Getting to Know Your Participants

You may be asked to do a workshop for teachers where you do not know their skill levels or expectations. I find that I am not as successful as I could be if the participants’ skills and attitudes about comfort are at many different levels. There are several ways you can assess the group and pair people with different abilities together so the workshop works.

  • Ask participants to use their fists where they hold up the number of fingers that represents where they are: fist means they are scared to death about this workshop and five fingers means they could teach the class.
  • Use five different color post-its and ask them to choose which color best represents them. Write the legend on the whiteboard: i.e. yellow means they are scared to death, pink means they are new to the concept but anxious to learn, and so on. Then have them write their expectations on the post-it with their name.

You may have other methods to quickly assess your participants. After each person has identified where they are in relation to the topic of the workshop, ask them to find a partner: someone who is scared to death with someone who is more comfortable. Not only do you now have an idea of who your participants are, but now they get to know and help each other.

Submitted by:Barbara Bray

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