Introduction: Skill-building, 8-25 students and adults.
Goal: When this session is complete, participants should be able to…
- Foster effective communication between students and adults
Time: 60 minutes
Materials: Flip chart paper and markers
Space: Enough for the group to spread out and work in pairs
Considerations: Communication is one of the biggest barriers to students and adults working together. Everyone knows how to talk, but surprisingly few people know how to communicate. It is a skill (so you don’t automatically know how to do it) and takes some practice. However, the skills developed for giving and receiving feedback are definitely Western European in origin. There are other ways to communicate and other skills that go with them.
- Introduce the term “feedback”: Feedback is a means of letting someone know how their behavior affects you—positively or negatively.
- Share the model called “feedback Model and Rules” following this lesson. You may want to use this page as an overhead.
- Demonstrate, using an group volunteer as a partner (see instructions for participant practice for further details)
- Explain how participants will practice feedback. Tell them to think of a situation in which they wanted to tell someone else about something they did that was hurtful, annoying or otherwise difficult. Tell participants that they will work in threes. One person will practice giving feedback, one will listen and one will observe. Share the following roles with students:
- The feedback giver starts by telling the listener what the situation is, and about the role the listener will play.
- The observer simply notes if the person practicing feedback is following the “rules” of feedback.
- The listener listens and then gives the response which he or she sees fit.
- The giver makes another statement, again using the model. Then participants stop.
- The observer shares observations and the recipient shares how it felt to get feedback.If you only have a few people or don’t have much time, you can have the listener double as the observer and do the exercise in pairs.
- One by one, participants will practice giving feedback. Allow for about five to seven minutes for each round, reminding people to switch so they will have enough time to rotate the roles.
- Close by reflecting on the following questions:
- What did it feel like to give the feedback statements?
- How did you feel about the response of the recipient?
- Observers: what were some of the difficulties you noticed people having?
- What was it like to hear feedback?
- During what would this technique be useful? Why?
- During what situations wouldn’t it be useful? Why?
If time allows, have people practice feedback again, but this time positive feedback. Tell each participant to identify a situation in which he or she wanted to tell someone about something the person did that he or she really appreciated.
Let people know that feedback often feels awkward and artificial at first, but that it gets easier and more comfortable with practice.
Additional Lesson Plans
- Facilitator Notes and Requirements
- Intro to Student/Adult Partnerships
- Intro to Student Voice
- Readiness for Student/Adult Partnerships
- Bias Against Students
- Being Students
- Understanding Who You Are
- Language in Schools
- Learning to Listen
- Feedback Techniques
- Jargon in Schools
- Power, Trust, and Respect
- Ground Rules
- Group Strengths and Weaknesses
- Trust Circle
- Action Planning
- Problem Solving
- Staying Solutions-Focused
- Letting Go & Taking Charge
- Ideal Partners
- Creating Roles for Students and Adults