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Active Reviewing Tips 2.6   Reviewing in Large Groups

Active Reviewing Tips for Dynamic Experiential Learning
http://reviewing.co.uk
Active Reviewing Tips 2.6   Reviewing in Large Groups
 
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ISSN 1465-8046
 
WELCOME TO NEW READERS especially from South Africa -
where experiential education and training are playing an
increasingly important role in helping people work together to
build new communities in school, work and play.
 
You are receiving this free monthly newsletter either because
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~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S
~ ~ FOR DYNAMIC EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING
~ ~ the free monthly newsletter associated with the
~ ~ 'GUIDE TO ACTIVE REVIEWING' http://reviewing.co.uk
~ ~ Editor: Roger Greenaway roger@reviewing.co.uk
~ ~ Vol. 2.6 June 1999
~ ~ REVIEWING WITH LARGE GROUPS
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REVIEWING = PROCESSING = REFLECTION = DEBRIEFING
 
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CONTENTS (TOP)

~~ CIRCULATION SURGE - Welcome to 66 new readers!
 
Thank you to readers who have been forwarding their copies of
Active Reviewing Tips - or promoting it in other ways. There has
been a rapid growth in readership since the last issue. If you
like what you read, please forward this issue to a friend who
will appreciate receiving it. Thanks! :-)
The last issue of Active Reviewing Tips was more ''theoretical''
than usual. So, as promised, here is a more practical edition
about ...
 
CONTENTS (TOP)

REVIEWING WITH LARGE GROUPS
 
    ISSUES AND SOLUTIONS
 
Discussion-based reviewing works best with small groups.
Small groups of 6-10 people are an ideal size for creating a
supportive climate in which learners can receive individual
attention.
 
If groups are too SMALL discussions may lack range and variety.
If groups are too BIG it is difficult for each individual to
get involved.
 
** So how can you conduct reviews effectively when the
facilitator-learner ratio is 1:20 or 1:30 or higher? **
 
The best solution is to employ (or train) more staff!
 
But what can you do if you don't have enough staff with the right
skills for facilitating small group reviews?
 
Here are some other solutions ...
many of which involve ACTIVE REVIEWING METHODS.
 
Most of these solutions are suitable for both youth and adult
groups.
 
These solutions can also fit a range of programme designs.
 
For example:
the large group may have all done the same activity together, or
they may have done the same activity in separate small groups, or
they may have done different activities in small groups.
 
You can mix and match the following strategies and methods for
reviewing with large groups in any combination you like...
 
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CONTENTS (TOP)

REVIEWING WITH LARGE GROUPS
 
    STRATEGIES AND METHODS
 

INDEPENDENT REVIEWING TASKS
Just as you can give a group a clear briefing for an independent
activity task, so you can give a group a clear briefing for an
independent reviewing task. There is an art to designing
independent reviews just as there is an art to designing
independent activities.
 

WHEN TO ANNOUNCE THE REVIEWING TASK
The reviewing task can be set up in advance so that the briefing
for the task includes the briefing for the review.
Alternatively, the reviewing task can be announced when the
activity task is finished or when the time available for the
activity task has come to an end.
 

HOW TO ANNOUNCE THE REVIEWING TASK
You can give the briefing for the reviewing task:
    - to all groups at the same time
    - one group at a time
    - via one or two representatives from each group during or
after the activity task
    - spoken or via a written brief or using a combination of the
two
 

BRIEFING VIA REPRESENTATIVES
Briefing via representatives is an excellent option if this
system is also used for briefing groups for the tasks. It helps
to give activity tasks and learning tasks equal status and
importance. Briefing via representatives also creates a useful
forum in which questions can be asked, problems can be
anticipated and adjustments can be made.
 

USING OBSERVERS
This is one of many useful strategies that can be set up in
advance.
 
Observers are provided with pen and paper, instant cameras, tape
recorders, video cameras, checklists, shooting scripts or just
good memories.
 
Observations can be fed back during the activity, during activity
breaks or at the end of the activity.
 
