Cover Image
close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998, 226 pages)
View the document(introduction...)
Open this folder and view contentsHow was this user's guide to creative training produced?
View the documentIt came one night...
Open this folder and view contentsBasic facilitation skills
Open this folder and view contentsTraining needs assessment
View the documentWII-FM (what's in it for me?)
Open this folder and view contentsEvaluation techniques
Open this folder and view contentsEnergizers
View the documentForming groups
View the documentCreative congratulations
View the documentRelaxers
Open this folder and view contentsMood setting exercises
Open this folder and view contentsLectures
View the documentMind mapping
View the documentCreative use of overhead projectors
View the documentSlide/photo presentations
View the documentVisual spicers
View the documentPosters as problem-posing materials
Open this folder and view contentsDrawing and chalk talk
Open this folder and view contentsSelf-expression through pictures
View the documentBody language
View the documentVisual gestural communication
View the documentShadow plays
View the documentEasy puppets
View the documentBasic theater skills
View the documentRole play
View the documentAnimated comics role play activity
View the documentFolkstorytelling: Stories come alive!
View the documentOral testimonies
View the documentLifeline
View the documentTimelines
View the documentMap-making
Open this folder and view contentsMaking and using case studies
View the documentAction research
Open this folder and view contentsField trips
Open this folder and view contentsPhysical activities as educational tools
Open this folder and view contentsGames
View the documentContact organizations
View the documentWorkshop participants
View the documentWorkshop production staff


Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) enables men and women to work alongside people in poorer countries in order to share skills, build capabilities and promote international understanding and action, in pursuit of a more equitable world.


The International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) is a non-profit, non-government organization that aims to improve the quality of lives of the rural poor in developing countries through rural reconstruction: a sustainable, integrated, people-centered development strategy generated through practical field experiences.


Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE) is a non-government organization that aims to enrich the practice of popular education in ways that promote creative and democratic participation in the movement towards popular empowerment. Its methods focus mainly on popular participation: the active involvement of learners in an evocative and informative process.


This publication is not copyrighted. We encourage the translation, adaptation and copying of materials for non-commercial use, provided an acknowledgment to the three organizations is included.

Correct citation:

VSO, IIRR and PEPE. 1998. Creative Training: a user's guide. Voluntary Service Overseas, Quezon City, Philippines; International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite, Philippines; and Popular Education for People's Empowerment, Quezon City, Philippines.

Published 1998 by VSO-Philippines
7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes
West Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines

Postal address:

PO Box 2440

QC Central PO

1164 Quezon City, Philippines

Tel/fax: 02 4262761


Printed by Paperchase Print Services, Quezon City, Philippines

ISBN: 0-942717-89-9


This manual was produced through a workshop at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) from 28 February - 07 March 1998. The workshop was a joint project of Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO), International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) and Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE).

The 16 participants from non-government organizations (NGOs) and academic institutions worked closely with workshop organizers and an IIRR production team of artists and desktop publishing staff.

Workshop objectives

The workshop had the following objectives:

· To produce a publication on creative training techniques that can easily be translated into local media and languages and tailored for specific training purposes.

· To expose participants to a consultative and participatory process of producing useful information on education methods.

· To maximize participation and harness the experiences, interdisciplinary knowledge and creative styles of a diverse group of participants and organizers.


The workshop process

The workshop used a process pioneered by IIRR. The process has been used to produce information kits in a range of topics, specially those related to agriculture and natural resources management. The whole process was guided by IIRR with the cooperation of a steering committee formed primarily to coordinate the activities.

In November 1997, a meeting was called by VSO to talk about the project. The meeting was attended by representatives from WESAMAR, VSO, PEPE and IIRR. The focus of the publication was identified and a list of topics developed. From that group, the members of the steering committee were also identified, based on those who would be willing to be part of the organizing of the activities.

The steering committee identified resource persons based on the range of topics listed down. They also pegged the dates for the workshop. Invitation letters were sent out, asking the participants about their availability and their willingness to prepare a manuscript on a certain topic for presentation in the workshop. Based on their responses, the steering committee wrote back to the participants confirming their participation with guidelines on how to develop the manuscripts. The participants were asked to submit an outline of their papers following these guidelines.

During the workshop itself on February 28 -March 07, 1998, each writer-participant presented his or her first draft using overhead transparencies of each page. Copies of each draft were distributed to the other participants The participants critiqued the draft and suggested revisions.

After the first presentation, an editor-artist team helped the author revise and edit the draft based on the suggestions from the floor and draw illustrations to accompany the text. Every writer was assigned as editor for other participants' drafts. The edited draft and artwork were then desktop published to come up with a second draft.


Each participant then presented his or her revised draft to the group for a second time. Again, the other participants critiqued and suggested revisions. After the presentation, the editors, artists and desktop publishing staff again helped the author revise and develop the third draft. Toward the end of the workshop, the third draft was made available to the participants for final comments and revisions.

During the course of the workshop, there were special sessions to discuss the theme for the publication, the grouping or the order in which the activity sheets will appear in the publication, ideas for the cover and of course the alien that the participants agreed to introduce each topic. The workshop also allowed time for the participants' to conduct some of the creative methods in the publication, for example, the energizers, mood setters and WII-FM (What's in it for me?) which dealt with everyone's motivation for joining the workshop.

The workshop allowed inputs from all participants to be incorporated, taking advantage of the diverse experience and expertise of all present. The concentration of resource persons in one place and at one time enabled materials to be produced more quickly than is typical for similar publications. And the sharing of experiences among participants allowed the development of networks that will hopefully continue to be fruitful long into the future and lead to concrete follow-up activities in the organizations concerned.


It came one night...

A Circus.

With performers gathered from the farthest parts of the Philippines - from Mindanao in the south to the Cordillera in the north, with a big troupe from Cavite itself. We had acrobatic feats on the photocopier, juggling, balancing acts, custard pie throwing, and some healthy whip cracking to keep chaos at bay. Traditional distinctions between 'formal' and 'non-formal' education were thrown aside with gay abandon right from the start - creative trainings can happen any time, any place, anywhere.

The writers took to the stage, and then as though it were not challenge enough to put their transparencies the right way round on the OHP had to actually bellow out the activity sheet word by word. Who will ever forget that fearful moment when the moderator cheerily says, 'Um, any comments or clarifications?', and everyone fights for the mike to get in the first blow. Great stoicism is needed at this point. Bursting into tears or foot stamping is considered bad form; instead we learn to nod solemnly, say 'Good point' (even if muttering under our breaths - 'pedantic toad'), and dutifully mark comments down in red ink. Fifteen, twenty minutes or an hour later... the writer staggers from the stage into the arms of the editor, clutching a bloodied draft, and a whole heap of new ideas to put into the activity sheet. By the time these activity sheets came together in our book, they were no longer an individual endeavor, nor even a sequinned double act, but a group act riding proud on a one-wheeled bicycle.

The beauty of it all was we saw the book forming before our eyes - artists, lay out, logistics and administration people, writers, and assorted nutters all charging around with a frenzied look in their eyes and clutching pieces of paper, artworks, pens, disks and tufts of hair. There were the odd times when someone charged off in a different direction, making a break for the border, sobbing gently. They didn't get far before they were dragged back by the campus tiger... and when they were shown second and third drafts, now cunningly illustrated and elegantly laid out, they cheered up. What greater pleasure can there be than to see the whole process, to no longer be alienated from the means of production?

And speaking of aliens...

After crashing into the coconut tree, the alien arrived here as a stranger in our midst - picked partly because it had the enviable ability to rise above gender, culture, nationality and class, so offending nobody, and partly because the best educators are those who look at things as though they've never seen them before - every day is a new planet. As The Alien With No Name gamefully tried out all our activities, its presence and personality grew until we began to wonder if we should put out an extra breakfast tray in the mornings.


And speaking of breakfast...

This is not a recipe book, but merely a selection of appetizers, or pulutan as we say in the Philippines - drawn from our actual experiences - to get your creative juices going. Extract, but don't forget to enrich with your own ideas. If you fall flat on your face when trying out any of these activities, do feel free to send us a rude letter, but don't give up; just drag yourself back off the floor. Creative training is about challenging the old power relationships - knocking the educator off their high wire to join the milling crowd below... and what better way to do this than for you - as an educator - to make a complete fool of yourself?

Send in the clowns.



Facilitation skills are a basic requirement for a trainer to ensure active participation and meaningful exchanges during trainings or workshops.

Who is a Facilitator?

A facilitator:

· Ensures the effective flow of communication within a group so that the participants can share information and arrive at decisions.

· Poses problems and encourages group analysis.

· Provokes people to think critically and motivates them towards action.

· Does not change or ignore any decisions reached by the participants through consensus.

· Is sensitive, both to the verbal and non-verbal communications that occur in the group.

· Is sensitive to the feelings, attitudes, culture, interests and any hidden agenda that may be present in a group.


To resolve conflict, a facilitator should be able to sense the ADI, where

A is for Agreement
D is for Disagreement
I is for Irrelevance


Agreements should be explored, disagreements respected and any irrelevances identified so that the focus will be on reaching an agreement. Exploring Ds can also be explored to widen the A.

A facilitator should be like a sponge

An effective way of learning facilitation skills is through observing how effective facilitators handle a group in a certain activity. A good facilitator is like a sponge. They are never content with the skills and knowledge they have, and are aware that their capacity for learning is endless.

In keeping with this sponge image, effective facilitators learn from everything. In each course they conduct, they gain new insights and apply these to the next course based on their understanding.


When observing effective facilitators, take note of the following questions:

· What are the facilitators' styles of facilitation?
· How effective are these styles?
· How do they handle their participants?
· How do the participants respond to them?
· What are their strengths and weaknesses?

There are no exact formulas for effective facilitation. More important than having the capacity to liven up the group is to be able to provide a structure within which the group can discuss the agenda in a productive manner.

10 handy tips

1. Grasp firmly

Have a good grip over the subject matter being tackled. As a facilitator, you should determine the direction and flow of the discussion. Always be prepared. Have a contingency plan up your sleeve, e.g., in cases where your invited guest speakers do not turn up, have a plan B.


2. Be open

Encourage an atmosphere conducive to learning and sharing of ideas and where everyone feels welcome and important. Facilitation is like building a team where everyone has something to share and learn. A facilitator should be open and sincere.


3. Watch for the point

By encouraging others to share and participate, the range of discussion may expand and deepen. Without a good grasp of the subject, the discussion may get watered-down and lose track. You should see the various points, the pros and cons, the "what ifs" and other considerations. In the end, you should be able to summarize the discussion.


4. Know your limits

Know your own limitations and those of your participants. Have an idea of what is achievable and practical and what is not.


5. Learn how to count

Be aware of how many participants are responding, how many are sleepy, how frequently they leave the hall and how many are no longer listening. This can help you decide whether it is time to change or adjust the discussion.


6. Watch your wrist

Effective management of time is a skill and an attitude you should possess. Time is subjective. A too tight or rigid timetable would make a discussion seem like a military drill. On the other hand, too lax and liberal in handling the session would give the discussion the feel of a drinking party!


7. Have an artist's touch

Creative approaches and techniques encourage participation. Remember, you do not have to be skilled in theater, drawing, etc. Sometimes, providing crayons to participants and encouraging them to express their answers through simple sketches is enough to ensure participation. As a facilitator, you are an artist of compassion and if you are really committed to motivating the community to change, you are also an artist of passion.


8. Learn the traffic signals

As an effective facilitator, you must know when to stop, wait a while and go. You should be able to stop, look and listen throughout the discussion. Remember a polite traffic enforcer is well liked by the public.


9. Learn how to salute (learn how to respect and appreciate)

Remember to learn respect and the ability to recognize everybody's contributions. Practise humility; as a facilitator you do not have the solutions, they come from the participants.


10. Know your left and right (recognize your strong and weak points)

After every seminar, meeting or training, you should assess or evaluate. Whether in a formal or informal setting, quantitative or qualitative, oral or written, feedback should be gathered. In doing this, a facilitator is able to tell what parts of the training were successful. There is no perfect score in facilitation. There is always room for improvement.


There is no best way in facilitation, but blending and using these handy tips could help you emerge as a good facilitator.


The Training Needs Assessment (TNA) is a valuable tool in knowing participants even before the training begins. It gives the trainer foreknowledge on what topics need to be discussed and how they should be handled based on the characteristics of the participants. An effective TNA facilitates a learner-centered training and builds on the experiences and knowledge of the participants.

The TNA also provides useful data that can be used to monitor the growth of a particular participant or community during or after any training.



The TNA identifies the existing knowledge, skills and attitudes of participants, in order to surface their training needs:

I. Information

· What sort of information do the participants know? This could cover problems or issues in the community or the whole country.

· What else do participants need to know to further their understanding of the problem or issue?


II. Skills

· What are the current capabilities, skills, strengths and weaknesses of the participants?

· What further skills do they need to develop?

III. Change in attitudes

· What are the attitudes of the participants towards issues and problems, and what are the norms and traditions that have formed these attitudes?

· Are these the kind of attitudes that can help them in their work and lives? If not, can these be changed?

These three types of training needs could either come from the individual participant or from the organization they come from. Moreover, the three training needs have two different levels - the short-term needs and the long-term needs.


· workshop questions or questionnaires
· marker pens or chalk
· pencil and paper
· tape recorders
· manila paper
· blank tapes
· blackboard or whiteboard (as available)

Suggested approach

1. Preparing the questions

Prepare a list of questions that cover the three areas of concern. These questions should be concise and to the point. Aside from the basic personal information, following are some examples of TNA questions that you may want to ask the participants. (Note: They are not all relevant to all situations.)

· What are the problems and issues in your community? Explain them.

· What is the community doing to respond to such problems?

· As a member of the community, what is your role in responding to such problems?

· Have you ever been a member of a particular local, national or government organization? What was your position?

· What are your strengths and weaknesses when working with an organization?

2. Data gathering

After preparing the questions, the next step is to get answers. The following are some of the commonly used methods in gathering data:

· Interview

This method encourages each respondent to answer questions exhaustively, thus ensuring the accuracy of the training needs analysis. However, conducting interviews entails a lot of workforce, resources and time.



· Be careful not to raise expectations. Inform the community what the data is for.

· Learn how to handle distractions during interview. In some cases, non-interviewees may linger around or butt into conversations If necessary, move to a more private place.

· Group discussion/workshop

Aside from being an effective method in bringing out needed data, the group discussion helps build rapport among participants and facilitators before the actual training. For the facilitator, this is an opportunity to get to know the participants - who among them are outspoken and who needs more encouragement. This familiarity with participants allows the facilitator to handle the exchanges during training more effectively.

One limitation of this method is the additional time and resource in gathering all the participants in one venue.


· Filling up TNA questionnaires

Sending out questionnaires is probably the simplest and the fastest method for gathering data from the participants. However, great care is needed in formulating appropriate questions.


Common problems in using questionnaires are:

· inadequate or at times wrong answers given to the questions being asked;
· not many people are returning the questionnaires;
· unsuitable for people with limited literacy.

3. Analyzing the participants' training needs

The final step in training needs assessment is the collation, documentation and analysis of the data gathered. The result determines what specific topics you should give special attention to, what dialect or language should be used, what and how many visual aids are needed, how long each session should last, etc. In short, the result of the TNA will determine how the training will be handled - both in content and process.

One of the simplest tools for collating TNA results is to use a matrix or table (see example at the end of this activity sheet).

You can also use a descriptive way of collating TNA results by looking for common themes in the responses and using these to generate topics for the training. Some guide questions are the following:

· What are the common experiences of the participants?

· What issues or themes do they want to study?

· Why pursue such topics, how do they relate to what participants are doing?

· How do participants perceive issues or concerns? What possible frameworks do they have and want to enrich?

· What activities would help them reflect individually? together?

· What atmosphere inhibits them from speaking or sharing their thoughts?

How people learn

If we listen 10 the information, we re member only 20% of what we hear.


If we only look at information, we remember about 30%.


It we combine listening and looking, we remember about 50%


If we also talk what we hear and read, then we remember 70%


But, best of all if we also use what we learned, then we remember 90% of it.


