A second successful Imagine session in Hung Vuong!
On December 28, 2019, the session began with a small introduction to break the ice, recall the general rules and the goals that were set earlier.
Can there be a better way to start a session than with a little massage? In a circle, everyone placed their hands on their front neighbor’s shoulders and massaged them! After ten minutes, everyone was clearly ready to start!
In pairs, they talked about their hobbies and what they liked to do, with the aim of getting to know each other better, followed by each participant introducing his or her new classmate to the rest of the class.
The Exception Game
Students then participated in the Exception game. Mr. Hoa, the facilitator, explained the rules: everyone would receive a colored sticker on their forehead and, without saying a word, would look for the other students with the same color on their forehead. Two of the students could not find their place, they would go from one group to the other, looking confused, until Mr. Hoa announced the end of the game.
Seeing that most of the students had found their group, the facilitator asked the participants some questions to encourage them to think about what it means to be part of a group: what does it feel like to find someone with whom you have something in common? And what does it feel like to be the “black sheep”, the one who is different? After a long exchange, the students agreed that similarities bind the members of a group together, and keep them together for a long time. They added that it is very nice to be in a group that shares qualities, but even within a group, individuals have different personalities and preferences, and in such cases, one must accept their difference without judging. On the other hand, those who have a unique personality should not be offended because of their difference, since human beings are all unique in the world. There are similarities, but every individual’s personality is unique. In conclusion, students share the idea that everyone must be their own person, live well and try to spread kindness so that everyone receives love and respect from everyone.
The Flower of Qualities
The second activity was that of the Flower of Qualities: students each received a flower and wrote their name on it, then handed their flower to their classmates, and every participant then writes down a quality that they recognized in that person. Once everyone got their flower back, Mr. Hoa asked the students to read what was written on the petals out loud. Throughout the process, the facilitator encouraged students to accept criticism and to be positive, reminding the class to be attentive and share their views on what was being said.
This was a really funny moment of sharing, and the students discovered things about themselves that they hadn’t known. Mr. Hoa took this opportunity to introduce them to the “Johari Window”. According to this concept, the many aspects of an individual’s personality can be divided into four categories: their known characteristics which they show others, characteristics they are aware of but choose not to show, the characteristics others know about them but that they themselves do not know, and lastly, aspects of an individual’s personality that no-one knows.
Mr. Hoa stressed the fact that everyone likes to hear compliments about themselves, and conversely, finds it difficult to accept constructive criticism. However, other people’s opinions about us are helpful to improve an understanding of who we are and to become better people.
The Strange Visitor
Then came the time for the “Strange Visitor” game! The class was divided into 4 small groups, and each person is assigned a number between 1 and 5. Individually and in groups, students write out a question on a piece of paper that will enable them to discover who this “visitor” is. Students labeled number 1 came together to form a team and become the “visitor”. They then answer questions asked by participants in the groups labelled 2, 3, 4 and 5.
Through this activity, students discovered many unexpected aspects about themselves and others. One of the girls, Ngan, was the focus of many questions and a lot of attention: did she have a boyfriend, how did she feel being a girl, what was she studying, etc. There were many very funny questions!
The Tree from Ostend
For their final exercise, the students participated in the most revealing activity of the day: The Tree from Ostend. Mr. Hoa showed a picture of a tree on a screen. The tree had many characters positioned in different places and in certain positions. The goal was for students to choose whichever character best represented them, and to explain why. This activity enables the facilitator to understand participants’ emotions and behaviors, and to provide individual support.
Ly chose the character sitting on the ground, observing the tree: he feels peaceful and comfortable in his environment.
Along the same lines, Loc identified with the character standing with his arms raised, he feels happy and safe. Many students identified with this character and expressed feelings of happiness.
Lastly, they drew a coat of arms that summarized their feelings!
Having had the opportunity to share their feelings about the session, they all enjoyed the activities in this second session which they found rewarding, funny and at the same time relaxing, because they had time to exchange their ideas, opinions and feelings… with friends!
The session ended with a beautiful moment of sharing with delicious fruits and cookies!
On December 26, 2019, the PE&D team organized the second Imagine session at the Nhan Dao school. 25 students participated in the session, taking part in the cooperative games with the goal of encouraging them to discover themselves both individually and collectively. After a refreshing break in the heat of Ho Chi Minh City, the games and sharing were ready to begin!
As a starter, all the participants sang a famous Vietnamese song on the theme of brotherhood, Bon Phuong Troi, before splitting into groups of five to play “cat and mouse.” This game created a friendly atmosphere, and through these interactions students began to feel more comfortable with each other.
The Exception game: what is it like to be part of a group?
