March 25, 2015

Todays journal entry will be used to reflect on our Educative Experience that was held last Friday…

I have to say that when we first started planning our experience, our group struggled with what kind of experience we all wanted to participate in.  It was an interesting mix of people, as there was no real strong leader.  In some respects it was good, because it almost forced all of us to take charge and responsibility but it was also bad because I felt like the communication really lacked and we didn’t have good direction.  But it did somehow magically all come together.

When we were doing research about what kinds of things to consider, we went from volunteering at a soup kitchen, to yoga, to going to a sweat lodge, to geotracking.  We had so many different ideas and we weren’t really sure what we wanted to accomplish.  In the end, we ended up finding some information on Laughter Yoga and it all seemed to resonate with us, so we kept brainstorming around that.  The majority of our group were also very interested in geocaching, so we went with those 2 ideas and tried to come to a common ground of what we wanted the theme of our project to be.  So we came up with the theme of interdependence and team building.  We eventually realized that geocaching would be too stressful with the use of our phones, as the network on campus is not very reliable, so we decided to just do a scavenger hunt.

It was very difficult to plan a lesson and not really know how it would be received and if it would actually go according to plan.  I felt like trying to figure out the timing of the events was difficult, as a majority of the time would be spent “thinking” about the clues – and how do you time that?  I was having doubts with that, but the rest of the team seemed to think that it was all going to work out (thank goodness it did!)  Planning something so active was also difficult because we had different groups to manage and we weren’t sure what to expect with each group.

Reflecting now after the experience, I feel like the group that I was managing got very frustrated and maybe bored with their clues. Perhaps it was the lack of motivation, as there was no prize or no defined time limit.  Or, it could have been that the group was too large, and they were not using the idea of “team building” to accomplish each task.  There were definately people that were motivated and participating “whole-heartedly” (as Bing would say), but there were others who were there just to get their participation marks for the day (disappointing atually!)  If I was to host another scavenger hunt, I would have smaller groups, more clues, more group activities, less walking, and something at the end to keep the pace of the activity exciting (I guess kind of like the Amazing Race).

Looking back at the Laughter Yoga session, I feel like the majority of people participated whole-heartedly and enjoyed the session.  I could tell there were perhaps some skeptical minds, or just thought that it was weird.  If you were someone just passing by the room and witnessed us all walking around like “drunken chickens”, I would probably think it was some kind of weird cult or people experimenting with drugs.  On the other hand, I thought it was so beautiful that we could all participate in such nonsense and not feel self conscious about it.  It was so great that we could make silly faces and move our bodies crazy-like and not be judged.  I felt so invigorated afterwards and I realized how stiff I walk around each day trying to  contain my body so that I am “composed” for the public.  I loved moving around, screaming and clapping – it was such a great release of energy for me.  It brought back the memory for me of always wishing life were like a musical – I have always wanted to be able to just break out in dance in the middle of the street and people not think that I am weird.

All in all, I think the experience went well, and it led me to some insights about planning lessons that are hard to discern when you have not experienced it before.  You always have to expect the unexpected and plan more than what is needed.

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