The TNA can generate topics that people will be motivated to learn about and apply in their everyday life. Discussing themes far from participant's realities can give information but may not enhance what they are doing. Such trainings may end up as a waste of scarce resources.

Likewise, the TNA gives hints on appropriate training approaches and methods for a particular set of participants. Participants have different learning styles. Choose creative methods that are enjoyable, participatory and more importantly, able to provoke critical thinking.

After the TNA has been collated, analyzed and documented, make a system of filing or storing the data so that when it is needed in the future, it is readily available.


TNA TABULATION of a few participants' responses to a community popular education training-workshop held in Cavite, Philippines.

Name of participant and personal background

Economic issues in the community and how s/he engages in such activities

Political issues in the community and his/her involvement

Appreciation of community cultural beliefs and systems and own perceptions

Suggestions for effective training (factors that will encourage participation)


Community health worker, high school graduate, 28 yrs old....

Malnutrition due to poverty

Inefficiency of government units in extending health services

Bahala na (come-what-may) attitude of both families and government worsens the problem

Approachable facilitators and co-participants

Workshops and direct to the point lectures


Fisherfolk, elementary graduate, 50 yrs old...

Illegal fishing due to dwindling catch

Corruption of law enforcers

Filipinos tend to use "palakasan" (patronage) and bribery to skirt around the law.

Action songs, discussion and lectures


Community health worker, high school graduate, 45 yrs old...

Need for post-harvest fishing facilities to provide more income

Lack of infrastructures and projects due to diversion of government funds

Lack of dedication and service in government

Any method that will not make us sleepy.

Friendly trainers and "classmates"

WII-FM (what's in it for me?)

· 20 to 30 participants

· 30 minutes to 1 hour

WII-FM stands for "What's in it for me?" This is based on the principle that a motivated person performs better. WII-FM involves creating interest in what one is learning by answering the questions "What's my personal stake or interest in this activity?" "What benefit will I get from this activity?" and "How can I use this in my everyday life." This can be used before, in the middle and after a training activity.



· To create interest and to get participants motivated to take part in an activity.
· To elicit participants' expectations.
· To gain participants' commitment for an activity.

Suggested approach

1. Let participants reflect on the questions "What is my personal stake or interest in this activity? "What benefit will I get from this activity?" and "How can I use this in my everyday life?"

2. Ask the participants to write down their responses on paper and display them for everyone to see.

3. Ask each participant to choose one response that touches her/him most. (Ask participants not to choose their own output.)

4. Get the participants to share and explain their choices. Probe each person's choice until it has been explored in depth and deeper personal motivations surface. Record the responses on manila paper for easy summary so that participants can refer back to them later for inspiration.

5. Together with the participants, sum up the reasons given and express them as the group's objectives. Link it to the over-all training objective.


If a participant chooses "to enrich my experience," the facilitator asks, "How will you benefit from enriching your experience?" "Why is it important to you?"


· After the sharing, lead a discussion on "How could the training help the group realize their objectives in terms of the content, facilitator, participants' involvement, venue, etc. Followed this up with a leveling off of expectations.

· Objects can be used (from the immediate surroundings) to symbolize their motivations. Participants explain what the objects mean to them.


Guard against the tendency of some participants or facilitators to manipulate the discussion.


· The participants have analyzed what motivates them.

· Participants become active learners.


The cartoons below show a part of what happened when the WII-FM technique was used to elicit the personal motives of the participants for attending the workshop to produce this manual done halfway through the workshop. During the subsequent discussions, the following common aims were highlighted:

· To learn more about creative techniques
· To play a part in producing a manual that will benefit many people
· To gain experience with working with other people
· To gain knowledge and skills to help us in our everyday work














Don Mabulay of Tandaya Foundation, Inc. pioneered this process in the development work, especially in Samar.

Further reading

Deporter, B. and M. Hernacki. Quantum learning.


Evaluation involves measuring the results of a workshop or other learning activity against the objectives. Creative education should incorporate evaluation at all key stages of the education cycle. Evaluation is an ongoing process for the benefit of the facilitator and participants.



· Whatever evaluation technique you use, beware of irrelevant responses.

· Post-training impact evaluations require other information not covered by this activity sheet.


Evaluation techniques are used to find out:

· How much learning took place
· How effective the training methods used were
· How effective and useful each of the different sessions during the training were.
· How the facilitators can improve themselves
· If the objectives were appropriate If the participants enjoyed themselves
· If the learning can be applied in the participants' job or other situations
· If the training facilities were satisfactory


For successful evaluation, you need to address four basic questions:

· What are you trying to find out?
· How could you go about finding it out?
· When is the best time to find this out?
· What are you going to do with the information?

Major points to consider in using evaluation methods:

· Literacy level of the participants
· Time available for the exercise
· How the information gathered will be used

Are we on target?


· easel, board or wall manila paper
· colored pens
· push pins


up to 40

Time requirement

10 minutes


Suggested approach

1. Draw five concentric circles on a manila paper (similar to a dart board).

Make several pie-like divisions for content, methodology, facilitators, etc., depending on the training aspects you wish to evaluate.

2. During evaluation time, ask the participants to place a pin on each pie to reflect their rating (e.g., if one is really impressed by the methods, then they should choose the bull's eye, if not, then anywhere farther from the bull's eye depending on their perception).

3. After all the participants have made their evaluations, take note of the general placement of the pins and investigate any pins that fall outside of the general choice of position.

4. Give a summary of the results to the group.


Enjoyable and requires little time to accomplish.


It is not very helpful if you desire a detailed qualitative evaluation.


Use specific colors of pins for each aspect to be evaluated.

Tell me...


small cards


up to 20



If pressed for time, ask fewer participants to present their evaluation/responses.

Time requirement

15 to 20 minutes

Suggested approach

1. Distribute the cards.

2. Ask the participants to write down a key lesson learned on the topic or during the activities.

3. Ask some of the participants to read what they have written.

4. After each participant has read their evaluation, ask them to post it on a designated part of the wall.

5. When a substantial number of participants have already read their evaluation, ask the rest to post their evaluations on the wall.

6. Summarize the main points written by the participants.


Can be used to summarize a session or day's activity, or to review the previous day's session at the start of the day.


Cannot be used effectively when there are more than 20 participants.


For extended workshops, a different color or shape may be used each day to show progress (e.g., leaves for day 1, flowers for day 2 and fruits for day 3, and so on). A dry branch of a bush could be used to hang the cards on.

Complete the sentence


· manila paper
· marking pens


up to 40

Time requirement

10 to 15 minutes


1. On a manila paper, write open-ended sentences directed at the training aspects you want to be evaluated, e.g.,

· I find the training effective because...
· The training could be improved by...
· The facilitators could be more effective if...

2. Distribute sheets of paper for participants to write responses.

3. Ask a few volunteers to read their responses.

4. Collect all sheets after some participants have read their responses.


Open-ended questions elicit wider-ranging responses.


Literacy level of participants.

Other methods

Song and skits

Break up the participants into groups and ask each group to compose a song or make a skit portraying key lessons from each of the major aspects of the training.


Whenever possible, ask the participants to demonstrate newly-learned skills (e.g., how to use overhead projectors, develop visual aids, sew a dress, etc.).


Developing questionnaires

Questionnaires are the most commonly used evaluation tools. However, experiences show varied results. Use creative questionnaires when you need to evaluate many elements of the training, e.g., content, facilitators, venue, etc. Appropriate graphics can increase interest.

Daily feedback sheets, asking for minimal information as the workshop progresses, enable facilitators to make appropriate adjustments. Evaluations intended for the entire workshop can combine rating scales, boxes and blank lines for responses (see example).

In WESAMAR program in the Philippines, evaluators use rating scales with even numbers. This is because there is a tendency for participants to opt for a mid-point to avoid hurting the feelings of facilitators.


The attached samples are just guides, adjustments may be necessary to satisfy your requirements.

Workshop Evaluation Sheet






1. Content

Not useful

Partly useful

Mostly useful

Very useful

2. Duration

Much too short

A bit too short

A bit too long

Much too long

3. Learning environment


Sometimes unpleasant


Very pleasant

4. My learning was facilitated by...

5. My learning was hindered by...

6. How will you use what you have learned?

7. What are your difficulties (include fears) in applying what you hove learned...

Any other comment...

Over all I feel...

The above sample is widely used in WESAMAR-sponsored workshops in the Philippines and has been effective, especially when participants have been told beforehand that their comments are essential to help improve the workshops for the future.


Energizers are activities designed to make learning easier and be an enjoyable experience for the participants involved in workshops, training courses, etc. They are sometimes known as icebreakers.



Energizers enable you to:

· introduce participants to each other
· foster interaction
· stimulate creative thinking
· challenge basic assumptions
· illustrate new concepts
· introduce specific material
· form groups
· enliven sleepy groups

Good energizers

· require 30 minutes or less (and often only 5-10 minutes)
· demand little or no advance preparation
· are simple to implement
· are flexible as they can be related to an unlimited range of topics


To use energizers effectively:

· never force group members to participate in an activity

· state clearly that the information generated is confidential, especially during feedback and disclosure exercises

· realize the importance of being a role model for the participants

· consider appropriateness carefully

· maintain an acute awareness of group development

All energizers are not the same; they vary in primary goal, level of impact and degree of intensity. We can identify six different types of energizers, grouped on the basis of their primary purpose, although many have several functions.

1. Tension reducers

These shift the emotional nature of the group. They are most effectively used when the participants appear "flat" or over-anxious. The activities serve as catalysts for energizing or reducing tension (e.g., simple stretching exercises).

2. Feedback and disclosure

These establish interactions of a personal nature by exploring thoughts, feelings, perceptions, impressions and reactions (e.g., Gender Circles, see below).



Gender circles


· to allow participants to move around
· for participants to give their instant reactions to ideas about gender



1. Ask participants to form two concentric circles, facing each other, and to move around in opposite directions. For a mixed group, you may like to ask the men to be in the inner circle and the women in the outer.

2. After a few seconds, ask them to stop and pair up with the person standing opposite them in the other circle. You can use music to signal when it is time to move around and when to stop.

3. Read out a statement about gender and ask the participants to react to it, talking about it in pairs for about one minute each.

4. Ask them to move around again and repeat the exercise until they have talked about all the statements.

5. Ask participants to form a large group again and comment on the exercise


A list of statements that the participants may commonly hear. For example:

· Men and women can never be equal because they are biologically different.
· Gender is just another word for women.
· Women should be employed in NGOs because they are more efficient.
· The word gender is not translatable and therefore not relevant in the field.
· All this talk about gender brings conflict to the family.
· My organization talks a lot about gender but it is not reflected in the structure.
· Work on gender should always respect people's social and cultural context.

Note: This energizer can be used for any topic.

Reference: Oxfam Gender Manual by Suzanne Williams with Janet Seed and Adelina Mwau, 1994, Oxfam UK

3. Games and brainteasers

These are exercises that stimulate creative thinking and alternative perceptions and that examine basic assumptions. These activities facilitate a competitive environment by pitting individuals or teams against one another (e.g., The Carabao Story, see below).


The Carabao Story


· to energize participants
· to help participants maintain mental awareness



1. Ask participants to form a circle, each facing towards the center, with the left hand open (in the begging position) and the right hand pointing into the palm of the person on the right

2. Designate a participant to stand in the center and begin telling a story with the carabao as the main character.

3. Instruct the participants that each time the carabao is mentioned in the story they should try to catch the finger of the person in their left and at the some time try to avoid being caught by the person on the right.

4. A participant who is caught will be the next person to continue telling the story, picking it up from where the last person stopped. The exercise may last up to ten minutes depending on the facilitator. If two or more participants are caught, only one should replace the person at the center.

An agreement may be established at the beginning of the activity that participants caught three times will be made to sing or lead the next energizer, etc.

4. Getting acquainted

These exercises provide participants with opportunities to learn more about one another in a non-threatening manner. They solicit surface information and are ideal for quickly mixing a group and for lowering barriers (e.g., Face Exercise, see below).


Face exercise


1. Ask participants to draw a face on a sheet of paper. The drawing should include eyes, ears, nose and mouth.

2. Ask participants to write information on the drawing about what they like or dislike to see, hear, smell and taste (Note: Sometimes objections are raised about dwelling on the negative but you can explain that sometimes people reveal themselves by stating what they dislike.)

3. Request participants to pair off and discuss their output with each other.

4. Ask participants to feedback information they wish to share to the rest of the group.


Option: Ask participants to write their names on the paper and post the drawing on the wall to encourage further interaction as the workshop progresses (e.g., during break, a participant may ask the person who particularly likes melted ice cream, Why?...)

5. Openers and warm-ups

These activities loosen inhibitions by stimulating, motivating and challenging the participants. They do this by heightening the creative resources of the group and encouraging intense and playful interaction (e.g., Choose your spot, see below). These are used to:

· begin a program
· start a session
· prime the group after a break
· prepare the learners for a new topic

These are also used to examine aspects of communication such as:

· consensus seeking
· problem solving
· non-verbal interaction


Choose your spot


· To get people moving around
· To start discussion about key topics
· To show up differences of opinion within the group


1. Preparation

Prepare 10 statements relevant to the next topic/session. The statement should be designed to bring out strong views and provokes open discussion.

On five sheets of flipchart or manila paper, draw the four faces below:


2. Pin the sheets up on the walls around the room.

3. Explain to the participants that the faces represent the options: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree and that when each statement is read out, they should choose the face which most closely represents their feelings.

4. Ask all participants to stand in the center of the room as you read each statement, and then go and stand beside the face that represents how much they agree or disagree with the statement. After they have discussed each statement in their groups, they should choose a spokesperson to share key ideas from the group with everyone in the room.

5. Read the statements one by one, allowing five to ten minutes for discussion and reporting back on each one.

Reference: Oxfam Gender Manual

6. Professional development topics

These are exercises related to specific subjects such as leadership and supervision, problem solving or the environment, gender, etc.


A course on presentation skills could begin with warm up activities such as a one minute talk about yourself to the rest of the group. This will place an emphasis on presentation from the beginning and allow the rest of the group to get to know you.

Successful energizers

The success or failure of an energizer depends on the skills of the facilitator. As a facilitator, it is important that you establish a relaxed atmosphere that gives participants the opportunity to be by themselves. You can develop this climate through using subtle yet important behaviors such as:

· voice inflection
· gestures
· body posture
· eye contact
· verbal instructions

(The activity sheets or Body Language and Visual Gestural Communitation can help you be more aware of your body language.)

Adding to creative exploration, energizers encourage participants to:

· try new behavior;
· explore the unknown;
· engage in playful behavior; and
· think spontaneously.


Pfieffer. Encyclopedia of Icebreakers.

Forming groups

Forming groups is an activity designed to break the participants into smaller groups to maximize their participation and the effectiveness of activities.



Forming groups can be done in creative and less time-consuming ways. Group forming activities ensure distribution of participants coming from the same locality or agency into different groups (when this is appropriate). Some activities could also double as energizers or icebreakers.

Example 1

Color coding


Name tags in different colors





1. Choose different colors of cards to use as name tags. The number of colors used depends on the number of groups that need forming.

2. Prepare name tags ahead of time (names may be printed in advance or as the participants arrive).

3. Distribute the cards as the participants register, e.g., give first a red card, second a yellow and so on.

Make sure that a fair distribution of colors is handed out.

4. Call the participants and ask each color to occupy a particular area of the venue/hall (e.g., all participants with green-colored name tags, will you please gather at the left side of the hall).

5. Ask groups to submit a list of the members in a group.

Time requirement

Approximately five minutes, in addition to the time used during registration.


Candies of different flavors may be used. Make sure that the number of flavors correspond to the number of groups that need forming.

Example 2

Parts of a whole


Parts of a whole (e.g., cutouts of different parts of a plant, such as leaves, flowers, etc., the number of which should correspond to the number of groups to be formed)





1. Distribute the cutouts to the participants

2. Ask participants to write their names on the cutouts

3. Request the participants holding the same plant parts to gather together (e.g., All those who are holding fruits, will you please gather at the center and so on).

Time requirement



Groups formed according to the number desired


Time saving, structured


Parts of the subject chosen may not be enough for the number of groups desired.

