This week’s session was about communication skills, how we communicate with people and how we can improve communication. We had some new mums and we began by recapping on the alien icebreaker, and how we communicate when we use that icebreaker. The idea is that you pass an imaginary alien around the room, and react to it with your facial expressions and posture to communicate what the alien looks like.
The girls all have a variety of reactions and two of them demonstrated passing the alien around to begin discussing ways we communicate physically as well as verbally.
The next activity was to write down a variety of emotions. We had excited, elated, exhilarated! Then fold them up and in small groups. Mums and girls took it in turns to read a section of text in that emotion. The rest of the group had to guess what kind of emotion this was. The text we used was extracts from Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.
We had some group feedback on this task with girls showing how well they could convey emotions through their tone of voice and body language and the other groups guessing. We then watched a clip of poet Grace Nichols reading her poem Hurricane Hits England.
While watching this I asked the girls and Mums to think about what was good about her reading that made her easy to listen to. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to watch the second poem, or a different performance poet, to discuss contrasting styles of communicating and which we might prefer.
This was interesting because the girls had very different reactions to the poem; one group spoke about finding her reading inspirational and brave, another group spoke about her reading technique and how she made a lot of eye contact and spoke slowly and clearly. The last group didn’t enjoy that the poem didn’t rhyme! This lead on to some discussion of different ways of writing poetry.
They also felt like maybe she was scared and nervous about reading in front of people, which was a good moment to reflect on how when we created mantras in a past session some of them were to do with dealing with nerves around public speaking, ‘Just do it’, ‘Don’t be afraid’. You can see our other mantras.
Our last task was the consistent reflection sheets which we do at the end of every session. I thought I’d include an example of one reflection sheet as this is a good time to reflect on the learning aims of the session.
- Have a system to distribute the reflection sheet pack at the end of the session so that time isn’t wasted matching the pack with the person, and keep this routine consistent.
- Try to keep the mums involved in group tasks and think of ways to welcome late comers to the session. For example, take a moment out of the session to welcome them to the group.