Training course “℅M²UN1C@10N”
09/09/19 – 14/09/19, Poland
The training we were lucky enough to participate in, thanks to L’Orma, was funded by the Erasmus+ programme and promoted by the Outdoor as a Tool network. Experiential learning and outdoor education are the main methods used during the training targeting primarily youth and social workers and educators.
The training was held in Poland, in a small village near Toruń. We were lucky to be at a location with lots of outside spaces, where we could carry out our activities. We were three italian girls, together with 15 other boys and girls from Portugal, Latvia, Romania and Poland.
It was really amazing to meet people from all these different countries, because we had the possibility to compare cultures and habits different from ours, discovering unexpected realities (for example that in many European states they eat pasta like a second course!). In the beginning it was really hard to get used to English, since we aren’t used to speaking this language, but sure part of the formative power of this experience was in helping participants to improve their English skills. And now it’s time to tell you about the most important activities done during our week in Poland.
After some knowledge games we immediately got to the core of the course, that was experimenting games and activities (usually outdoor) and then discussing them together, to compare our experiences and connect them to the theory.
What better way to get the members of a cooperative game get to know each other? In those days we have experimented with several, one more particular than the other:
- move from one point to another while remaining in a row, without the last person touching the ground;
- let a ball go through a particular maze all together;
- and, the most fun game, playing games with gumizela;
Cooperation, indeed, was the central idea of all the training and it was the first topic we faced, analysing the scale of cooperation: it includes three behavior strategies that everyone can use when they are in a group: struggling, avoiding, cooperating.
The second topic was communication, making the distinction between direct vs indirect and human oriented vs tasks oriented. There are 4 styles of communication: promoting, caring, analysing and directing.
Another important topic of the training was Non-Violent-Communication (NVC). During this type of activities we paused to analyze our needs and feelings, to experience active listening and to distinguish the actions of observing and judging; furthermore, we had the opportunity to do small meditation and relaxation exercises.
To improve our skills in working with groups of people we have analyzed the logic levels of communication and the Maslow’s needs scale. Both of these theories are useful for understanding what to prioritize and what to focus on if you want to succeed as a group leader.
When it comes to the subject of communication, we cannot avoid talking about feedback, which are very important and helpful if given in the right way, that is specific and proactive / constructive.
Looking at the world of communication, today more than ever it is crucial to face the reality of online communication. A nice video showed us the most frequent errors in this field, that each of us has experienced at least once (video calls with bad video quality, online meetings with annoying background noises, etc.). From today, instead, thanks to the advice of Noemi, our online meetings will run smoothly.
The last topic we saw was how communication styles merge with assertiveness in the Rose of Leary. With this rose we reflected on the dynamics of power that are sometimes established between people and how to deal with them to restore balance in relationships.
These were the main topics covered in the 6 days of the course, interspersed with a sausage workshop, many teas and herbal teas, the construction of 5 hammocks in rope, a trip to Toruń, a bit of emotion and lots of laughs.
Now we just have to wait until October to meet again in Milan, certain that even the second part of the training will prove to be an exciting and incredibly experience.