective Practitioner Part One, December 30th, 2011: Here in Vermont December is the darkest and quietest time of the year. The days are […]

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Key Ingredients for Optimal Group Building Experiences

In past articles, I have compared group facilitation to cooking. As in cooking, group facilitation allows for a great deal of room for adaptation, experimentation and adjustment of ingredients to fit different groups and different learning situations. Though there is opportunity for creativity and innovation, it is important to remember that there are key ingredients […]

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Advisory Activities

Full Plate Time Management Activity

With the start of fall I find that both the professionals and students I work with are often learning to manage a new routine and new responsibilities which makes it the perfect time to reflect on time management, responsibility and goal setting, and self-care. This is a great activity to jumpstart conversation around coping skills […]

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