During long activities observers can be rotated, or observers may
participate fully in the activity task but are briefed to look
out for specific kinds of behaviour. For example, all may look
out for 'positives' or each may look out for a different aspect
of 'good teamwork'.
 
N.B. If feedback is to be given without a trained facilitator
present, you will probably want observers to focus on positive
behaviours. This may well be something you would choose to do
anyway - if you yourself were managing the review!
See 'reviewing success' at http://reviewing.co.uk/success/
 

INDIVIDUAL REFLECTION (ALONE)
Here are four basic options:
 
SOLO or MAGIC SPOT: with or without questions to ponder, with or
without tasks to do
 
DIARY WRITING: open, structured or scrapbook style - private or
for immediate sharing or for portfolio building
 
QUESTIONNAIRE ANSWERING: to create a 'snapshot' of a state of
mind, to follow a sequenced reflective process, to generate data
for analysis - to generate a personal profile via a scored
inventory or simply to compare answers with others.
 
ART WORK: for a personal record, for personal exploration or for
sharing responses and insights with others
 

INDIVIDUAL REFLECTION (WITH OTHERS)
Participants carry out any of the 'alone' activities listed
above - but with one or more others.
 
The facilitator reviews with the whole group in ways that take
each individual back through their experience of the activity.
 
Guided reflection or watching a video of the activity can be
suitable ways of helping individuals to reflect and (privately)
relive their experiences in large groups.
 
These silent and passive methods should normally be followed with
a more sociable and participatory reviewing activity in twos or
threes or in home groups.
 

USE A TEAM OF FACILITATORS
Use a team of facilitators, each reviewing with a small group.
The team of facilitators can be group members who have been
prepared for this role.
 

STAGGER THE PROGRAMME
Stagger the programme so that half of the group do independent
activities while the other half of the group take part in
facilitated reviewing. This doubles the amount of reviewing that
a facilitator will manage during a programme. It also requires
facilitators who are capable of facilitating events that they
have not directly witnessed. This can be an ideal opportunity for
asking a group to start a review by presenting an action replay
(rehearsed or improvised) of what happened.
 

CO-REVIEWING IN PAIRS (OR THREES)
Set up independent tasks that will take learners through a
partial or complete reviewing process. Three examples:
 
QUESTION TRAIL: pairs follow a trail with a review question at
marker posts along the trail.
 
CHAT CARDS: pairs are given a sequenced stack of chat cards. Each
card is turned over once each person has answered the question or
has chosen to pass.
 
WALK AND TALK is a combination of the above two methods. You will
need a suitable outdoor space. 'Walk and Talk' is best done in
pairs, but pairs can be changed from time to time. A structure
for this involves having question cards spread out on a large
sheet or table, one question per card. Each pair chooses a card
and walks out to the edge of the area (e.g. a large field) with
one person as the questioner. At the edge of the field, the roles
are reversed. This process helps to ensure that the time is
shared equally between each partner. Back at the centre the card
is swapped for a new one. Partners can also be swapped. The
supply of questions can be sequenced (e.g. ''past -future'', or
''me - us - them'', or "I was - I am - I will", or "good -
better - best"). This is easier if the cards are colour coded or
numbered. Alternatively the cards can be self-made by
participants with each card representing individual or shared
learning goals.
 

REVIEWING THROUGHOUT THE LARGE GROUP
Two examples:
 
INVESTIGATORS AND WITNESSES: Set up half the group as
investigators and half as witnesses. Teams of 2 or 3
investigators each have a different question and visit witnesses
to find the answers. To even things up, roles can be reversed at
half time. The first teams of investigators can focus on the
activity experience, the second team of investigators can focus
on learning and the future.
 
QUESTION PAPERS: Large sheets of paper (each with a question) are
scattered around the reviewing area. In the time allowed ask
everyone to visit a certain number of 'question papers' and to
record key points from their discussions. One or two people can
be asked to specialise in each topic. These people remain at the
flipchart for their topic and record key points. Feedback can be
to a plenary session or by everyone touring a display of the
question papers.
 

