Day 4

A little tired from the intercultural night yesterday, we started our last day in Laguna (Lagu-na, Lagu-na, Lagu-na…) with an introduction about assertive communication. We differentiated between a passive and aggressive way of speaking and tested how a conversation including these types of communication would end. It was obvious that it’s not helpful to use either one, but instead to try and talk assertively. This technique was applied as well and shown in a improvised conflict-discussion.

“I really liked the assertive/aggressive lection because I really found myself as part in that.”

Achilleas, Greece

After a small break everybody had to draw a paper with a role, reflecting on one type of communication. In pairs, a made-up situation had to be debated while talking out of your role perspective. It showed how our style of communication affects the outcome of conversations and some participants expressed how it was educative to take on a persona that is opposite to their main way of communicating.

“It was really interesting to take the position of a different role that you might normally not take. For example I have never been “Mary Poppins” (a role that talks from a motherly, caring perspective)

Georgi, Bulgaria

After a nice Lasagna-Lunch it was time for a round of improv. Some participants had expressed their wish to do more theatre in the midterm-evaluation so the facilitators decided to connect our topic to that. We had different rounds with more and more elements of acting, such as statues, speech and movement. It was prohibited to ask your improv partner questions and you had to adapt to the situation. This reflected on the possibility to adapt to others needs and the difficulty of solving an unforeseen conflict.

“I loved the improv, very fun! I liked the way it built up from basic to more complex.”

Dough, Ireland

The last part of the workday was spent roleplaying a personal conflict of one of the participants to mirror the actions of all people involved in the situation and to get into contact with our emotions.

To end the day and our time here we had the “Beads-Ceremony”. Everybody got three beads and one special one to give to a person they built a connection with or they felt grateful for.

“I’m going to tell my organization about the beads and to do the same in every single future project. It’s a nice little gift.”

Achilleas, Greece

Day 3

Many thoughts had to be moved around during the past few days of “DMSR”. To get our body on to that same level, we started the day off with a dance session. This helped the group to get energized and ready for the next theoretical input: The six thinking hats.

This technique, applied to group discussions, helps us making decisions by using all of our resources, such as Emotions (red hat), Creativity (green hat) or basic facts (white hat). Of course the participants were offered the chance to immediately try out this strategy with a present conflict. Everybody was able to take whatever hat they felt was fitting and express their thoughts. By using this method we were able to identify different standpoints and to come to a reasonable agreement on all of our discussed conflicts.

“I think it’s a useful tool to make group decisions because we are used to speaking with our red hat, our emotions. We need to have all hats in front of us to see the different options and to be aware of where our words are coming from.”

Evina, Greece

In the second half of the day we went back to networking and expressing ideas and plans for future projects that could possibly involve some or all of the attending organizations. We had the chance to learn even more about each other’s activities. Many propositions were made and it’s going to be exciting to see what comes out of them.

Next step was the Midterm-Evaluation. Each group came together to share their opinion on topics like the workshop, the hotel, the schedule and the food. Afterwards the results were restated for the facilitators.

In order to prepare for the intercultural night, we separated into groups based on our country. In these groups we prepared two sketches. One, showing the stereotypes of another country, which had been selected beforehand and two, presenting our own country the way we feel it is. With all preparations done, the sketches made a full circle and after each stereotypical play, the sketch representing the targeted countries “reality” was performed. This was followed by a discussion about similarities and differences in the presentations.

“It is a nice thing, because we get familiar with many cultures, and we saw some typical stereotypes. We made many connections but I think the best part was that we had a lot of fun.“

Iliyan, Gerogia

Dinner tonight was complemented by traditional foods from different countries and the night ended in the whole group learning and practicing bulgarian and greek folk dances.

“The food was perfect! I really liked it, I took two pieces.”

Andrea, Italy

Day 2

As soon as we opened our eyes this morning, it was time to close them again.

Our first activity today was a blindfolded walk to finish up the rest of the theory from yesterday and to demonstrate the natural intelligence. The participants were asked to come outside and then had to walk blindly in three groups, each led by a facilitator who also encouraged them to touch the surrounding objects, e.g. a wall or a branch or the wet grass.

“I never fully let myself go and I don’t experience things where I’m not in control and I really enjoyed that. I never normally put so much trust in people.”

Ali, Ireland

All the participants were surprised by their environment when they were asked to take off their blindfolds and it was interesting for us to see how different we’re perceiving our surroundings when we can’t use our vision.

To finish up to topic of “Multiple Intelligences”, we included theatre into our practice. The group was asked to decide on which intelligence is most present in them and to act according to their chosen intelligence. We divided the group into two and each one had a representative for every Intelligence. Then a conflict was shared with the “panel of wise men and women” and they were asked to give advice.

“For me it was difficult to attach my intelligence to the problem.”

Nefeli, Greece

After lunch, all participants got the chance to present their organizations for networking purposes. We plan on finishing this action tomorrow. Some people shared that this activity gives them a chance of learning more about other, and even their own organizations.

The last session of the day focused on our “Inner Gang”. This was brought closer to us through getting creative and making an art piece based on a conflict in our lives, where we could distinguish between the different voices in our head – “the Inner Gang”.

“I really liked it. It was a way of giving a body to my fears and thoughts.”

Vassia, Greece

After looking at the results it was time for a game visualizing the theory even further. A volunteer had to choose two to four people to form his/her inner gang and they were given an imaginary conflict. With this, they improvised a scene in which the voices had to keep talking from their point of view.

“I found it really funny with the inner voices of mothers and fathers!”

Jorge, Spain

The Highlight of the day was different for everyone. Lunch was apparently really good today, since it involved bacon (but you had to be fast to get a piece). Others enjoyed listening to nature and experiencing the outside clearer than ever. The rest liked spending time with the other participants the most.   

Day 1

Who are you?
You have three minutes to tell your group who you are, but without telling them about what you do and who your surround yourself with.
This challenging task was the first of many, this beautiful February day in Laguna de Cameros. We’re here on this 6-day training course to learn about “Decision making and self-reprocessing” (DMSR). The group consists of participants from Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Ireland and Spain, which is where we are and whose group is facilitating this event. The shared objective is to get to know ourselves  better and to build connections with other innovative groups all over Europe.
Today was the first full day and we started by playing some games to warm up our body and mind and to get-to-know each other.

“It was difficult to play the games but it was a nice way of breaking the ice.”

Dimitrios, Greece

One special activity we did was supposed to build trust between the participants and to bring the group closer together. This outcome was important to us because we needed the group to trust each other to be able to enjoy and learn and fully experience all activities of the next week. We achieved this, by giving instructions to the whole group, while they were walking in silence around the room. The instructions were for example, to stop when making eye contact and to just look the person in front of you in the eyes and feel the sensations within yourself. That simple form of contact later evolved into letting yourself fall down, trusting for the group to catch you.

“Our deepest feelings are inside and I really loved this exercise because it helped us build trust.”

Nour, Italy    

Next was lunch. The food this week will be vegetarian, much to the dislike of some participants. But this disappointment moves into the background when you look at the beautiful hotel we’re staying in and the nice people working here.
During the afternoon we focused on Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences. The topic was easily understandable due to the activities and games connected to them, which immediately transformed the presentation into practice.

“The games combined theory and action and that was really nice.”

Dimitrios, Greece

The funniest moment of the day took place during a game we played to explore the “kinaesthetic intelligence”. It involved the group splitting into pairs where we had to build sculptures of our partners according to a certain topic. This ended up in one of the participants laying on his stomach with his butt stuck up into the air for 10 minutes.

“One guy being a caterpillar definitely was the funniest thing today.”

Laura, Spain