Example 3



Sketches, or magazine pictures or the same theme (e.g., for an environment awareness workshop, sketches of different ecosystems can be used such as coral ecosystems, seagrass ecosystems, etc). The number of illustrations to be used will depend on the number of groups to be formed.



30 to 40

Time requirement

10 minutes


1. Cut the illustrations into pieces, corresponding to the number of participants. Make sure that the same number of pieces are made out of the different illustrations.

2. Distribute the pieces, making sure that all participants have a piece.

3. Ask each participant to write their name on the piece handed to them.

4. At a signal, ask the participants to begin matching the piece they are holding with that of other participants.

5. Request the group to tape the pieces together and post the end product on the wall.


Requires knowing exact numbers of participants before cutting the jigsaws.


A prize may be given to the group which forms first.


If using sketches, have each one on a different colored piece of cards to facilitate grouping formation.

Sketches must not be too complicated to shorten the time needed to form the jigsaws.

Example 4

Barnyard game


Pieces of paper


Up to 40


Time requirement

10 to 15 minutes


1. Distribute pieces of paper with names of animals. The number of animals will depend on number of groups to be formed. Instruct the participants not to show others the paper given to them.

2. Ask participants to go around making the noise of the animal written on the paper given to them and look for participants who are making the same noise.


Participants could be asked to act out certain professions (e.g., drivers, carpenters, etc.) or activities (swimming, jogging, etc.)


A prize may be given to the group which forms first


Do not use animals that are considered holy to the religious beliefs of some of your participants.

Also, some animals may be considered too disgusting for some people to be associated with.

Example 5

The boat is sinking




Up to 40


Time requirement

20 minutes or more


1. Assign an "it"

2. Instruct the participants that they must group together according to the number called out by the "it" (e.g., The boat is sinking group into 6!).

3. Several groupings may be done before settling to the number of groups desired by the facilitator for the next activity.


Some people may not want to join an activity that involves running around and being touched or pulled.

Example 6

Fruit salad


Pieces of paper


Up to 40


Time requirement

15 to 20 minutes


1. Arrange chairs in a circle for participants to occupy. The number of chairs should be one less then the number of participants.

2. Distribute pieces of paper with a name of the fruit, the number of which depends on the number of groups desired.

3. Assign an "it" who stands in the middle.

4. Inform the participants that when the "it" mentions a fruit; only the persons whose papers are marked with the fruit change seats (e.g., mango!) When fruit salad is mentioned, everybody changes seats. The participant who can not find a seat becomes the next "it".

The activity could go on as desired

5. Once everyone is energized, stop the game and request participants assigned to the same fruit to group themselves.


The chairs must be sturdy enough so as not to be damaged or fall apart when participants scramble for seats.

Creative congratulations

Creative congratulations are active forms of praise and appreciation.



· 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 task.

Suggested approach

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 examples).

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 value").

· It may restrict spontaneous display of pause.

· Despite the natural timing, "congratulations" can still disrupt the flow of thought about the topic under consideration.

Example 1

· 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
Tarara Tarara
Boom Boom Boom"

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.

Example 2

· 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.

Example 3

· 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 clap:


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, door, etc.)

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 Lini".


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 meetings.


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 changes).


· Use soft voice
· Music optional
· Up to 40 participants

Relaxers are used to calm people down from intense involvement in an activity, e.g., at the end of the day, or after a draining activity which involves some sort of conflict resolution.


As above, but can also be used to help participants focus on issues, to assist participants to internally grasp concepts and to help participants in visioning towards some future activity or condition.


Suggested approaches

A. Guided relaxation activities

This can be as simple as asking participants to observe a few minutes silence, concentrate on their breathing or do a simple group massage. For longer relaxation, you could guide the group in a visioning experience.


Sometimes, groups can be difficult to control; not everybody likes to meditate or to observe silence. This could lead to the atmosphere not being conducive to relaxing.


· Ask participants to imagine they are vessels full of water with faucets on their feet. Encourage them to pretend to open the faucets and let all their anxieties drain out.


· For a longer relaxation, meditation type activity, use the following text:

" Slowly, close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, allow the air to come into your body. Breath in slowly and hold the breath for a couple of seconds and then release it. Take a mental survey of your body, begin with your feet, notice which parts are tense and tight and which parts are soft and relaxed. How does your feet feel?

Mentally, travel up to your legs...., now to your torso. Notice how your arms and hands feel. Now focus on your shoulders and neck. If there is any tension, gently breathe into these areas to relax the muscles. Notice the feelings in your head and face, and gently relax these muscles. Now, go down your back and spine, notice how they feel. Pay attention to every part of your body......

Slowly take a deep breath and allow the air coming into your body to relax and release any tension you may have felt....

Now visualize yourself on top of a mountain... feel that light begin to surround your body.... use it to nourish your organs and tissues...your body acts like a sponge and absorbs all the light it can....every cell in your body is being bathed by the light... take a deep breath and feel the peace as your body completely relaxes....

What do you feel on this mountain top? What temperature is it? What do you smell? Everything you see on this mountain is part of you.... slowly bring your awareness back into the center of your physical body... prepare to bring your awareness back into your present situation.... take a few deep breaths and bring your awareness back into the room and open your eyes.... adjust and stretch."

Optional: you can ask some participants to share their feelings, images or any information they may have gained from this reflection, meditation activity.

Reference: Redfield J. Celestine Prophecy: An Experiential Guide.

B. Self-relaxation activities

This is where the participants are encouraged to find their own way of relaxing.


My spirit spot

For long workshops, participants are encouraged to pick their Spirit Spot at the start of the workshop. This can be at the foot of a tree a large rock, etc., or, if it is impossible to go outside, then ask participants to think of an image which means something to them. Give enough time at the start and/or at the end of the day for participants to reflect on the activities, on themselves. Or, if it is a workshop on the environment, then reflection can be about nature.


To aid facilitation, the following text can be used:

" Silence. Solitude. Serenity. Here, I can be myself by myself. Here. I can do more than listen to nature around me. Here. I can do more than observe nature - I can be at one with nature."

This activity has been used successfully at Eco-Camps for High Schools.

Reference: Renewing renew: a restoration ecology workshop manual by Jose Roberto Guevara, published by the Center for Environmental Concerns, Philippines (Tel/Fax 632 921 1531)


A relaxed, focused, revived group.


Mood setting exercises are activities that refocus participants' attention to the subject. They are used to cultivate a positive, self-confident attitude and prepare the participants for the work at hand. These are done before the start of a training course, before starting a day's activity or before resuming an activity after a break.


My posture, my thinking


The exercise here would only be effective if the facilitator has established rapport with the participants and is able to gain their cooperation.


To help participants realize that their thinking is also influenced by their posture. Thus, they make a conscious effort to notice their posture and change from a self-defeating slump to a confidence-boosting "sitting tall" position. This is often used before starting new topics or sessions.

Suggested approach

Explain that our action is a product of how we think. But often, how we act also affects how we feel. To illustrate, do the following exercise.


1. Slump your body in a chair.
2. Tilt your head down, cross your arms and pull into yourself.
3. Stick out your lips in a pout, let your cheeks drop, and tense the muscles around your eyes.
4. Try to feel happy and optimistic.

Ask the participants, "Is this possible?" After getting the expected "NOs" proceed to the second exercise;



If anyone says YES, check the posture. It might be starting to slump again.

1. Sit up straight in your chair.
2. Throw back your head and shoulders.
3. Let a smile play on your mouth and widen your eyes.
4. Try to feel sad and depressed.

Ask: "Can you do it?" The expected response is NO.

Ask volunteers to share how the exercise felt to them. Build on their common responses to come to an agreement about their right attitude towards the activities ahead.

Put your worries aside


· Focus participants' attention to the topic at hand.


Suggested approach

1. Ask the participants to write all their worries on a piece of paper, seal with tape or paste and put in a box. Assure the participants that these will be kept confidential.

2. Take the box away and remind the participants that their present task is attention and energy to the training. Remind is a right time for dealing with their problems or worries. Explain the significance of their part in attaining the full objectives of the training.


For 1 & 2 methods

· Participants write their worries but keep the paper in their own pocket or bag.
· Participants can mentally place their worries in a box until the training session ends.
· The box containing the worries may also be ceremoniously burned if all participants agree.

3. Display a quotation, saying or poster related to the training course (or topic to be discussed) and ask the participants to reflect on it.


In a campaign to promote learning, quotations were used as openers in team learning sessions. These became the spring board for discussion.

4. Ask volunteers to share their reflections. (The facilitator of the succeeding topic builds on the reflection to start the discussion.)

5. Later, display the quotations, poster on the wall as a source of inspiration, reminder or a thought provoker.



Very positive and flexible. Allows participants to check on themselves and perform better during the training.

Creating a positive state of mind

Creating a positive state of mind is an exercise to recapture the feelings that go with peak moments Variation - moments of triumph, success or jubilation! This is a powerful way of affirming and inspiring people to perform better.


The centering meditation under "Relaxers" can be facilitated first to prepare the participants.


To set the mood for active learning.

Suggested approach


Ask the participants to do the following:

1. Relax, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths.

2. Recall a moment of success in your life. Remember the precise moment when you did exceptionally well.

3. Intensify your memory. Remember what it was like after the peak experience. "What did you see?" What did you hear?" "What did you feel?"

4. Take time to savor the triumph of that experience. Recreate the scene, take time to see it with your own eyes. Recall the feeling of pride and confidence in what you had achieved!

5. Think of one word that would sum up your experience. A word that when said or read would bring the memory back to you anytime, anywhere. This word will be the key in recapturing the feelings of that peak experience.

6. Take a deep breath and once again feel your jubilation in that experience. Clench your fist as it is the natural thing to do when you feel powerful!

7. Intensify the memory of that moment. Keep your eyes shut to eliminate other things that might distract you. Remember only that moment of success, triumph and jubilation!

8. Unclench your fist and slowly open your eyes. Ask volunteers to share how the exercise felt to them.


Some participants may feel uncomfortable. You, as the facilitator, must be confident and convinced in what you are doing. It is better to try this yourself first experience.


On your own, repeat the exercise as often as possible within two days. The more you do this, the easier it will be for you to return to a productive state of mind.


A lecture is a verbal presentation on a single topic.

The lecture is a much misunderstood and maligned method of presentation. Many people remember back to their own experiences of school, often a seemingly endless and boring series of lectures. But a lecture need not be boring, or be totally centered on the presenter as is sadly too often the case.

A lecture is an effective way to present an introduction or overview of a topic, summarize information, inspire or motivate others or gain input from a resource person.



· Allows for a high level of control over both time and content.

· Well suited when critical, accurate information must be imparted to a large number of people in a short time.

· Advantageous when resources are scarce.

· Can be conducted in a wide variety of locations e.g., beach, community center, house, field, classroom.

· Providing they can hear clearly, a lecture is suitable for participants numbering in the hundreds.


· The level of participation is generally low (a lecture is presenter-centered), possibly leading to a low level of interaction and often a low level of retention by the participants.

· The success of a lecture too often depends on the personality of the lecturer.

Suggested approach

It is imperative to consider what makes a good lecture when planning and delivering your material. A good lecture includes:

· planning

· knowing at what level to pitch the lecture, neither too hard nor too easy

· not talking for more than 10 minutes without a break for some other form of activity

· enthusiasm and interest on the part of the presenter

· concise and accurate delivery of the material

· flexibility, knowing when the audience is in need of a change of pace, activity or merely a break to have a chance to internalize the content

· good presentation skills on the part of the speaker.

Planning is particularly important when giving a lecture. There should be structure and a clear objective for the lecture to be effective. Careful planning also helps to keep a lecture concise.

To ensure that the content of any lecture will be appropriate to the needs and level of the participants, they must be consulted. This could take the form of a Training Needs Analysis that would cover a complete training session, although it may be sufficient to talk to someone with a good knowledge of the group who will receive the lecture.

An important consideration when planning a lecture is whether it will be formal or informal. For the former it may be appropriate to stand and deliver the material to a seated audience. With an informal lecture or training, especially with a small group, it is advisable to sit with the participants. This can help to engage the audience and can remove some of the 'us and them' feeling.

To structure who talks and when, an object can be designated and when someone wants to speak they raise their hand and speak only when holding the object; naturally this applies to the presenter as well. This may seem unnecessarily formal but one of the main advantages of the lecture is the structure and control it gives.

Microphone use


Unless there are special circumstances (for example surroundings are noisy) talking to a group of less than 75 should not require a Personal Address (PA) system. It is acceptable to request that only one person speak at once. Microphones or PA systems are prone to technical difficulties or electrical outages. Use of a microphone by the presenter often serves as a power tool to separate them from the participants, which is inadvisable in creative training. This is particularly true when the audience has no microphones.

It cannot be overemphasized that a lecture should be short and to the point. Very few people can concentrate and internalize accurate information for much more than 10 minutes, and even those who can rarely enjoy it. Incorporating short, sharp lectures into a training course, interspersed with visual aids and other activities, is advisable and can serve to accentuate the advantages of different methodologies as well as providing a refreshing change of pace. Encourage flexibility whenever possible.

Presentation skills

If your lecture is to be beneficial, effective presentation skills should be used. These include the following:

· Posture - if standing, you should be erect but relaxed, facing the participants with your weight evenly distributed (placing weight on one hip and shifting it to the other and back can be distracting). If seated you should also be relaxed and facing those you are addressing.


These two postures indicate disinterest and a defensive and closed attitude, respectively. Neither is recommended.

An alert and open posture is conducive to an effective presentation.

· Movement - applies mainly if you are standing but is also important if seated. Moving around can be engaging and keep you involved with the participants.

· Gestures - the importance of natural gestures cannot be overstated; these are used in normal conversation and using them when addressing a group is appropriate and effective.

· Eye contact - this helps the channel of communication, can establish and build rapport and makes the lecture more personal. It is important not to stare at anyone (one to three seconds eye contact is fine) and to move focus among the participants. If a group is too large to look at each individual separately, make contact with different individuals in different parts of the audience; those sitting near the individual will feel as if you are looking at them.


A lecture read verbatim from a prepared script sounds stilted. Use flash cards instead with key words to remind you of the important points to cover or try a mind map (see mind mapping).

· Voice - a speaker should consider not only what he/she is saying but how messages are said. The three main problems are speaking in a monotone, talking too fast and speaking at an inappropriate volume:

· Most monotonous voices are caused by anxiety, causing the muscles of the chest and throat to tense. It is essential to relax and release tension. This can be aided by upper body movements.

· Talking too fast is also often due to anxiety. Many novice lecturers say that they can alleviate their nervousness to some extent by a sound knowledge of their material. A dry run with friends or colleagues is usually more effective than practising in front of a mirror. A good presenter uses pauses appropriately (for example, to let a point sink in) and it is also an effective way to slow down. Try pausing at the end of each sentence. Periods of silence are not a problem.

· Speaking too quietly can be a problem but you can correct this with practice. If it is a continuing difficulty or if you are naturally soft spoken, a microphone can be used.

Practising voice projection

At WESAMAR, during a training on facilitation skills, the facilitator asked the participants to form a line at one end of the room and say words, such as ball or fish. The participants spoke one at a time and the facilitator gauges their level of projection. When the facilitator judged that each voice has "reached" the appropriate level of projection s/he said, for example, "the ball has reached me" or "the fish has been caught in the net".


Both during and especially at the end of a lecture, ask the participants for questions, either for clarification or because something was omitted from the lecture and also for comments. Inviting questions is also a good way to check on audience understanding, critical to the success of the presentation. If you ask questions as if hoping there will be none, you are unlikely to get a response. Instead, assume that the audience will have some and wait long enough for them to formulate these and overcome any reluctance to ask them. To get things going, you could say "I'm often asked....." or have someone in the audience ask a question that you have given them before the lecture (this usually encourages others to follow suit).


When a question is asked, it is important to look at the questioner while they are speaking. Repeating the question ensures that all participants have heard it and that you have heard and understood it correctly. Address the answer to the questioner specifically but also to the other participants generally (focusing attention 25% on the questioner and 75% on the rest of the group is a good rule of thumb). If you do not know the answer to the question, do not be afraid to say so.


The participants have been informed about the lecture topic in a stimulating and interesting way.

