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Successful Debriefing Techniques Matthew Cummiskey West Chester University Please sign in.

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1 Successful Debriefing Techniques Matthew Cummiskey West Chester University Please sign in

2 Name Circle Quote - All I have is my good name, pass it on Debriefing through quotes

3 What is Debriefing Creating meaning out of an experience – The What – timeline of events – So What – drawing meaning from what happened – Now What – relate to behavior change in the future Debriefing can also be called processing or reflecting

4 Debriefing Groundrules Everyone sits in a circle This is a safe environment to explore feelings and learning from the experience. Put downs are not permitted Each person has the freedom to say no, pass or perform to their challenge level It’s OK to listen and not have to talk What is spoken in the group stays in the group One person speaks at a time without interruptions Speak only for yourself using “I statements” Respect different backgrounds and styles of learning

5 Categories of Debriefing Facilitator frontloading Traditional Q&A Participant directed – reading a book Independent reflection

6 Board Room/Traffic Jam Index dyads

7 Debriefing Techniques Frontloading - choose a focus or objects that represent goals for the activity Observers – remove participants and provide a task or questions – What did you notice that perhaps a participant did not? – Any “big picture” observations – How would you rate the group’s synergy

8 Debriefing Techniques Isolation – “structured” time for individual introspection and reflection – Outward Bound approach Concentric circles - Ask participants to greet each other by name and have them participate in a cooperative activity together such as “one-handed shoe tying.” Before leaving, they look the person in the eye, and give a compliment. Rotate and repeat.

9 Debriefing Techniques Index cards – processing Qs on index cards completed in dyads or triads (done earlier) Quick toss - Toss an object around the circle and when caught, participants answer a predetermined question or can share a thought, compliment, or experience. – How did you or someone else contribute to the groups success? – What did you learn about yourself today? – How have you challenged yourself today in the workshop? – What was the message of today’s activity(ies) and what does it mean in your life? – How would you characterize our class’s effort?

10 Debriefing Techniques Apple and onion (dyads, individually, groups…) – An Onion is a part of the day or activity that they did not enjoy, something they disapproved, or an experience they did not particularly like. – An Apple is a positive experience, such as a something they liked about the day, a specific act of teamwork they observed, a compliment for someone else, or other positive comment.

11 Infinite Loops

12 Debriefing Techniques Chiji cards/objects – because participants talk about an object rather than themselves, it is less threatening. Also serves as visual representation. – Q’s: Pick one that represents your role/contribution, perspective, challenge, take away …. If you could pick an object to represent the group, which one would it be? Have it represent their experience as a group, the strengths of the group, or something they have achieved together – Mascot – one object to represent the group. Can lead to discussion between consensus and voting.

13 Debriefing Techniques Chiji continued – Create a story representative of how the group communicated, function as a team, resolved conflict etc… Relate the “story” of their experience by lining up four or five cards/objects. Where they were when they arrived, or first came together as a group. Where they “went” as a group. Where they are Going next and/or what they plan to do with the learning – Lay out the cards at transition points between activities and ask the group to come to agreement on three cards that represent three important skills they used in the activity that they think will be useful in upcoming activities

14 Debriefing Techniques Natural objects - Have group members find an object in nature that they can bring back to the group (as long as it doesn’t disrupt nature) and share how it represents them or something they felt or experienced. Post it Notes – fold in half and stick up, select individual ones to share

15 Debriefing Techniques One word – use one word to characterize how the group will conduct itself (pre-activity) and one word to describe the experiences (post- activity) Artwork – picture, sculpture, murals, collages etc to represent the take away

16 Numbers Traditional Q&A – List of Q’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,

17 Debriefing Techniques Pairs – form pairs with each responding to predetermined questions (3 things they learned, what helped them learn, why this is important, and how their newfound can be applied in the future) Journaling – may reform to read excerpts if participant chooses Short readings: 1, 2, 3123

18 Debriefing Techniques Themes – Use interchangeably with several activities

19 Debriefing Techniques Any debriefing techniques not mentioned that you incorporate?

20 Group Input Comic strips Assign questions to students. Collaborate online with blog or cloud document 4 corners – statement from facilitator and participants move to a corner labled as strongly agree, agree, disagree and strongly agree Pick a level of hellison’s model corresponding to group performance Q&A – what did you learn personally? Thumbs up, down or sideways

21 Avoid Pitfalls When Debriefing Telling them what happened Doing all the talking – Experiences are more powerful when organic Timing – too early or too late. A recent point of emphasis has been debriefing during an activity and not necessarily always at the end, “midstream.” Address both positive and concenring developments. Distracting environment (face away, reduce) Only the most verbal participate Use only “buzz words” like communication, teamwork

22 Quick Tips Establish a quiet place away from distractions Take notes throughout the activity – Quotes are powerful b/c that was exactly what was said Try to avoid impressing on them judgments or prejudging the debrief unless you want to – Neutral in body language, word selection Use “stop actions” in the midst of a challenge for groups to stop, look around, and identify what is working. Conversely, what needs to change for the group to be more successful? Allows group members to take mental snapshots of key learning points and better apply them in subsequent activities

23 Resources Jacobson, M. & Ruddy, M. (2004) Open to Outcome: A practical guide for facilitating and teaching. Bethany, OK: Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing. Cain, J., Cummings, M., & Stanchfield J. (2005). A teachable moment: A facilitator’s guide to activities for processing, debriefing, reviewing and reflection. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing.

24 Resources Rohnke, K., & Butler, S. (1995). Quicksilver. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing. Stanchfield, Jennifer. (2009) Tips & tools: The art of experiential group facilitation. Bethany, OK: Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing Simpson, S., Miller D., & Bocher B. (2006). The Processing Pinnacle: An Educator’s Guide to Better Processing. Oklahoma City: Wood ‘N’ Barnes Publishing Processing the Experience, Luckner and Nadler

25 Thanks for Attending Matthew Cummiskey Materials available at Safe trip home!


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