I had a really interesting and useful experience today where I facilitated a mini-retreat for a group of students today. Essentially, the goal of the retreat was for the students to get to know each other better, and in that same task, to get to know themselves better. I decided to create an agenda based on ideas from Marcia Baxter Magolda’s theory on self-authorship.
After the round of super cheesy get-to-know-you name games, I framed three discussions based on the tenets of self-authorship. The first was for students to draw a timeline of their college experience from application to present. They were to focus on major events, challenges, supporting moments, etc., and discuss the changes they’ve had up to this point. Several students shared very personal stories and how those experiences assisted in the crafting of their being, which I was grateful and appreciative of their sharing.
The second discussion was also framed around the activity of drawing a timeline, but this time it was to be their future. I asked the same questions: How have you changed? How have you been supported? How have you been challenged? The students had some great ideas of the persons they would like to become.
Finally, the third discussion, I asked them to answer the big question: how will you become that person? I explained the usefulness of being intentional in comparison to organic development, and how the idea of intentionality needed to be thought about in order to function. After sharing some creative ideas of how to “do” and “become” the future, we had a closing conversation.
Ultimately, I felt that I had been able to create a supportive environment for the group to talk about themselves and learn a new lens for framing their ideas of self. As my first time facilitating a retreat, I am pleased. Finally, I did all of this in about three hours, so it was an effective use of time and energy.
Tech Break Update – So I’ve been doing great. No e-mail, twitter, or facebook to my phone. I’ve been fantastically focused on my tasks, productive, etc. I do get insecure about what could be going on while I’m out of touch, but that’s not too bad. The next step… perhaps limiting the time I spend on facebook?