Developing the lecture method further

Interactive lecture

Interactive lecture is a limited form of dialogue between the participants and lecturer. While there is a prepared outline on the topic, you choose key concepts or points that you want to be emphasized in the lecture. Provocative questions are crucial in interactive lecture. You start your talk with a question on a topic (e.g., on the topic of conflict resolution, you can ask, "what comes into your mind when you hear "conflict"?") and continue to throw other questions which could enrich the lecture.


Interactive lecture, being a dialogue, opens the lecture to people's critique. You should be open to these new ideas and try to integrate them in the lecture process. However, you should not manipulate people's answers to fit them into your lecture. It is important for you to have a skill in synthesizing and integrating key ideas.

After challenging the participants to share their thoughts, the resource person then integrates the ideas into her or his lecture. Usually, you can build on the common points from the people and the lecture outline. Divergences or unique points, on the other hand, are further deliberated. Eventually, these are either interwoven into the lecture or appreciated on their own. What is exciting in interactive lecture is that both the lecturer and participants, in the process of exchange, piece together and enrich their understanding of a topic.


When throwing out questions, the onslaught of responses from the audience can be overwhelming and can deflect you from your outline. An interactive lecture is only feasible for audiences numbering up to 25. While participation is encouraged, you can limit the number of provocative questions or elicit few responses only. The rule of thumb is to allow everybody to participate at some point in the lecture, but still have enough time for you to present the key ideas in your lecture.


Short history of popular education in the Philippines


1. Alternative education during the 1970s-80s

2. 1986 consultations on education work

3. Relating Latin America's "popular education" (pop-ed) to Philippine experiences

4. Current pop-ed initiatives

Provocative questions

What were you doing during the 1970s-80s?

Were you affected by the 1986 "People power revolution" when Filipinos toppled the Marcos dictatorship? How?

What comes into your mind when you hear the term popular education?

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is an activity that allows an entire subject to be presented on a single sheet of paper through the use of symbols, words, lines and arrows. It is also used as an awareness raising tool in unfolding key concepts, e.g., power, development, justice, etc.



Mind maps can be used as:

· visual aids
· speaker's guides
· note making techniques
· evaluation tools
· brainstorming/awareness raising tools

Suggested approach

Mind maps can be made individually or by a group.

1. Print the main topic or idea in the middle of a sheet of paper or black board and enclose in a circle, square or other shape.

2. Add a branch extending out from the center for each key point or idea. The number of branches will vary with the number of ideas or segments. Use a different color for each branch.

3. Write a keyword or phrase on each branch and add details. Keywords are those that convey the heart of an idea and trigger memory

4. Add further branches, stemming from the first set of keywords, as you explore the topic in greater depth.

5. Connect ideas which are closely related to each other through the use of more lines and branches.



· Add symbols and illustrations for better recall. Use legible, CAPITAL letters, make important ideas longer, underline words use different colors and bold letters.


· Magazine pictures and photos which are related to the topic can be used as an alternative to symbols or keywords.

Mind maps as visual aids

The facilitator uses a mind map as a guide to present ideas and the relationship between them. Portions that are not being used can be covered so as not to distract the participants' attention. There is also a need to use common symbols that participants can identify with.

Mind maps as speaker's guides

Instead of using index cards, a mind map is used to outline a speech or lecture and remind the speaker of what to say. This is a suggested alternative to the traditional, structured listing of major points. It is for the speaker's personal use.

Mind mapping as a note making technique

Consider the section on "Suggested ways of making mind maps" when using mind maps as a notemaking tool. It is important to note, however, that in using abbreviations, familiar ones should be used for easy recall.

Mind mapping as an evaluation tool

A mind map is used to measure the extent of the participants' understanding of a concept or a situation which was presented. They are asked to draw a mind map that illustrates what they understand, either individually or as a group.

Mind mapping as a brainstorming/awareness raising tool

This starts with a broad concept presented to the participants for them to reflect on. The facilitator guides the discussion. Key concepts are unfolded by asking, "What contributed to this?", "Why is it so?", "How did it happen?" or "What influenced it?". The facilitator guides the participants to considering areas of the map in a more detailed way. This may lead to a main branch sprouting several sub-branches.


In an "empowerment workshop" in an urban poor community in Quezon City, a need to dissect the word "power" emerged. The facilitator asked question, "In your opinion who do you think are the most powerful people?" and "What are the most powerful organizations in your community?" Through a mind map, participants came out with the following:


Through the activity, the participants realized that they had limited access to the various sources of power in their lives. They realized that unless they could organize themselves to forge a common goal and purpose they would not be heard. The facilitator built on the insights of the group to start the empowerment workshop.


· Flexible activity
· Focuses attention and increases capacity of recall

REFERENCE: Quantum learning by B. Deporter and At. Hernacki.

Creative use of overhead projectors

Creative use of overhead projectors refers to ways of using transparencies to enhance presentations by means of low-tech and high-tech methods. It assumes basic knowledge on how to use overhead projectors (OHP) and the optional use of computers.



· To introduce more flexibility and creativity into how you prepare and present your OHP transparencies.

· To maximize the use of OHP, often through the use of inexpensive materials


· photocopier (remember to use the photograph feature and paste blur on some of the newer models)

· OHP screen

· transparencies (A4)

· colored transparencies, e.g., "Canson-Print On" (A4)

· scissors

· ruler

· glue

· old or recycled magazines, newspapers or pictures

Little techus (low-tech method)

· Cut out words, phrases or pictures from newspaper, magazines, or any recycled materials. Glue them together so that they construct a message or story.

· Try using photographs from books - they often look far more impressive when blown up on the OHP. Photocopy pictures directly onto transparency film by arranging them straight onto the copier so as not to lose quality.


When photocopying...
· do not use transparencies that are not suitable for photocopying. The photocopier's drum is very hot and it will melt the transparencies. Suitable transparencies will clearly be marked "SUITABLE FOR PHOTOCOPIERS".


· Photocopy the montage to test clearness of some pictures. If there are no more changes, photocopy onto a transparency.

· You might want to ask for an assistant who had been briefed on the proper handling of transparencies and on turning the overhead projector on and off.

· Always try and locate a spare bulb before your presentation. It's really frustrating having a whole activity lined up with your participants and then having a non-functional projector.

· For a more professional look, frame your transparency using an OHP pen and a ruler.

· For additional aural spice, arrange for music to be played during the presentation.

· Let participants bring in one family photograph then photocopy onto transparency film to provide insights into the backgrounds of your participants.

· Allow participants to prepare mini poster ideas, mind maps or project proposals. Maps on transparencies look particularly interesting.

· Present comic stories without speech bubbles - get the audience construct their own meanings. This can be used to represent progression, such as stages of an activity.

· For non-photocopied materials: you can use plastic film as a substitute for more costly transparencies. Framing it can prevent crinkling. In addition to OHP pens, you use colored cellophane strips cut with a sharp knife and attached to your image area with transparent adhesive tape.

Bigus techus (high tech alternatives)

· Use the computers in your institution. Most computers now have Microsoft Windows. A package called PowerPoint enables you to design and produce your own transparency presentation. Use a color ink jet printer to print directly onto special color Overhead Transparency Film. This is readily available in bookstores (See materials listing for manufacturers details). It is expensive but worth it for the impact of the colored pictures on the OHP.

· Cut and paste photographs from a multi-media package like Encarta Encyclopedia into PowerPoint. You will find color pictures on thousands of subjects. Other packages such as the illustrations in Corel Draw might be useful.

· PageMaker - a very simple layout program - can be used to professionalize your illustrations, just paste up on white paper and photocopy onto transparencies.


· During a video workshop hosted by Bukidnon State College in Northern Mindanao, Philippines, in its new Media Resource Centre, comic strips were pasted down onto white paper, the speech was removed from the bubbles and participants had to create their own dialogue by writing in the bubble with an OHP pen. In this way, they created their own narratives, to prepare them for presenting storyboards. Comics look wonderful on the OHP screen.

· During a Philippine National Volunteer sharing in Cotabato, Mindanao, the faculty members of Notre Dame University were asked to examine meanings and issues of authorship, i.e., who made photographs and why. The photographs were presented on the OHP.

Curious facts about the OHP

1. Many educators still have problems turning the switch on.
2. They can be used as light boxes for looking at slides.
3. They do not like being moved while switched on.
4. Lizards seek warmth and sleep inside the light box


Slide/photo presentations

This is the use of transparent slide images (slides) or photographs for a presentation. This can take the form of a lecture or presentation for a seminar or discussion group.



The purpose of using this method is to introduce visuals that show real-life and community-specific subjects. It is also a way to accurately document and show processes which might otherwise take too long to observe or demonstrate in real time.


For slides

· 35 mm slide projector
· slide film
· selected slides darkened room (although you can present at night to overcome this problem)

For photographs

· Using photographs takes less equipment, but the photographs must be large enough to be seen by the entire audience, and the viewing space must be well lit.

Selected photographs

· Display board: for very small groups, photographs can be mounted on board and passed around rather than being displayed on a wall.


For the lecture or presentation, you can have any number of people relative to the size of the image you have or will be able to project.

The commercial screen is usually about 5ft x 7ft and this is fine for up to 70 participants. Your ability to project any larger than that will depend on the wall space available and the type of projector.

However, a group of 20-30 is preferable as larger groups can get restless and distracted more quickly. With a large group, you will also need to project your voice or have a microphone set up. The seminar discussion format works best with a smaller group of 12-15 persons. For this, one facilitator works best. Another approach is to have the participants decide on the order of the slides or photos and let them take the position of presenter(s).


Preview your presentation to prepare your viewing environment. Familiarize yourself with how to focus the slide projector. Check that everything is working, e.g., bulb has not blown, slides are in the right order and not upside down. Check that the lead is not coiled on the projector and that the carousel moves smoothly. The connecting lead to the mains should be out of the way of moving feet.


Suggested approach

1. Arrange seating for the audience. Everyone must be able to see the screen. Usually this means forming an arc-shaped seating arrangement. For smaller groups, it is easier to let them move around until everyone has a view.

2. Set the lighting at the required level. For slides, a dark but not pitch black room is recommended. It is better to have a little light to keep people awake and to be able to see notes. For photos, a bright but not harsh light is recommended. If presenting on a wall space, make sure there is no glare from the lights on to the photos making them hard to see.

3. Present slides or photos in order. Presentation skills are important here. Remember to face your audience rather than the images, so you will be talking to them and not away from them. Eye contact helps keep attention and gets people involved in what you are saying. Before you present the slides, give a brief background to the topic, or at least an outline. Use short notes on index cards to jog your mind with key words. Try not to be reading an entire script; this is dull to listen to and makes you look at the paper rather than at the people.

4. Ask for responses and encourage the viewers to interpret the images themselves "What's happening here?" or "Where do you think this was taken?" This can be done for each image or, if the flow is going to be too interrupted by this, you can show particular slides again at the end and ask for questions then. Seminar discussion groups will be prompted by more questions and by responses from the viewers/participants. (For further discussions involving this technique, see Posters as problem-posing materials.)

5. Take enough time and speak slowly but limit the amount of time the image is on the screen, as attention will shift after a couple of minutes. There is no absolute rule here. Slides can be presented with pace to create a narrative but you can also be flexible and allow room for discussions on a single image, if it is a powerful one and relevant issues are identified which the audience can respond to. Do try and allow a breather for the projector to cool down! Bulbs are very expensive, so during lengthy discussions, turn off the projector. (Slides can also be damaged if left in the heat of the light for too long).


To prevent passive viewing, summarize your presentation at the end by saying a few of the most important ideas again or showing same slides again and re-stating the main points. As a general rule, a 20-minute presentation is the most successful. It allows for discussion afterwards without the participants feeling that as if they've been in a marathon! Of course some can be shorter. There is no point in padding out a presentation. Your audience will see through it. Keep it short and simple, allowing time for the images to be interpreted and not trying to explain them too much.


Generally, using slides or photos increases participation, as viewers have to interpret images rather than listen to words. You can increase personal involvement and participation by using local images and issues. Quite simply, produce your own material!


· They can bring experiences to the audience which would otherwise be unobtainable.

· They can show a time-consuming repetitive process quickly and reliably, such as the piece by piece assembling of an object.

· They can stimulate language development and self-expression because visual images must be interpreted into words. The facilitator can encourage individuals or groups of participants to do this.

· They provide the group with a leveling experience; everyone starts from the same point of having just seen the images. The environment may be more comfortable, physically and emotionally, than during the same situation real life and so may encourage discussion. Dimmed lights alone can be a great release for some!



· Slides and photos can show too much information and great care is required to select images. It is important to pretest images on a variety of people to ensure that the important information is not buried under a heap of little details. What may seem perfectly obvious to you may be only a minor part of the image and someone else will not give it the same importance. Photos can be cut or framed to direct attention to the important part of the image.

· With any photographic image there is also the risk of presenting stereotypes of people and places. As above, pre-testing is important to try to avoid this.

· The logical sequencing of the images is crucial to the success of a presentation. This takes practice and pre-testing of the images to get it right.


· Student and teachers documented the story of how drinking water reaches the community. They took slides of the rain, the reservoir, the processing plant, the system of distribution and the uses of water at home and commercially. They used this to create awareness of where water comes from and the need to take care of it as a resource. Similarly, students and teachers documented the waste disposal problems in the town.

· Language instructors documented various people at work in the town. By providing familiar subjects, they provoked a lot of discussion, which was also used as a way of talking about future job possibilities for graduates.

· An instructor of livelihood skills documented a metalworking technique as a numbered sequence that students could view in small groups. Previously, time limitations had meant that too large a group had to view a single 'live' demonstration. By creating the resources for self-study, the teacher allowed the students to review the process over and over until they were confident to try it themselves. Similarly, very expensive science demonstrations could be photographed once and played over and over.

· Another example, from the non-formal sector, was a slide presentation on small-scale farming initiatives in the community. This slide presentation was then used both as a funding proposal and as a way of encouraging others to use the techniques. The slide documentation covered a whole season and showed all the stages of the process from preparing the soil to harvesting and marketing.

Visual spicers

Visual spicers are pieces of large broadsheet paper displaying several pictures. They are visual aids which help any speaker to display the important ideas in a presentation.



This visual aid aims to provide a visible outline of the topic which serves as a guide while giving a talk. It also:

· Helps gain and keep audience attention or interest in the presentation.

· Secures active participation and involvement of listeners.

· Assists in using some of the mind's excess capacity to absorb information relative to the average presenter's speaking rate of only 125-145 words per minute (research shows listeners can grasp up to 250-300 words per minute).

· Permits new insights and a better, perhaps broader, perspective.

· Introduces teaching of visual ideas.


· colored or black-and-white pictures clipped from discarded magazines, calendars, posters, newspapers or brochures

· broadsheet paper or old newspapers (use classified ads section for grayish appearance)

· scissors or blade/cutter

· paste/glue

· stapler

· ruler or meter stick

· masking/transparent adhesive tape

· an easel or display board


This technique is suitable for use with small groups. A minimum skill of cutting, arranging and pasting of cutout pictures is necessary. You will need the ability to make improvised or running comments on the relationship of any of the pictures to the idea or point you are presenting to the audience and to respond to their comments. This can, however, be developed with practice.

Suggested approach

1. Gather materials that can help focus on your topic. Sort your pictures out so that you have an interesting variety of landscapes, portraits, seascapes, still life, children, animals, adults, industrial, commercial, or abstract designs on hand.

2. Cut out each picture making sure to remove all white borders and any other unwanted image or material such as words or fonts (unless you purposely need them to emphasize your point).

3. To add more "zip" or impact to your visual images, you may also decide to cut them either diagonally (left or right), vertically or horizontally.

4. Tentatively arrange your pictures on each sheet. Keep only about three to six pictures per visual. If you are satisfied with the way your pictures are grouped, paste them.



Study or observe how popular media - TV, magazines and books - present pictures and try to adapt some of their techniques to enliven your visual spicers!

