Currently I have the opportunity to teach at the college level - pre-service physical education teachers learning about adventure education. It took me a couple semesters to hone in on a good way to present adventure-based programming to my students for the first time - I call it F.U.N. planning.
F is for "fit." Once we know the objectives of our incoming group what activities can I use to fit into these objectives - what activities will bring out the learnings related to the objectives?
U is for "understand." In what way do I plan to help my participants understand the tasks I'm asking them to do. Most of my students are still learning about different ways to present information to others. Here is an overview of learning styles that will provide some ideas about presenting information. The more ways we can present information the more we can connect with our participants. We also might even what to frontload an activity in order to open the door to the possible learning that might occur. (Here is the idea of front loading from The Institute for Experiential Education - the group that brought us the Chiji Cards.)
I tell my students, and I believe this, that creative planning for understanding is the most important part of programming and lesson development. Without good planning at this stage you leave the door open for misinterpretation and off task behaviors.
N is for "notice." During the process of the activity or after the activity how do you plan to get your participants to notice the learnings you were aiming for with the activities you programmed? In adventure-baed education practices this is typically know as processing, reflection, debriefing, or reviewing (for tons of great ideas see the Active Reviewing site from Roger Greenaway). In short, how much time will you spend and what will you do to get your participants to notice what just happened to them during an activity. Some facilitators ask directed questions, others provide prop-based reflection (e.g., using Chiji Cards), others use journaling prompts or simply let the "mountain speak for itself" - allowing the participants to reflect internally about the meaning of current event. However you do it, be sure to do it!!
What programming tips can you pass along? Leave a comment for us.
All the best,
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Dr. Chris Cavert is an internationally known author, speaker, and trainer in the area of adventure-based activity programming and its relation to community and pro-social behavior development.
This blog is a space for hands-on programable fun - energetic activities and ideas that can be used as a means to bring people together; activities and ideas we as educators can add to our social development curriculums.