SHARING EXPERIENCES OR LEARNING THROUGHOUT THE LARGE GROUP
Four examples:
 
DISPLAY: Display flipcharts, pictures, collages, sculptures,
newspaper front pages or other artefacts or souvenirs from
the reviewing session
 
FEEDBACK via DRAMA: 'action replay' (many variations possible)
or a 'learning journey' on the theme of 'past, present and
future'.
 
FEEDBACK via POEMS or SONGS: an entertaining and inspirational
way of sharing experiences - following an independent creative
reviewing task.
 
PLENARY FEEDBACK: Feedback from each subgroup in a plenary
session. This can be a big yawn session unless feedback is
tightly controlled or imaginatively presented. But flashy
presentations alone do not solve the numbers problem - when there
is a lot of experience and learning to share in a short space of
time.
 
4 x 4: Feedback within new subgroups each having one
representative from each of the reviewing subgroups e.g. if a
large group of 50 people have each just reviewed in 5 groups of
10, learning can now be shared across all 5 groups in 10 groups
of 5. So why is it called '4 x 4'? Because I first used this
method in a group of 16 people. Scale it up as you like, but keep
the sharing groups small to encourage sharing of a worthwhile
quality - unless all you want is a sharing of headlines.
 

TIME-KEEPING
If you expect reviewing tasks to be achieved within a certain
time, or if you expect review time to be shared out fairly within
a subgroup, be sure to appoint a timekeeper within each subgroup.
To reconvene large groups be imaginative and original in the
methods you use. That's all I can say. I'll just leave you with
plenty of space to be original!
 

If you can offer more ideas about reviewing with large groups
please write to roger@reviewing.co.uk
 
If you are interested in training workshops or more resources
about active and creative reviewing please write to
roger@reviewing.co.uk
 
Many of the methods described in the Online Guide to Active
Reviewing at http://reviewing.co.uk can be readily adapted for
use in large groups. The strategies described above will help you
to make suitable adaptations. Or get in touch if you want more
ideas or advice: roger@reviewing.co.uk
 
AND FINALLY ...
In the interests of 'balance' perhaps the next issue of Active
Reviewing Tips will be about less remote reviewing methods that
involve you more closely in the reviewing process. But what
matters most is what learners are doing - not what you are doing.
 
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CONTENTS (TOP)

~ ~ READER SURVEY RESULTS
 
Thanks for those who responded. There was a clear (though not
unanimous) preference for the AEIOU sequence. If you missed (or
want reminding about) the last issue, you may like to know that
AEIOU stands for:
 
Actions ~ Experiences ~ Insights ~ Opportunities ~ Undertakings
 
I have since come across a few more reviewing/learning
sequences - including one by John Heron that provides the most
substantial theory base I have yet discovered for active and
creative reviewing. It is certainly more substantial, holistic
and practical than Kolb's much quoted theory of experiential
learning. Look out for a review of John Heron's Complete
Facilitator's Handbook in a future issue of Active Reviewing
Tips!
 
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CONTENTS (TOP)

~ ~ THERAPY LINKS
 
Future issues of Active Reviewing Tips will return to the theme
of adapting and importing practical ideas from creative arts
therapies. Meanwhile, you might find this site a useful
place to explore some interesting connections ...
 
The National Expressive Therapy Association
News Items About Expressive Therapy
http://www.geocities.com/SoHo/Museum/5408/news.html
 
Let me know what you find - especially if you think your
discoveries will interest other readers. Write to
roger@reviewing.co.uk
 
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CONTENTS (TOP)

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This can be a permanent or flexible arrangement with two or three
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This is a great opportunity to work with a small exciting,
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CONTENTS (TOP)

~ ~ YOUR ACTIVE REVIEWING TIPS
If you would like to write in on any ''reviewing'' topic please
send your message to roger@reviewing.co.uk (for private
messages) or to roger@reviewing.co.uk (for publication).
If there is any doubt, I will always contact you to ask your
permission before publishing anything you write.
 

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