Try these tips

· Crop your pictures in unusual places or parts, e.g., remove heads, hands, etc.
· Cut the pictures to any arbitrary shape and arrange them at different angles or poses.
· Combine parts of similar images having the same shapes/sizes (e.g., faces of a man and ape).
· Insert one picture within a larger picture to show contrast or relationships of meanings.
· Include comic strip balloons with appropriate remarks on the topic you're presenting.
· Extend some parts of a small picture by drawing outside its limits using a marking pen.
· Paste faces of personalities on top of sketched/cartoonized bodies.
· Overlap several small pictures of the same subjects to create a larger looking effect.
· Invert or paste some images upside-down or at oddly-placed angles.

See Poster Making, Comic Strips, Self-expression through Pictures in this manual for more ideas.

5. Arrange the sheets in their proper order for your presentation and staple the top of each sheet together so that you will be able to flip them as you give your presentation.

6. Using your presentation topic outline as a guide, select some key words or incomplete phrases and affix them on the vacant spaces of your chart. (Optional)

Variation 1

Create suspense by covering a portion or all of the parts of a picture by the use of paper attached by doubled-up masking tape. Uncover this part at the proper time during your presentation.

Variation 2

Use adhesive tape and masking tape if you want to post the charts to your walls to serve as reminders or to stress your points.

7. Make some notes along the margins of your chart by using a pencil. This will serve as reminders for you during your presentation.

8. You may also try the method of asking your participants to create their own visual spicers when they present ideas in a workshop. Of course, you have to be ready with the materials or ask them to bring their own.

9. Try to end your series of visual spicers on a positive note or hopeful expectation. This can be done with a quotation suitably backed up with the appropriate images.


· When starting your presentation, say something like:

" I will be showing you some cutout pictures that will serve to reinforce the points in my talk. Please try to think of the implications and the relationships of these pictures to the point I am explaining. Why do you think these pictures are placed together?"

· You may reinforce the edges of your visual spicers with masking tape so they will not get torn or tattered.


Your audience will pay more attention to you as you present your ideas and will stay more alert especially during the early afternoons. They may even be inclined to give you some interesting ideas in relation to the points you may be presenting.

As presenter, you will have more self-confidence and assurance that you will not miss some important points in your talk. With the passage of time, you are going to have an ever-increasing collection of helpful stand-by visual aids that you can put to instant use whenever necessary.


· Offer a sense of immediacy, vitality and dynamism that an ordinary flip chart cannot do.

· Relatively inexpensive to produce. Materials are readily available and they can easily be modified according to your presentation needs.

· Easily recycled. Rearrange the order of the sheets and change the key words to suit the topic(s) you are presenting. You do not even need electricity to give a good presentation! and spare you from worrying about any blackouts.

· Can be carried easily from one location to another - either rolled up in a tube or in a convenient giant folder improvised out of discarded cardboard boxes.


Mount your visual spicers on the back of a chair and put the chair on the table. Make sure that your visual spicers are above the heads or eye-level of your participants.



You will not be able to satisfy the varied wants, expectations and needs of your audience for "more suitable" pictures. The most frequent complaint you will probably get in using this visual is that it tends to "distract" some members of your audience from getting the main points. This may be due to the multiple images given on each sheet which will tend to pull their minds in different directions, so the focus appears to be lost.

· You might not have enough time to prepare a new grouping of pictures for each training session to emphasize your points more accurately.

· If you happen to be short, you may find it difficult to flip your charts on a tall easel.


A presentation on "How to Become a Better Manager" was given to a group of government middle-level managers in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines.

After preparing the objectives and content outline for the talk, visual spicers were assembled to closely correspond in sequence with the major points to be made by the speaker.

The presentation went on without any hitches and most of the participants considered the experience as interesting and personally rewarding. They commented in favorable terms about the presentation:

"an opener in the use of recycled materials"

"a good way to secure audience attention, to promote further involvement and participant empowerment."

Posters as problem-posing materials

· 1 hour
· A poster depicting a situation
· 2-30 participants, 1 facilitator

Problem-posing education is easier if posters are used to stimulate thought and discussion. The poster should provide a concrete presentation of a familiar problem, about which the group has strong feelings. The most important thing about the poster is that it raises questions or shows a problem; it does not provide solutions. A poster used in this way fulfills one of the major points of education philosophy, which is the development of critical thinking. It is different from ordinary visual aids which are merely illustrations.


A problem-posing approach to education is a technique introduced by Paolo Freire wherein a subject or theme is put under study for the participants to reflect in order to further deepen the analysis of the problems or issues affecting them.


1. To help the participants articulate their views on the issue being presented.

2. To introduce the participants to the effectiveness of problem-posing materials and give them an idea of how to use such materials in education work.


I. Choosing a poster

· Choose a poster related to the topic you want to discuss.
· Bear in mind the following points:

A poster should:

· Deal with a theme about which the participants have strong feelings about;
· Show a scene which is familiar in everyday life;
· Show contrasts and/or action to raise awareness and questions;
· Focus attention on only one theme so that the discussion can go deeply into this;
· Be simple and clear;
· Avoid distracting details, especially of irrelevant or side issues; and
· Stimulate interest and touch the heart of the group.


The subject shown in the poster should emerge from a thorough survey of the community so that it can be easily interpreted by the participants.

2. Prior to the activity

Carefully formulate the guide questions and set the limits for the discussion (depending on the activity's objectives).

3. Description of the poster

Ask questions about things which are observable in the picture and which will stir emotions such as:

· What do you see?
· What do you think each person in the poster is doing?
· What do you think each one is feeling?
· How do you think the poster was made?
· Who were the authors of this poster?

4. First analysis of the poster

Ask questions to help the participants discuss and formulate an analysis of the poster:

· What do you think is the meaning or message of the poster?
· Why are the people in the poster doing what they are doing?

5. Connection with real life

Try to connect the poster with reality.

Ask the participants:

· Does this happen in real life?
· Is this borne out by your experience?

6. Discussion of related problems

After establishing the poster's relation with real life, and discussing the situation which the poster represents, discuss related problems which may arise from the situation or issue depicted by the poster.

Ask the participants:

· What problems does this situation or issue lead to?

7. Determining the root causes

Ask the participants:

· "But why does this situation or issue exist?"

When the participants answer, ask "But why is that?" Continue to ask "But why..." until an understanding of the root cause of the situation is reached. This question is the heart of awareness-raising. This stage aims to unravel the reasons behind a certain situation or issue.


Be sensitive in probing into people's feelings.

8. Action planning

This aims to spur the participants to do something about the problem or issue.

Ask the participants:

· What can we do about the problem?

It is important to note that the discussion in this stage should be geared towards what the participants themselves can actually do to solve the problem. It should also be stressed that the outcome of this stage should be concrete steps which the participants, given their respective limitations, can take towards addressing the problem.


An analysis of the situation being depicted in the poster and possible solutions to the problem being presented.


An appropriate problem-posing poster should be chosen for this activity, otherwise the facilitator may not be able to generate reactions from the participants.


This technique was used in a gender training with urban poor women in Angeles City to determine their perception and views on the way women's bodies are treated.





stands for POINT or VIEWPOINT, perspective of the poster


stands for OPPOSITE, CONTRASTS or CONFLICTS contained in the poster that will highlight the message or content


stands for SCENE or EMOTIONS being expressed


stands for THEME or FOCUS being conveyed


stands for ELEMENTS or MATERIALS used to make or enhance the poster


stands for RELEVANCE

Photos and slides can also be used as problem-posing materials. See the activity sheet on these for advice on how to use them.


The chalk and blackboard are the most common tools to create visual aids for trainings. They are also the cheapest and most versatile. Like the AH-HAH method, chalk talk makes use of drawings to simplify complex terms and show the connection between these terms. It enables people to see, in a graphic form, their situation. However, unlike the AH-HAH method, the connections between the drawings progress along with the discussion.


AH-HAH is a training technique wherein participants draw or write in 1-3 words the first thing/idea that comes into their mind when asked about a certain concept or word. The drawings/words are pasted on the board to see the interrelations of ideas. Because it is done in a swift manner, the activity provokes discovery and realization, thus, the word AH-HAH!


· To impart skills in basic drawing.
· To lighten the discussion of a topic by helping participants express and visualize it.


· chalk or whiteboard marker/pentel pens
· blackboard/whiteboard/craft paper

Basic drawing

Drawings as visual aids have been used since ancient times. Drawings are sometimes more effective than written words because people tend to understand and remember concepts or things when they actually see them. Thus, for a facilitator to be more effective, s/he can use drawing skills. These drawing skills are only rudimentary and can easily be learned by everyone regardless of artistic skill. All that is needed is that the drawings - although simple - easily identify with real life and the topic being discussed.

Suggested approach

1. Ask volunteers to draw basic shapes and figures on the board.

2. Illustrate to them how one can form a complex figure by joining these shapes. For instance, drawing a triangle below a circle can form a person's half body.


Basic figures

3. Show how these figures can be "rounded-off" to look more human body feet man woman


4. Introduce the use of accidentals. Accidentals are shapes that you add to a figure to change the figure's character. Demonstrate how simple figures, even stick figures, can suggest different actions through minimal changes in any of the limbs, head, etc. For instance, adding a tie and a suitcase to the stick figure changes the character to a businessperson.


A number of simple figures drawn on the board

Chalk talk


I. To lighten the discussion of a topic.
2 To systematize the discussion of a topic.
3. To stress the important points in the discussion.


Suggested approach

Use chalk talk to discuss a topic. In this case, explain the concept of environmental conflict with the use of chalk talk.

I. Start by drawing the environment.

2.. Since environmental conflict can stem from debates on the ownership and stewardship of the environment, draw a hand holding the environment to stress this point.

3. Identify the stakeholders or actors in the environmental conflict by drawing representations of these around the environment.

4. Environmental conflict arises when the interests of the stakeholders or actors are not in harmony with each other. Draw each actor's interest.

5. End the discussion by synthesizing the points made in the chalk talk.




· Avoid discussing while writing on the board. Doing this means that your back is facing the participants. However, spells of silence while writing on the board may lead to boredom. While writing something on the board, ask the participants to copy other things you have written earlier.

· Avoid writing lengthily during the session. Long topics should be transferred to the board or a piece of craft paper before the session starts. Cover these while not yet in use, so as not to distract the participants.


The participants should have been able to demonstrate their views on a certain issue with the use of chalk talk.


· Helps organize the discussion by giving the group a common task: to create a picture of their present situation

· Helps record the discussion. The pictures and symbols represent all the important points made by the participants during the discussion.

· Makes use of language and symbols familiar to the participants.

· Helps the participants clarify and understand their own experience. Through their drawings, the participants describe their world and gain a sense of control of their lives.

· Helps the participants piece together the fragments they already know into an integrated picture of their situation.


For the participants:

· Keeps them abreast of the discussion
· Helps them concentrate on the discussion
· Gives them better grasp of the topic
· Serves as a guide for note making.

For the facilitator, chalk talk:

· Helps in catching and maintaining the interest of the participants
· Helps focus the attention of the participants to the discussion
· Helps in stressing important points
· Assists in explaining the topic to the participants
· Aids in maintaining the systematic/orderly flow of the discussion.


Outcome of the activity may not be kept for future reference if chalk and blackboard were used. However, manila or craft paper may be used as alternative materials if you plan to use the participants' chalk talk product in the future.


· Plan and practice before teaching chalk-talk.

· First, write the outline of the topic to serve as a discussion guide.

· Writings/drawings on the board should be neat and large enough for easy reading. To highlight important points, one can use bold letters, underline them or use a different color.

· Remove all obstructions that may block the view of the participants. Every participant should be able to see what is written on the board without difficulty.

· Give enough time for the participants to copy what is written on the board.

· Ask participants if they have finished copying what is on the board before erasing it. This signals the end of a session and the start of a new one.


The chalk-talk module was introduced in the Basic Popular Education Training for grassroots educators in Cavite, Philippines. The module on visual arts was given during the latter port of the training. At first, the participants were hesitant to draw on the board. However, after learning that simple shapes could form a complex figure and that practising their newly acquired skill was easy, all of them participated in drawing their community situation. Self expression though pictures gives advice on other ways of developing participants' artistic expression.


Comic love




Comic art - How do we do it?




* Stop making sense... human beings will start trying to find meaning in even, the most illogical sequences, with sometimes surprising insight.

Run for your life!!!




· Remove the text and get people to decide what the picture tells them.
· Draw your own comic strip to illustrate your arguments.
· Get participants draw their own comics strip to express ideas during training.

How do words & pictures work together?




Be on the lookout

For humorous comic strips that are related to your training topic/clip them from daily newspaper, etc.

Enlarge the strips and place them onto "VISUAL SPICER" (see activity sheets) or OHP transparencies.

When doing your presentations, get your participants comments on how the strip is related to your point.



What else? The sky is the limit...

These are just few ideas to stimulate your creative understanding of comics you will now hopefully read comics in a different way,

Could you help communities develop comics depicting their own story (see the activity sheet on CASE STUDIES)? These will help communities become aware of their current situation awareness leads to under-stamping, and understanding leads to action.

Reference: adapted from Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud, 1993, Kitchen Sink Press, Northampton, UK


· any time during the training
· Needs space and tables

A means by which participants any kind of training explore, express and share their personal perspective by crystallizing this in a picture.



This can be done:

· at the beginning of a training so that participants and facilitators gain an early understanding of their own and each others' perspectives, and of the issues that are important to them. This can then be explored in greater depth in the training.

· whenever a new 'theme' is introduced as an energizer.

· at the end of a training for participants and facilitators to reflect on what they have learnt from the training. (If this had been also done at the beginning, it is interesting to compare their pictures to see if and how the participants' perspective has changed).


· pencils (Hb and/or B)
· paper
· erasers
· colored crayons (optional)


· best with up to 20 participants
· Facilitators - ideally with some flair for art and design.

Suggested approach (using drawing techniques)

1. Ask the participants to fill a piece of paper with wild, bold lines and squiggles. The aim of this is to 'loosen up' their hands, as inexperienced drawers tend to draw in a cramped way. Encourage them to hold the pencil at different angles in order to explore different thicknesses of lines.

2. Let the participants take 10 minutes to produce a drawing on a particular theme (see example 1). Encourage them to draw big and not to worry about their "artistic skill'; this is about their ideas and expression. Discourage them from using the erasers too much. Do a drawing yourself.

3. Ask each participant to explain their picture to the rest of the group, and encourage the others to give feedback after each one. (If the participants are hesitant to start, 'break the ice' by going first yourself.)

4. Once everyone has described their own pictures, ask the group if they can see any links or contrasts in the various pictures.

5. Pin the pictures up on the wall to liven up the surroundings for the rest of the training, and for reviewing later.


Variation 1: Printing from objects


· stamp pads of different colored ink
· paper
· objects from the surrounding environment
· cutters

Suggested approach

Ask the participants to make their picture by printing from objects that they find around them. They can use leaves, stones, bark, flowers, parts of their body, paper, bottle tops, fabric, etc. Tell them to press these into the stamp pads and print them onto the paper. Allow 20 minutes for them to make their prints. Then follow steps 3-5 in the main method.

Explore printing effects, e.g.:


· by observing the patterns found in natural objects such as what you find if you cut through banana plants;


· by dragging an object across the paper;


· by printing one object over the print of another;


· By repeatedly printing from the same object. If they do not re-ink the object, they can achieve fading effects.

Variation 2: Printing from erasers/vegetables


· erasers and/or 2 cm thick slices of potatoes or any other vegetable that can be cut to give a hard, smooth surface.
· cutters
· paper
· stamp pads of different colored ink


Printing from natural objects is particularly effective when the theme you want to explore is how participants perceive the natural environment.

Suggested approach

1. Ask the participants to cut designs out of erasers or potatoes. If using erasers, all six sides can be used. Encourage participants to explore using different widths of cut. Tell them to press the eraser/potato into the ink and print from it.

2. Allow 30 minutes for this variation, because practising how to make the cuts takes time.

3. Then follow steps 3-5 in the main method.


Variation 3: Collage


· paper and/or card
· glue
· scissors
· knives
· a pile of 'un-needed' objects, e.g., flowers, feathers, leaves, twigs, silver foil, from collection of cigarette cartons, string, magazine and newspaper pictures, fabric.


Suggested approach

1. Ask the participants to choose materials from the pile or from whatever they find around them and glue them onto the paper to make a picture. They might want to try making a three-dimensional collage by using a card.