We then followed up with the Exception game. The facilitator stuck a colored sticker to the students’ foreheads, after which, without speaking, they had to look for other people with the same color sticker. Groups quickly formed in the room. However, two students – Can and Son – found themselves alone, and the facilitator eventually assigned them to the group closest to them. Everybody then shared tips about the best way to find their group, and were sometimes very creative about it! Some used a color palette to enable others to find their color. Others looked at their reflection on the clock dial. Some joined a random group, and switched to another if their color didn’t match, until they found their own group.
The facilitator then asked the two students who had been left out – Can and Son – how they felt at the end of the game. They said that they felt a little confused and alone, but that the presence of another person without a group had reassured them. The facilitator used this opportunity to discuss the feeling of exclusion, the need to be accepted and the importance of including everyone.
Tuyen – the only girl in the room and the only girl studying information systems management – shared that she sometimes found it difficult to become part of certain groups whose interests were too far from her own. Mr. Hoa reassured her by saying that you don’t have to change just to join a group, and that the important thing is to get to know yourself and accept yourself as you are.
The flower of my qualities: discovering others
After this exercise, students were able to get to know each other better by writing down the qualities of each participant on the petals of a flower. The students in the group were studying different majors and were in different years, so Mr. Hoa started out with the game “Simon says” to break the ice. The students then talked in pairs, asking more personal questions (hobbies, qualities, etc.) so that they could write down this information on the petals of the flowers and introduce themselves to the whole group. Students quickly sympathized, especially boys who share the same passion for video games, rap, sports and YouTube.
During a friendly break, everyone gathered to eat fruit and cookies, sing and chat freely. Students handed the flowers around, so that every participant could add at least one quality to the others.
At the end of this exercise, everyone received their own flower and read aloud what everyone else had written on it. Many students were surprised by the opinion others had of them. Some students were delighted to read aloud the qualities that the other participants had attributed to them, and most also acknowledged that they needed to improve on some points, and were accepting of remarks of a more critical nature.
Mr. Hoa then explained the “Johari’s window” concept to the students. According to this concept, the many aspects of an individual’s personality can be divided into four categories: their known characteristics which they show others, characteristics they are aware of but choose not to show, the characteristics others know about them but that they themselves do not know, and lastly, aspects of an individual’s personality that no-one knows. It is only when a person’s viewpoint matches that of other people that this person is right about himself. The important thing would then be to accept different opinions and work on yourself if necessary.
The Tree of Ostend: knowing yourself
For the third activity in this session, participants were called to examine the Ostend tree (below) and select the character that best reflected their mood of the moment. Mr. Hoa then invited the students to explain their choice individually.
Huu Phuoc chose the second tallest character in the tree, because he felt relaxed and likes to have a view of his surroundings. Tuyen, on the other hand, chose the character sitting on a branch at the top of the tree, and is threatened by another character sawing off that branch. She explained to the group that she had a lot of uncertainty about the future, which made her feel unsafe.
Like Tuyen, Thien Phuoc likes to be high up, but he is very happy to be there. He said he loved group activities and was self-confident. The character with whom he identified observes others: he chose this character because he likes to give advice. Although he is a little shy at first, it usually doesn’t take him very long to fit into a group.
As for Thuc, he recognized himself in the character sitting on the ground. He doesn’t like crowds, so he preferred a relaxed character away from the tree.
Thuan chose the character just below the tree that is helping someone else to climb: he likes to help others and considers himself kind and generous. He wants everyone to succeed, as does the character he chose.
Lastly, the character chosen by Thang is standing on the ground with two hands raised to the sky. He explained that he felt very happy, and pleased with himself, so he identifies with the character that looks at nature and enjoys the fresh wind.
After a short break, the students resumed the activity. Many students made very interesting choices and shared personal feelings: Loi – who chose a character that was falling – confessed to feeling in a state of letting go and acceptance in dealing with life’s events.
At last, everyone was able to express their personal feelings about the activity and write them down on a shield that represented their mood.
Duc shared with the group that he was happy to have been able to participate in the activities and make new friends, but that he sometimes felt useless. Some of the students in the group then teased him by confirming his thoughts, and the facilitator had to remind them to respect each other. Thuc said he enjoyed participating in Imagine sessions, and shared with the group his dream of becoming a professional gamer. Thuan said he was grateful to have the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. He also shared his dream of becoming a singer. Thien Phuc said he felt relaxed throughout the activities. In general, most students enjoyed the opportunity to make friends and share their thoughts.
At the end of the session, Mr. Hoa reminded the participants that it is important for everyone to respect each other and accept differences, with a song to end the session!
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