Creative congratulations are active forms of praise and
· To acknowledge the work done or information shared by
groups or individuals.
· To enable all participants in a training session or
meeting to move, so reducing lethargy and aiding continued attention to the
1. Assuming the activity is new ' to the participants,
introduce it to them at the first appropriate point in the session: e.g., after
an activity for getting to know each other. The "congratulations" will show
appreciation for all the participants' contributions to the previous activity.
2. Say: "O.K. Let us show our appreciation for everyone's
participation and sharing about themselves, but rather than just clapping our
hands, we will..." (choose an appropriate "congratulations" from the list of
3. Demonstrate the "congratulations". 4 Ask the participants to do
it with you.
5. If necessary, repeat it to improve the participants' competence
and help them remember it.
6. At the next appropriate point, introduce a different type of
"congratulations" in the same way.
7. The next time "congratulations" is needed, ask the participants
if they would like to suggest their own (but be ready with an alternative in
case they could not think of one).
8. As their repertoire grows, they can choose "congratulations"
they feel are appropriate to the situation. You can also let the presenting
group or individual choose the way in which they would like to be appreciated.
· Has the impact of an energizer, but with "more natural
timing" - so is less disruptive.
· Allows scope for participants and
facilitators to be creative.
· Group bonds may be strengthened.
· Some of the "congratulations" may be difficult for people
with certain disabilities, though many can be adapted.
· The degree of appreciation may not reflect the real value
of the participants' output (i.e., whether they achieved the aim of the task)
especially if participants, rather than the facilitator, choose the
"congratulations". (From experience, it's more likely to reflect "entertainment
· It may restrict spontaneous display of pause.
· Despite the natural timing, "congratulations" can still
disrupt the flow of thought about the topic under consideration.
· The musician's "congratulations"
This has been used both in ALAYKA staff training sessions
and during Community Based Health training in Palawan (Philippines).
1. Stand up. (Though it can be done while sitting if participants
are unable to stand.)
2. Prepare your drum.
Use both hands to draw a large circle in front of you and
perpendicular to your body.
3. Prepare your trombone.
Start with both hands closed and next to your mouth. Then move
your one hand forward and slightly upward from your mouth, opening your hand as
it moves forward.
4. Now, do the "congratulations".
"Boom Tara Tara
Boom Tara Tara
For each "Boom", bang your hands on your drum while saying "Boom"
in a deep voice.
For each "Tara" or "Tarara", hold your trombone near your mouth
with one hand while sliding the other along the trombone (away from your body)
and saying the words in a higher-pitched voice.
· Doughnut and juice
This was introduced by a disabled participant during ALAYKA's
Community Based Rehabilitation training in San Vicente, Palawan, Philippines.
All the participants stood up and each used both hands to draw a
doughnut in front of them. (Their fingers drew the outer edge and their thumbs
the inner one).
Next they each used one hand as though it was a table, and with
the other one, mimed the action of picking up a glass from the table and
drinking the juice. Having replaced the "glass" on the "table" they breathed in
deeply before sighing in a satisfied manner.
The sighing caused much laughter when the facilitator demonstrated
the "congratulations", and even more when all the participants joined in as a
wide variety of noise resulted.
· Combination claps
These are used regularly by ALAYKA for both staff and community
trainings. The tribal clap, train clap and name clap are from Tandaya Foundation
in Samar (Philippines).
These involve clapping and stamping the feet (with or without
other actions), and the group may choose to name them for ease of reference.
In the following charts each vertical line indicates a "beat" of
the same length, C = clap, and S = stamp.
· This is the chart for an ALAYKA
You can design a clap around the rhythm of a phrase or
sentence, e.g. That was a good one.
· You can also vary claps by smacking different parts
of the body, and stamps by using different feet, or both feet together. (If you
are standing, this is a jump).
· Tribal clap: (B = bang on a table, chair, wall,
This can be repeated, if desired.
· Train clap
For this, the participants are in two or three groups. Point to
each group in turn with one hand and signal to them how many times they should
clap by flapping your hand that number of times. Point randomly to the different
groups and vary the number of claps.
The random nature means that the activity requires a lot of
concentration, especially as the speed of the train builds up, and it can be
both energizing and good fun. The person who is being congratulated could be
offered the opportunity to control the train.
· The name clap (The "Yes" and name (e.g., "Melissa")
are spoken softly or loudly as the group chooses)
If the names have less than 3 syllables, a "Yes" takes the place
of the first (or first and second) syllable(s), e.g., "Yes
A pat on the back
This is particularly useful for groups who know each other quite
well, and who are involved in working together towards a common aim. It can be
used with 40 or more people. It is popular with ALAYKA staff during planning
The participants stand in a fairly tight circle, then all turn to
their right and place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front. They
keep hold with their left hand and use their right one to gently pat the person
on the back. Next, they use both hands alternately to pat the person's back and
then use the sides of their hands to gently pummel the person's shoulders.
(The facilitator continues to change to new actions (e.g., a
shoulder squeeze) as it feels right to do so, but not too quickly because
participants usually enjoy this activity best if it is slow and prolonged.)
After several actions, everyone turns to their left and continues
the activity by repeating the previous actions or doing new ones.
Variation: Sometimes, participants copy the action that they feel
being done to them, then the leader periodically changes the action. (If the
group is large, the leader asks the whole group to do one action from the
beginning, so everyone is active, before starting the