2. Allow 30 minutes.

3. Then follow steps 3-5 in the main method.

Group work

You can also ask participants to work in small groups to discuss their different perspectives on a theme, and put these together in one picture. This works particularly well with collage, as this medium can combine different elements. Stress that everyone should participate.


· A visual record of the perspectives of the participants and facilitators.

· The participants learn basic art and printing skills that they can use for information sharing and advocacy materials or for decoration in their own communities and homes.


· Effective in drawing out the perspectives of even the quieter participants, particularly if individual pictures are made.

· Effective in encouraging reflection.

· A practical activity that provides a break and 'wakes up' participants.

· If you take photos of these pictures, the photos can communicate visually the content of the training, e.g., to show to potential participants, funding agencies, etc.


· It is hard to communicate complex perspectives in one drawing. This can lead to misleading pictures or pictures that fall back on clichés.

· Variations 1-3 take up quite a lot of time - including clearing up time - and participants can get very absorbed in their work - so these are unsuitable if you are simply looking for a quick energizer or 'scene setter'.

· Some participants may be very self-conscious about producing pictures. It is best to sound out participants during pre-training discussions on what they are willing to try, particularly if art is going to be a large component of the training. The following 'starter activity' can help build people's confidence.

Starter activity

Inexperienced artists may find a blank piece of paper fills them with dread; here is a way to get over this:

· Prepare sheets of paper, each with a small piece or 'starter' torn from a magazine stuck on it (in any position). The starter piece should be abstract, rather than showing any recognisable form. Offer a choice of starter papers to the participants and ask them to create their own picture around the starter piece, using any of the materials available.


Example 1

At an art and printing workshop in Baguio City, Philippines, participants were asked as a 'getting to know each other' exercise to draw a picture of an object that symbolized themselves. For example, a fisherfolk drew a bed and explained that was because he liked to have time on his own to daydream; another man drew a hammer as that was port of his work; a young man drew a picture of flowers because he said he was romantic; a woman farmer drew a river with many bends symbolizing her life journey, and an urban woman drew a wilted flower as she felt that just as the flower faded because it did not have enough water, so she had also faded because she had not had enough love and support.


This exercise requires some soul bearing and can produce emotional responses. The woman who drew the wilting flower began to cry as she was describing this. Also the young man who drew the flowers came in for some teasing from the other men and the women. If this kind of exercise is done, it is best to discuss first how each other's expressions should be treated in confidence and respect. Also, if things do get emotional, you may need to talk this through with the group before moving on, or perhaps have a one-on-one chat with the person involved, while the others carry on with the activity. Ask him or her: 'How did you feel about the exercise?'. 'Are you OK now?. 'Is there anything else you want to talk about now?'

Example 2

At a gender workshop in Baguio City, Nortern Philippines, participants produced collages by group, on the theme of what they perceived as the main problems for their communities.


A group of vegetable vendors did a three-dimensional collage of a man hitting a woman, by using rolled up Manila paper glued to a large piece of paper to represent their bodies. They used purple leaves to show the woman's bruised eyes, and star-shaped silver foil to symbolize the punching.


A group of farmers showed the effect of drought by having one side of the picture lush with leaves and the other with just bare sticks and the words DRY cut from a magazine.


Another group of farmers stuck a fish bone in a river made of blue paper, and used a cigarette end as a smoking factory chimney, with the background paper burnt brown, to show a polluted environment.


A group of fishers stuck cutouts of people on to a three-dimensional base made of magazine pictures of food to show the importance of food.

In the two examples above, art played a major part in the workshops, and so artists from local arts guild acted as facilitators in partnership with the NGO facilitators. This gave the artist a chance to do outreach work in the communities. Because of the friendships formed, a community-based organization in Ifugao is now trying to set up its own arts guild. Perhaps you can network with local arts groups to enhance your trainings.

Example 3

During waste management trainings in Samar, Philippines, participants were asked to draw their answer to the following question:

'What is waste to me? Why is it waste to me and where does it come from?'

Making pictures has also been used as a visioning tool, representing how the participants would like their natural environment to be in the future. An action plan can be made from the group's visions.


Body language

· Two facilitators
· Up to 30 participants
· May last up to three hours

Body language is using the body as a means of expression. It is an important part of communication particularly for sign language users. It helps convey emotions and everyday needs without using the voice.



· To provide an awareness of how to use body language.
· To help participants perform in drama productions or mimes.


deaf - audiological condition of not hearing, i.e., non-cultural aspects of hearing loss, medical/pathological perspectives

Deaf - cultural aspects of deaf people, deaf people as a cultural-linguistic minority

Source: Padden, C. 1989. The Deaf Community and the Culture of Deaf People. American Deaf Culture.


· flash cards with words of different emotions and/or with numbers to show intensity of emotions from 1 -5
· whiteboard, pens, eraser, paper
· blind fold
· personal things that participants wear e.g., watch, glasses, jewelry, etc.
· pictures of people smiling, standing on the street and looking at other people, etc.
· pictures of facial expressions

Suggested approach

The facilitator should follow the procedures below for the following different body language activities.


· Facilitators should demonstrate slowly. They should not use their voices when conducting the activities.
· Facilitators should be aware that in some of these activities, there is a need for people to touch each other.

A. Facial expression

Practice on facial expression

1. Demonstrate a facial expression.
2. Ask the participants to guess the emotion that your facial expression represents.

Making facial expression for names

1. Show how to make your own name using facial expression. For example, if a person is shy, the sign name may be a shy-look of the face.

2. Ask the participants to make their names using facial expressions.


Mirror activity

1. Choose one participant.

2. Show your facial expression.

3. Ask her/him to copy your facial expression.

4. Then ask all participants to group into two and then ask each pair to take turns to copy each other's facial expression.


Intensity of facial expression

1. Explain the intensity of a facial expression, e.g., I -5; 5-1.

2. Demonstrate one example of a facial expression showing the different intensity.

3. Show a flashcard with a number, e.g. 3, and ask the participants to demonstrate the appropriate corresponding facial expression.


4. Show more flashcards with different numbers within the range of 1-5 to test if participants understand the different intensity of facial expression.


Picture of facial expression

1. Choose one participant and show her/him a picture of a person's facial expression.
2. Ask the participant to mimic the facial expression as shown in the picture.
3. Show more pictures with different facial expressions to the rest of the participants.
4. Ask them to mimic the facial expression of each picture shown.


B. Body movement

This includes the use of head, hands and whole body to convey a message.

Mirror activity

1. Ask one participant to mimic your facial expression, head movement and hand movement, as in a mirror.
2. Ask participants to get into pairs and do the mirror activity.


Copy body movement

1. Invite participants to form a circle.

2. Ask any of the participants in the circle to make a gesture with her/his body, e.g., stand with hands on the hip. The person to the right replicates the same gesture. Like dominoes falling, everyone follows the same gesture.

3. Ask a volunteer to make another; gesture and then follow the same principle used above.


Guess the leader


1. Ask the participants to form a circle.

2. Ask a volunteer participant to leave the room.

3. Instruct one participant in the circle to lead a movement, e.g., waving of hands. Everyone then follows this movement. S/he may change the movement anytime but everyone must follow.

4. The volunteer outside re-enters the room and tries to guess the participant who initiated the changing movement of the participants in the circle.

5. The changing movement of the participants of the circle continues until the volunteer locates the person who initiated the change of every action done by the group.

Spot the changes

1. Choose one participant from the group.

2. Ask her/him to observe and remember what you are wearing.

3. Ask the participant to turn around or look away.

4. Rearrange the location of at least five things that you are wearing, e.g., transfer your watch from your left arm to your right arm, etc.

5. Ask the participant to face you again and ask him/her to identify what has changed and put them into the right places.

6. Ask all participants to form pairs and play the same guessing game.


Copy my stance

1. Choose one participant from the group.

2. Blindfold the participant. Assume a pose (e.g., saluting, shooting a basketball, squatting, etc.) and keep still.

3. Ask the same participant to trace the outline of your body position.

4. Ask him/her to copy your pose.

5. Ask participants to form pairs and play the same posing game.


Acting out

1. Write the names of famous places (e.g., Empire State Building) or famous people (e.g., Michael Jackson) on small pieces of paper. Be sure to write only one person or place on a single paper.

2. Ask one participant to pick one paper.

3. Instruct the participant to act out the place or person indicated in the paper, e.g., if Michael Jackson was picked, then the participant acts out singing and dancing.



By the end of the session, the participants should be able to use

· basic sign language for signing their names;
· facial expressions to communicate; and
· body movement to communicate.


· Aids acquisition of communication skills through body language and eye contact.

· Adds fun to the introduction of learning sign language.

· Fosters deeper understanding of Deaf people and why they use facial expressions and body movement for communication.


This was successfully tried in 1991 among 26 participants at the College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines, with Deaf facilitators. It is still being used effectively as part of a Deaf Awareness information campaign to promote understanding of Deaf Culture.

Visual gestural communication

· One or two facilitators
· Up to 30 participants
· Facilitators should decide how long the session will be, possibly up to eight hours.


Visual Gestural Communication (VGC) is a mode of communication where people do not use voice but use gestures to understand each other. It is a nonverbal communication that helps participants learn how to use gesture without speaking and to experience the world of silence.

The session encourages participants improve their non-verbal communication skills (after Body Language, which is a pre-requisite for VGC).


You are not using your voice!



· pencils, sign pen, colored pens and papers
· handshape cards

Suggested approach

A. Basic gestures for participants' names

Ask the participants to exaggerate their own features by gesturing.



Activity should be in a quiet place without visual distractions to prevent disruption.

B. Warm-up exercises

1. Do various forms of facial expression and body movement (see Body language).

2. Ask individual participants to volunteer in leading the warm-up exercises. Use a maximum of five participants.


C. Activities


1. Ask a participant from the group to join you and copy you like a mirror. This is more complicated then the Mirror activity in Body Language. For example, use gesture sign with hands that the participant should follow.

2. Ask participants to form a pair and do the same activity.


Ball and/or sticks

Ask the participants to form a circle. Position your hands as though holding a ball and/or a stick and pass it to another participant. The participant should make the ball or stick in their own way (for example, s/he can bounce the ball in acting, then pass it to another participant of her/his choice).



Handshape of 'S'

Ask participants to form a circle. Start with sign for 'S' (see illustration) handshape and use it to punch, then the next participant on your left to think of different use of 'S' handshape (for example, to bang the table) and so on.

Now, do the same using the handshape '1' and '0'.


Create a scene/story

1. Ask participants to form a circle while one participant demonstrates a short story (of around 2-3 minutes) using gestural signs. For example, what they have been doing at home.

2. Ask participants to write down what they understand by the story.

3. Let the participants show their written explanations to the story actor to see, by the actor's expression and gesture, how close they were.

4. Ask another participant from the group to volunteer to do the same activity using their own story.

Elephant game

1. Ask participants to form a circle while you stand in the middle of the circle.

2. Point to one of the participants. The chosen participant clenches his/her fist together over the nose to make a trunk while the participants on both sides lift their hands to cup her/his ears to make them bigger. This forms the shape of the elephant's head.

3. Next, s/he points to another participant who follows the same procedure and so on. This is a warm-up exercise.

4. When participants understand how to play, the game starts again. If a participant makes a mistake, he/she leaves the game. The game becomes faster as it progresses, making it more challenging. The last person in the game wins.


The game can be varied and made more difficult by pointing at more than one person at once.


By the end of the session, the participants should be able to:

· develop an appreciation for VGC; and

· send and receive basic information and/or messages using appropriate facial expression, natural gestures, pantomime and other non-manual signals.


· Understanding how to use gesture improves participants' general communication skills.

· Enjoyable and fun!

· Helps participants communicate with people who speak a different language, such as foreigners or Deaf people.


· Participants may be too shy to perform.


What is the difference between deaf and Deaf?

deaf - audiological condition of not hearing

Deaf - particular group of deaf people who share a language and culture

Source: Padden, C. and T. Humphries. 1988. Deaf in America.


VGC was successfully tried in 1991 among 26 people at the College of Saint Benilde, Manila, Philippines and was facilitated by Deaf trainors. It is still being used effectively as part of a Deaf Awareness information campaign to promote understanding of the Deaf Culture.

Shadow plays

Shadow plays are performed at night or in a dark room. The players set up a screen and place a light behind it. They work or perform on the side of the screen with the light behind them so that it casts their shadows on to the screen.

Shadow plays encourage participation and self-expression. Performers can use shadow plays to experiment with different images and challenge traditional concepts. Shadow plays are an exaggerated form of expression, which serves as an emotional release for many performers.



Shadow plays are used to emphasize messages and convey emotions, feelings and sensitive scenarios. Shadow plays are useful when people are shy and do not like performing. They are also very powerful in presenting subjects such as violence, harassment, etc.


· light source, e.g., electric light bulb, candle
· screen
· paper cutouts


· colored light
· music
· script

Suggested approach

Shadow play - outdoors

The light source

Use any available safe light source which performers can not knock over such as:

· electric light bulbs - check availability of electricity source
· oil, gas or paraffin lamps
· a candle in a tall bottle

Fixing the light source

Place the light source at the center of the screen at an angle, which fills as much of the screen as possible with light. An electric bulb is safe to fix at the bottom of the screen. Push a sturdy stick into the ground so that it stands level with the bottom of the screen. Tie the bulb holder to the stick.


Using a naked flame

Tie the oil, gas or paraffin lamps to a stick behind the screen, near the top and two feet away. A candle in a tall bottle can be placed in a hole in the ground or attached to a stick, two feet away from the screen.


Be aware of any potential fire hazards!

Making the screen

1. Use muslin, thin cotton, sheeting, paper or milky plastic as a screen.

2 Test each material by holding it up to the light and ask someone to stand and move close to and away from the material on the side of the light source. The material is suitable if you can see outlines of shadows.

3. Make sure the screen is large enough to accommodate all the performers. 4 Stretch the material tight.

Erecting the screen

I. Make a frame out of wood or bamboo of any size, but make the vertical pieces three feet longer so they can be pushed into the ground.

2 Place the four pieces on the ground.

3. Bind or nail corners firmly.

4 With the frame still on the ground, attach the screen along each side for a tight fit.

5. Sew or pin the screen to it.

6. Stand the frame upright and push the two vertical legs into the ground. It may need extra support to make it stable.

7. Erect the screen so that the players are hidden.



You can also hang the screen between trees, high roofs or rocks. Tie a piece of string firmly around each of the four corners of the screen. Tie the two pieces of string at the top of the screen to projections or branches so that the screen is of the correct height. Anchor the two strings at the bottom of the screen with heavy stones or tie them onto sticks pushed into the ground.


If the screen needs extra support, tie strings around the tops of the vertical poles so that they reach the ground at the back and front of the frame, at about 60-degree to the upright. The strings act as guy ropes - like a tent. Tie a loop to each end of string. Pull the string at the front and back of the frame at the same time to make the frame vertical and stable. Sharpen four sticks and place them through the loops, then secure them into the ground.


Shadow play - indoors

Fixing the light source

A 150 W floodlight gives a good effect if the room is dark.


Performers should move away from the source of light when not performing.

Erecting the screen

Use an open doorway or arch to erect the screen. Use drawing pins, nails, sharp sticks or wire to fasten the screen to the frame.

Preparing and performing the shadow play

Prepare a basic storyboard about your play. This is a pictorial sequence of scenes. Practise your positions for the best effects. Remember to exaggerate your movements. If a narrator is needed, prepare a script. They should stand at the front and to the side of the screen.


· Colored light and music will help vary the mood.

· Experiment with cutouts for setting a scene e.g., tree, table, etc. These can be stuck on to the sheet using adhesive tape.

· Use colored tissue to create a better effect - the light will filter through. Use tissue to give an impression of movement, e.g., bird.

Begin the shadow play. Seat the audience in front of the screen and let them watch the moving shadows. The shadows are clear or blurred, huge or tiny depending on how far from or close to the screen the performers are.


You can make a small screen and use hand movements, puppets or paper to animate a storytelling session.


· Useful where people are shy of performing.
· Can portray sensitive subjects without embarrassment.
· Can emphasize or diminish threatening behavior depending on how clear or blurred the shadow is.
· Can be as simple, or elaborate, as you like.
· Can be used as an evaluation technique.


