My Path Up to Here
On a blank sheet of paper, everyone draws an arrow that illustrates the course of their life, “my path up to here”, and marks important events on this timeline. Time for drawing is up to five minutes. Then, in the plenary session, each person presents their “arrow”, not in any particular order, but as people feel ready.
Materials: Paper and pencils
It is very important to do this exercise in silence, without whispering and chatting in the group, and without external distracting noises. The person presenting should be given undivided attention. The exercise encourages trustbuilding in the group, although it may be too demanding for some participants at the very start of the training. It is important for the training team to participate in the exercise and get involved in the process of getting to know each other. It is best for someone from the training team to present their journey first in order to set an example for others. The exercise enables people to get to know each other better and encourages empathy, listening to and respecting each other. Often this exercise will go over the time allotted, which can be tiring on the first day of the training, especially if people are not used to listening carefully to twenty other people presenting (which is often the case), because this is demanding and people tend to get tired after a while. It is, therefore, very important that this exercise be skilfully moderated, with sensitivity for people and their stories (without interrupting, but discreetly letting the speaker know his or her time has run out). The moderation is also important in terms of time and the pace of the workshop. At the start of the exercise, the participants should be made aware of the time per person and the total time available for the exercise and they should be informed about the (discreet) signal the moderator will give them when their time is running out.