· The light source may fail.
· Material for the screen may not be readily available.
· Does not display facial expression - only exaggerated body language.


· Shadow play was used at a gender workshop at the Foundation for Huwomanity-Centered Development (FHCD) in Baguio City, Philippines, for people's organizations from the communities. Two of the subjects covered were sexual harassment and violence against women. It was used for participants to evaluate topics discussed and what they understood of them.

· The shadow play was performed in a room with a Tungsten Flood 150 W light bulb, a muslin sheet as a screen and windows darkened by blankets. The screen was prepared as above and tied between a blackboard and a bookcase. The shadow play was followed by small group discussion about the types of messages conveyed throughout the shadow play.


· In Indonesia, shadow play is an old tradition which passes legends and fables down through the generations. The battle between good and evil is usually the focus. The stories are well loved and shown on special occasions such as births and marriages.

Easy puppets

Puppets are small models that can be used to illustrate a story or situation. Their use can help people discuss sensitive issues more easily.


Finger puppets

This is an extension of the single finger puppet - used on first fingers to entertain children. They can be (used to animate a story while it is being read. Either the reader or a helper can control the puppets.


· cloth - flour sacks are cheapest
· scissors
· sewing needles and pins
· thread
· marker pens


Whenever using scissors and needles, supervise children.

Suggested approach

I. Trace around both hands - fingers apart, allowing extra for sewing seams and turning inside out.

Tracing can be done on a piece of craft paper, to make a pattern, or directly onto material. Material should be double with the 'right sides' together


· You can make different hats from paper to place on puppets' head to change the character, e.g., nurse, rice planter, etc.


· Use a rolled up tube of paper with a face to slip over your finger instead of gloves.


2. Pin the two pieces of material together.

3. Sew round the edges leaving an opening big enough for the hand to get into the glove easily.

4. When they are sewn together, turn the glove inside out and ease it onto your hand to check the fitting.

5. Make a list of the characters you wish to have. These may be related to a particular story or you may want general characters for more varied use, e.g., farmer, mother, nurse, child, fly, dog, etc.

6. Decide which finger will be most suitable for each character. If you have two gloves it will be better to put those characters who will interact most on opposite hands e.g., mother - child, nurse - child.

7. Draw the faces on the tip of each finger with a marker pen. You may like to practise on paper first.

You now have a pair of puppet gloves to animate storytelling. Practise actions of each character while reading the story before you present them to your audience. It is essential that the reader is skilled in reading and able to use a different voice for each character. At the appearance of a character in the story, the finger with that face should be shown. When there is a dialogue they should appear to be talking to each other. It would be easier with two people - one for the story and one for the puppets but it is possible for the storyteller alone to manipulate the puppets.



· Portable and fun
· Bring a story to life


A model for a full glove with faces on each finger was made in a Child to Child Workshop, for training Community Health Workers in Santol, La Union, Philippines. The health worker wished to make puppets to tell a story about health to children but decided she would be unable to manipulate them, thus losing the effect. She decided to draw around her hand to make a pattern for a glove. The idea was to have the faces of the characters in the story on the fingers. After discussion it was agreed that two gloves would be needed to portray all the characters.


Puppets are small which may not be good for a large audience. But at the workshop where it was devised, the children were intrigued by the idea. They watched and wanted to try it for themselves. It needs some practice to present the right characters at the right part of the story.

Other easy puppets

Plant or vegetable puppets


Be careful in using the cutting tools.

Plant puppets are easy to make by cutting or drawing faces on yams, cassava, pumpkin, carrots, etc. Use bamboo sticks or skewers as handles.


Stick puppets

Children can easily make stick puppets. Older children can teach the younger ones how to make faces with different expressions. If a puppet needs two expressions, put two cardboard drawings back to back on a stick. During the show, turn the puppet to show the face you want.


Sock puppet

Sock puppets make use of socks to depict a character in a presentation.



1. Put the sock on your hand with your fingers where the toes should be and your thumb where the heel should be.


2. Bend your hand slightly and mark where the eyes and nose should go.

3. Cut a forked tongue from felt and stick and sew into position.

4. Decorate the body by sticking brightly colored bits of felt and buttons, sequins, etc.

Paper bag puppets

Paper bag puppets are made of paper bags inserted in the hands.

Open and close your hand to make it eat and speak.

To make a bigger puppet, attach a cardboard face to the bag.



· Easily made
· Easily used
· Materials are readily available.


The bag puppets are useful in teaching about care of teeth, but con also be used to indicate speech in any character. The stick puppets were used very successfully by children in Ajoya, Mexico where they enacted a story about Diarrhea and the Special Drink (Rehydration Solution)

Source: Werner, D. and B. Bower. Helping Health Workers Learn.

Basic theater skills

· 2 hours
· 20-30 participants

Theater is a common method used in training activities. It comes in different forms: role play and tableau(x) or body sculpture. It is a very effective method in education especially when dealing with people's experiences. Theater can depict life as it is, making the learning process more realistic and experiential.



1. To help participants release dormant personal creativity and artistic abilities.

2. To help them relate constructively and cooperatively with each other, to forge or consolidate teamwork and community spirit.

3. To help the participants acquire basic skills in theater arts.

Suggested approach

Give me a shape

Individual shapes

1. Ask the participants to imagine any part of their body as a pencil.

2. Ask them to use this point (part of the body) to write different letters of the alphabet. Start with using simple parts then progress to less commonly used parts of the body - e.g., finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, toe, heel, knee, buttocks, hips, chest, chin, lips, tongue, head and eyes.

Group shape

1. Divide the participants into groups with five members each.

2. Name an object or shape and ask one group to form the object in 10 seconds.

3. Ask them to freeze or hold their position.

4. Ask other groups to watch and comment on how to make the shape clearer.

5. Name another object and ask another group to form that object

6. Ask the remaining groups to select the best group shape, based on imagination, detail and clarity of form or shape.


Complex group shape

1. Divide the participants into four groups.

2. Proceed as in the earlier exercise but this time, give shapes that are more complex. (e.g., bowl of boiling noodles, a carabao that walks and makes sounds)

3. Encourage the groups to produce sounds appropriate for the shape created.


Give me shape and space

Divide the participants into three groups. Proceed as in the complex group shape exercise, but this time, tell the groups that they are to create a suggestion of space using the body, and that they may use their bodies as elements of whatever space they create. Give them 10 seconds to do the task. Examples:

· inside a can of sardines; and
· inside a jeepney full of passengers



Tableau is a form of body sculpture where the performers depict a situation not by speaking lines or making body movements, but by posing (i.e., remaining motionless) to express the action. Tableaux are also known as "people sculptures".

1. Prepare some pictures that depict action. (They may be taken from a newspaper.)

2. Divide the participants into three groups.

3. Give each group a scene to imitate. Prior to this, instruct them that they are to create a story out of the picture shown, and that they will have to show the beginning and middle of the story before making a tableau of the end.

4. Let each group demonstrate their scene.

5. Ask other groups to comment on what the performers have shown.

Chain story

1. Ask each participants to write one or two lines of speech on a sheet of paper from an imagined dialogue.

2. Mix up the written lines and ask each participant to pick a line and memorize it.

3. Ask the whole group to make a story out of the lines they have, by each participant saying their line at what seems to be an appropriate moment. The last scene should be presented as a tableau.

Basic theater skills

Guide questions to ask after the chain story.

1. What were the characters portrayed?

2. What made each character in the tableau recognizable and credible? What made it distinct from the others?

3. Did the speaking lines help in creating distinctions? Did they also help in giving character or story to the tableau(x)?



Tableaux were used in a Theater Arts training for grassroots leaders in La Union. The leaders staged a production during their graduation, and presented their output in the form of a chain story activity.

How to do street theater

Street theater is a very powerful education tool. It has its roots in story telling - an important tradition in many parts of the world. Street theater using mime, song and dance are all extensions of this. They are forms of communication that are commonly understood. It can be a comfortable method of communication, both transmitting clear messages in a non-patronizing, humorous way and also allowing awareness and understanding through discussion.


Street theater shows have been used to communicate simple messages. These could be performed anywhere - to small groups at training sessions or to large crowds at markets and schools. Street theater could grab people's attention and hold it where other methods would fail.

Development of shows

1. Research the subject fully and make sure that everyone involved with the show understands the subject. Organize an information session on your chosen topic. This will enable you to find out about experiences vital to your show and note any characteristics for realistic performance.

2. Collect teaching materials of different kinds on the topic, e.g., written or visual and analyze the messages and method of presentation.

3. Contact any other groups performing dramas, songs, and dances on this topic and learn from their experiences.

4. Identify the most important messages of the chosen topic for different audiences, e.g., market, school, training session.

5. Brainstorm to gather ideas about how the message can be communicated, the plot line, characters, etc. From this list, the best ideas can be chosen and developed.


6. Make up plots to convey the agreed messages for dramas bearing in mind the limitations of the street theater medium, i.e., time, visibility, audibility, number of actors, etc.

7. Distribute roles and act out plays.

8. Make up songs to convey agreed upon messages using popular local songs.

9. Decide on the questions for the end of each show and select a questioner/announcer.

10. Make lists of necessary props and costumes for each scene and collect them.

11. Practice the show to make sure they run smoothly. Do not overpractice, as spontaneity will be lost. Keep the show's length to a maximum of 30 minutes.

12. Pre-test shows with office staff, or other friendly audiences. Take a video if possible. Amend the show according to comments from audience and experiences while performing.

Administrative preparations for touring

1. Find out which days the markets are open. Find out the opening times of local schools and health clinics. Work out an itinerary based on this information.

2. Get permission to perform from the authorities. Notify the police posts where performances are to be held.

3. Notify schools and clinics in advance of the date, time and nature of the performance. Make use of newsletters, local newspapers, local radio and public announcements to advertise the show.

4. Fill in posters and handouts with relevant details for distribution at markets. Prepare information sheets and copies of songs for schools. Make adequate copies of evaluation sheets and result forms.

5. Check that repairs to materials (tent or backdrop, carrying bags and musical instruments, etc.) have been carried out.

6. Estimate expenditure for tour, organize float and a record sheet for expenses.

Backdrops, tents and performing booths

If shows are performed in one place or indoors, a tent is not essential. A piece of rope stretched between two trees, pillars, etc., with a sheet suspended from it will provide an adequate changing room for such situations, and a place to stand behind while waiting to appear.

Backdrops can be plain in color or used to indicate a location. Trees or other objects can be stuck on with Velcro (or similar) and removed during performance to change scenes.


The element of surprise is a feature of a good street theater. The characters should avoid lingering around the performance area when they are not performing as this might distract the audience.

Preparations at location

1. Visit the market area, school, clinic, etc. Decide on the best place for the performance (higher or lower than where the crowd will gather). Decide on best timing for shows.

2. Visit the police post and tell them when the market show will be held. Ask for assistance with crowd control.

3. Arrive at the site shortly before the time of the first performance. Rope off the performance area and erect a tent or backdrop quickly. Avoid a long gap between putting up the backdrop and starting performance.

4. Do a voice test. How loud must voices be to be heard?

5. Pin up lists of props/costumes at the back of the backdrop. Each actor should be responsible for what they need and put their materials in a particular place behind the backdrop.


Public performance

1. Invite police, teachers and clinic staff to help seat the crowd for the performance.

2. Play music and juggle while the crowd gathers and is seated.

3. Announce the start of the performance and invite for applause.

4. While performing, wait for crowd laughter to die down before continuing speech. Don't rush the performance.

5. Speak loudly and slowly.

6. Sing the songs outside the tent or backdrop.

7. When questioning the audience after the show, repeat correct answers and ask for applause for each correct response.

8. At the end, thank the crowd and ask them to disperse.


Evaluation techniques

Market place evaluations

1. One actor should ask short 'yes/no' questions to the crowd at the end of each show. (Questions could be more specific if it is a small audience known to the actors.)

2. Actors should join the crowd to catch spectators before they disperse. They should record answers on evaluation sheets. They should ask as wide a variety of people as possible (e.g., all ages and both sexes).

3. The results of evaluation should be analyzed as soon as possible after each performance so that changes to the show can be made accordingly, e.g., if certain messages are not being understood, amend the drama to make them clear.

4. It may not be necessary to conduct written evaluations of each show throughout a tour. However, it is essential to do so at the start and useful from time to time thereafter as a reminder to the performers that their main purpose is to communicate the selected messages and not just to draw large crowds.

Suggestions for lively street theater



· Men dressed as women

· Long gaps between scenes

· Comic village stereotypes,

· Fast speech

e.g., drunkards, bazaar 'lads', traditional healers, dishonest merchants, etc.

· Exaggerated characterizations

· More than one person speaking at a time

· Villain/hero conflicts

· Scenes involving sitting or lying down

· Macabre incidents

· Long speeches or dialogues without action

· Dance and song

· One actor playing different roles

· Actors asking audience simple questions

· Complicated plots and detailed scripts

· A few simple messages and repetition of these

· Audience participation

· Spontaneous and lively, with minimum characters


VSO Training Course for Development Workers: "Working with Communities"

Basic Popular Education Training. Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE)

Role play

Role play is an activity where participants act out a situation and the facilitator leads the discussion of ideas and feelings that emerge. Participants receive a problem situation and a short description of the characters. They take the role of the characters and make up their own lines.



Role play is often used to show the emotional reactions of people involved in the situation and can be used to practise interaction with other people.

Other uses of role play are:

· training and communication;
· behaviour rehearsal and behavior modeling; demonstration; and
· assessment and evaluation.

Suggested materials

· objects to make the scene more realistic (e.g., tables, chairs, brooms, etc.);
· costumes or clothes appropriate to the role the person is playing;
· posters or signs (e.g., a sign saying, "welcome to your health clinic"); and
· props (e.g., dolls, cardboard animals).


· Basins or tubs are useful in making the sound of someone knocking on a door.
· Crinkle some cellophane to sound like fire.
· All role play action should start from the left side of the training venue.

Types of role play

A role play can be acted out by several groups at once or by only one group. The single group role play is done when one group carries out the role play in front of the rest of the participants. In the multiple role play, several small groups are established. These groups then act out the same play simultaneously. Experiences, thoughts and emotions from the role play are then reported back to the entire group.


Suggested approach


· Guide questions must be very clear to come up with the desired output, if not the whole activity could get out of hand.

· To avoid confusion, do not give suggestions or instructions during the activity.


1. Choose a problem situation related to your objectives, interesting to your learners and suitable for acting.

2. Collect all the props and materials needed for the session.

3. Plan some questions to ask during the preview discussion.

4. Describe the characters and roles to your participants.

5. Choose two or three participants to act as characters in the role play and encourage them to feel and act like the characters they are supposed to be.


1. Be sure that everyone can see and hear well enough to follow the role play.

2. Watch carefully to see if the players are raising issues appropriate to the main problem. Take notes during the role play and refer to your notes during the discussion that follows.

3. Watch everyone else during the role play to see if they are still interested, or are becoming bored and restless.

4. Stop the role play when you feel the actors have shown the feelings and ideas which are important to the situation.

5. Thank the actors for their help and good work.


I. Ask the actors and other participants to discuss their feelings, what they discovered during the activity, how this relates to what they already know and how this information can help them in their daily lives and work.


Sometimes, situations can be emotional, so debriefing must be done sensitively. Remind the participants that they must "de-role" and become themselves again. A relaxation technique can help reduce emotional tension and refocus on reality.

2. Refer to the questions that you have prepared. When you have posed all the questions, move onto the next stage.


1. Ask the participants if this was a valuable activity for them: why or why not?

2. Listen to the comments. Do the participants have a better understanding of personal feelings and values which are part of the problem or situation?

3. Ask for suggestions on how the role play could be improved next time.


· A very flexible activity because it can be used any time in the workshop and for most topics of discussion.

· Can be done two to three times eliciting various outcomes. Can also be interrupted mid-flow to debrief on feelings at the height of action.

· Identifies attitude changes effectively by placing people in specific roles. This demonstrates that a person's behavior is not only a function of their personality but also of the situation they happen to be in.

· Shows different ways of handling a problem or situation.


· Sometimes, participants are inhibited by either personality or cultural norms.



It may take a long time for groups to get organized and be ready for the presentation.

A group, who has been provided with a safe forum for expressing their emotional feelings could now more easily work out any conflicts between them or with other related parties. The role play activity has enabled the group to work together and a discussion of the problem or issues can now be facilitated.


Role play can be useful to facilitate discussions of illegal fishing and fishery laws in communities and to help in seminars on apprehension, arrest, filing of cases and court room procedures. One example can be the fish warden deputy training. Participants can act out different scenes during the life of fisherfolk, fish wardens, representatives from the Department of Agriculture and court fiscals, etc.

A discussion about illegal fishing occurs. Another participant can then join in the role play as a fish warden.

A fisherfolk is "caught in the act" using illegal means of fishing. What happens next? What issues are raised? For effective synthesis, the following questions can be asked to start, discussion:

· What did you feel as you were acting out the role?
· Has this situation or something similar ever happened to you in your community or in your line of work?
· What did you do? What did other people do in such a situation?
· What insights have you gained regarding the role of a fish warden and the culture of the people?


Animated comics role play activity

· one hour
· any topic

Animated Comics Role-play Activity (ACRA) combines verbal and visual traditions prevalent in learner-centered education. Its use of comics provides a lively and challenging presentation of the situations that happen in life. When used in awareness workshops, participants unravel together their perceptions on themes like environment, governance and gender.


ACRA ensures active interaction because the participants are both performers and scriptwriters involved in a drama of their own making. By acting out the roles of players in a semi-defined story, the participants present their perceptions of a particular reality, act on this simulated situation and share their insights.

ACRA is a technique developed by the Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE), a non-government organization (NGO) based in Manila, Philippines.


· thick illustration board or any thick cardboard for comic frames (background pictures) and for frames for overlays - minimum size 45 cm x 30 cm

· plastic transparencies for overlays

· craft or bond paper and pens or crayons for drawing comic balloons


You may also make cardboard frames for the overlays to give them stiff edges for easy handling.

Suggested approach


I. Prepare comic frames

· Draw the main characters and background picture(s) on illustration board(s).
· Draw the overlay scenes needed onto plastic transparencies.

Basic frame

Overlay 1: Sunrise

Overlay 2: Sunset

Basic frame with overlay

2. Prepare the comic balloons as shown below. Make 5-6 sets of these balloons on craft or bond paper. Make them large enough (at least 30 x 20 cm) to accommodate clear and big handwriting.

Speech bubble

Tought bubble


Intense emotion


Facilitator can also provide blank papers where participants themselves can draw comic balloons.

Actual activity

1. Divide the participants into several groups, one group to act as narrator and the others assigned to the main characters in the story (one group per character).

2. Explain that you will use comic pictures to suggest a scene, and that one group will narrate the story, and the others speak for the characters using comic balloons.

3. Give the narrators the comic frame(s) and overlays, and outline the story to them. Explain that they will alter the scene as they change the overlays.

4. Give the other groups paper or comic balloons and tell them which character(s) they will be. Tell them that they will have 45 seconds to write their responses each time.

5. Ask narrator(s) to set the scene and introduce the story. Then ask one of the character groups to start the dialogue. Give them 45 seconds to write their dialogue line(s) in one of the types of bubble, and then hold it up and read it out loud.

6. Let the other group(s) respond with their dialogue and when appropriate, ask the narrators to change the overlays and tell another step in the story.


Ask the groups to position themselves, one at the left, the other at the right side of the room (if two groups only) or in a circle if more than two groups with the narrator(s) always at the center.

7. Stop the activity after achieving the twists and turns of the story.

8. Process the activity through the following questions:

· What did you feel while acting out your role?

· Has the situation or something similar ever happened to you? Has this happened in your community or in your line of work?

· What did you do? What did other people do in such a situation?

· What insights have you gained?


If the dialogue is just between two characters.










1. You can use paper cutouts as overlays if you have no transparencies.
2. You can also use an overhead projector to display the scenes.


In several workshops in Samar, ACRA had been used successfully. The participants formed two groups. Drawings of two fisherfolk were shown to the two groups. Each group was told to assume one character and given blank papers to write their comic balloons for their assumed character.

A facilitator acted as the narrator. In her story, she said that Bert and Jorge, were fisherfolks from Taytay Bay, Palawan and Sorsogon, Bicol respectively. She said that Bert and Jorge met along the coast and were discussing the catch in their areas. The first frame showed Jorge catching more fish than Bert. The facilitator started the story with Bert's dialogue - "Why have you caught more fish than me?" She then asked the group assigned to the Jorge's character to think of an answer to Bert's dialogue. The story unfolded as the narrator superimposed more overlays on the basic frame and the two groups exchanged dialogues. One group remained a fisherfolk throughout the activity and the other group took on roles of various characters. These roles, based on the narrator's cues, were a son of a fisherfolk, a community development worker, a fish warden, a policeman, the mayor, a commercial fish dealer and finally a judge. The story evolved as dictated by the participants with Jorge ending up in jail.


Folkstorytelling: Stories come alive!

· 15 to 25 participants
· 3 hours to 2 days
· ample space for moving around

Folkstorytelling is community storytelling that draws its characters from familiar folktales. It allows the participants to recreate the story in their own way according to a common group or community issue.



· Reacquaint the community with their folklore and allow them to give the stories a new color and contemporary flavor based on a common issue.

· Have a documented collection of old and new folktales that can be shared with children and other members of the community.

· Encourage a fun way of working together to air issues.


· manila paper
· set of crayons, colored chalk or marker pens per group
· individual notebooks and pens

Suggested approach

This involves four linked activities (A-D).

A. Think of a folktale character

1. Divide the group into pairs.

2. Ask a participant to think of a familiar folktale character that s/he can associate with the other and state the reason.

3. After three minutes, ask each participant to share the character they feel is like their partner to the big group and explain why they chose it - in one sentence.


I think of Pagong (the turtle in the popular Filipino folktale. The Monkey and the Turtle) when I see her because she is a kind and clever friend who can get out of any problem in life.


B. Add to the story

1. Break a big group into threes, arranged in a circle.

2. Let two of each three link arms to form a "bahay" (house) and one stands as a "tao" (person) between them.

3. You, as "It", stand in the middle of the circle. Explain to the participants that you will start telling a story, but at some point during the tale, you will shout any of these three words: "tao" (person), "bahay" (house), "bagyo" (storm).

· Shouting "tao" means that all persons in the middle change places.

· Shouting "bahay" means that all persons with arms linked as houses, look for another partner in another place.

· Shouting "bagyo" means that everybody changes places and partners.


4. Start a story (e.g., "A long, long time ago, in a land not visited by the sun...) and continue with it by adding few sentences.

5. Mention any one of the three words in your story. If, for example you say "she came across an old, wooden house", all the participants who are part of the house must break up and find a new partner. Find a partner yourself.

6. The person left without a place is the next "It" and continues the story.

7. Continue the game until at least half of the participants have contributed to the story

C. Body sculpture

1. Ask the participants to return to their original partners.

2. Ask one of each pair to try and position their partner's body into a "sculpture" that depicts the folktale character associated with that person.

3. Ask the human sculptures to remain still. Then, announce to the participants that they are in an art gallery. Give a tour around the "sculptures" while asking the viewers what makes one different from the next.

4. Ask the pairs to swap over so the "sculptures" have a turn at being "sculptors".



Some people may feel uncomfortable about touching others or being touched. Verbal instructions could be used instead.

D. Group sculpture and storytelling

1. Ask each participant to select a folktale character of their choice.

2. Group them into fives or sixes and ask them to share their characters with the others in their group, focusing on their physical and character traits.


3. Ask each group to make a sculpture depicting the characters in a problematic contemporary situation, which the group agrees on.

4. Ask them to make another two sculptures -one showing the scenario BEFORE the problem and one showing the scenario AFTER the problem.

5. Ask each group in turn to present their story to the whole group, with one or more people narrating the story.

Note: The sculptures may move, or may be presented as a series of three or more still pictures during the storytelling.

6. Ask the other participants for their reactions to the story. This is to clarify the issue involved.

Note: You might like to suggest to change the story or to let participants change the story by altering the sculptures.

7. Ask each group to write their stories on manila paper (and in individual notebooks if desired).

Note: These papers and notebooks can serve as reference materials for future use (either in research or in actual storytelling).

8. Pin up the stories so they can be referred to after the presentations.


In lieu of folktales, the facilitator may vary the manner of storytelling through the use of:

1. folksongs; and/or
2. folkpoems.

The content of story may be adapted to the tune and rhythm of a folksong; or a recomposed folkpoem. Here, group sculptures remain as visual expressions during storytelling.


There is a need to document old folk stories as the tradition of oral storytelling is disappering due to old storytellers dying and younger people not continuing the practice.


· A collection of old and reinvented folktales that may be used for a book if desired.
· Continuation of the oral folk tradition.


· Permits the community to remember their folklore and tie this up with a relevant issue.
· Encourages creativity and problem solving in a community.
· Encourages appreciation of folklore and its dynamic role in a community.
· Popularizes folk literature.


Original folktale

Mariang Makiling

In the deepest part of the mountain forest Makiling, in Laguna*, there lived a beautiful and shining creature who was more spirit than human. Her name was Mariang Makiling.

* a province in Southern Luzon, Philippines.

She was the guardian of the mountain and was believed by many people to possess extraordinary powers. Most of all, she had a golden heart.

The trees and animals of the mountain always felt this because they could connect with her all the time. Even the folks living at the foot of the mountain knew her generosity. Sometimes they would find luscious and sweet fruits on their doorsteps. They knew it was her way of telling them she was one with them in keeping the mountain forest safe.

Reinvented folktale

Mariang Makiling, the guardian spirit, could not feel at peace in her mountain abode. She kept hearing the whimpering voices of children in her dreams.

One day she decided to go down to the city and find out for herself what her dream was all about.

In Manila, she could not believe her eyes. The streets were filled with children of all ages, and sizes. Some were sleeping on the pavement, some were playing in the open street, others were begging from commuters, or selling their wares, and still others were sniffing drugs.

Mariang Makiling cried from a broken heart.

Note: The reinvented folktale above served as a springboard for discussion during a series of workshops on children's rights. Workshop participants were public school children and street children from Quezon City and Manila.

This was followed by a tour of schools and institutions by the children who also learned how to make a streetplay out of their skits on children's rights.

Part of the script in their streetplay was the reinvented folksong printed on the next page which they themselves came up with after the workshop.


Original folksong

Tong, Tong, Tong, Tong" (Filipino)

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Alimango sa dagat
Malaki at masarap
Mahirap mahuli
Sapagkat nangangagat


(English translation)

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Crab from the sea
It is big and tasty
It is so hard to catch
Because it bites and bites.

Reinvented folksong


Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Si Mariang Makiling
Bumaba sa Maynila
Nagulat, nataranta
Ang darning street children na


(English translation)

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Maria of Makiling
She went down to Manila
How amazed, how confused
There were so many street children

Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
Mga bata
May limang karapatan
Walang takot
'Di gutom
Sapagkat tayo'y tao


Tong tong tong tong
Pakitong kitong
All children
Have at least 5 human rights
Free from fear
Free from hunger
Free to speak
Free to believe
Right to peace
Because we're all humans


Original folkpoem "Ako'y may alaga"


Ako'y may alaga
Asong mataba
Buntot ay mahaba
Makinis ang mukha
Mahal niya ako
At mahal ko rin siya
At kaming dalawa
Ay laging magkasama


(English Translation)

I have a pet
A doggie that's fat
It has a tail so long
And a face so smooth
My pet loves me
And I love my pet
And the two of us
Are always together

Reinvented version

Ako'y may nakita
Pagong na mataba
Leeg ay mahaba
Masaya ang mata
Mahal ko siya
Mahal rin siya ng iba
Pero siya'y nawala
Dahil ilog kay bantot na


I saw something
A turtle that's fat
Its neck was long
And its eyes so glad

I loved it so
And so did others
But it disappeared
Coz the river smelled bad


Participants may get threatened by lack of folklore knowledge.


Facilitator may bring local comics, magazines and books to give participants a sample of folktales to start on.

Oral testimonies

· Needs to be planned well in advance
· Up to 100 people

Oral testimonies are talks or interviews drawn from a speaker's actual experience.



Oral testimonies can be used to inspire participants or to motivate them to action.

Suggested approach

1. Contact the person or people whom you wish to give a testimony of their experience. This could be someone from within your own group or community like women who have used the local media to raise awareness of wife beating. Or, the speaker may also come from outside, for example you might want to emphasize a lesson on volcanic eruptions by hearing the testimony of someone who had experienced this first hand.

2. If they agree to speak, fix a date and time and give them as much information as you can about:

· What you want them to talk about.

· Whether you want them to give a talk or an interview; if an interview, discuss with them what questions you would like to ask.

· How long the talk should be; you may like to suggest that they break their talk up, so that people's attention won't wander. The paper on lectures gives advice on this.

· The audience, their background knowledge, the number of people.

· The type of venue and the equipment available.

· Clear directions on how to reach the place, including how long it will take them.

· How much - if anything - you will be able to pay them. Most speakers would at least expect their traveling and food expenses to be paid.

· If you have contacted them by phone, make sure you also send them this information in writing.

3. Particularly, if you are having an outside speaker, you should allow at least a month to 'advertise' the event. There is nothing more disheartening for a speaker than to find that they are talking to just a handful of people.

4. On the day of the talk, arrive early at the venue to check everything is in place, and the seats are laid out and the equipment is ready.

An informal setting will make both the speaker and audience more relaxed. If possible, set the chairs in a horseshoe shape rather than in rows, or perhaps even sit outside under a tree.

5. At the time of the talk, briefly introduce the speaker. During the talk, listen attentively and do not distract the audience by fussing around organizing snacks, etc.

6. After the talk, encourage the participants to ask questions. At the end, thank the speaker and invite the audience to applaud.


The presence of someone who has actually had personal experience of the events described has far more impact than merely a third-person re-telling.


· Think of a flamboyant way to advertise the event - for example a talk on freedom of speech could be advertised by a group going around the area wearing gags over their mouths and waving information about the talk. Also, a challenging, witty or controversial title for the talk is likely to excite people's curiosity, although do not mislead people in your choice of words.


· If you can organize a meal or some social activity after the talk, this will give participants a chance to chat with the speaker more informally, and will be a way of thanking the speaker. A cheap way to do this is to ask all the participants to bring food and have a 'pot luck'.

· It is always good to have a fall back plan in case the speaker doesn't turn up. Perhaps you have a relevant video program or slide show?

· If the person is not used to speaking, he/she may feel intimidated. Organize a dry run of what he/she would like to say. An interview may work better than a talk.

· Relevant organizations can often give names of people willing to give talks. You could contact a human rights organization to find a speaker who is a survivor of torture or illegal detention.

· Many speakers are very happy to talk to advocate their cause. Aim big! You may be surprised at who will agree to turn up at your humble meeting place or school.

Considerations for testimonies

· Some issues like sexual violence can create strong emotional responses. Are you prepared for this? Also, it is essential to prevent the talk descending into a kind of 'voyeurism', for example, audience being just interested in the intimate details of a rape.

· Be sensitive to local cultures that might be offended by your choice of topic.

· The power of personal testimonies is well known, so be aware that - for some topics of discussion - other groups may attempt to disrupt your meeting. For example, in Milton Keynes, UK, a talk given by a Holocaust survivor on the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps was fire bombed by neo-Nazis.

· It is unethical to 'fake' testimonies. At a workshop in Manila to raise awareness of gender issues amongst people working in the media, a rape survivor came to give an interview on her experience. The aim was to expose the participants to how emotionally and physically damaging rape is to encourage them to report sympathetically about rape in future. A further aim was to give the participants insights in how to interview a rape survivor in a sensitive way. The woman began to cry during the interview, which upset many participants. But in fact this was not a genuine testimony, as the woman was actually an actress. The participants naturally reacted angrily when they later found this out.



· In the Philippines, indigenous people from the Cordillera gave talks to communities in Mindanao on how they have fought off attempts by international mining companies to mine their land, since areas of Mindanao have now been targeted for similar projects.

· The testimony of Lola X on her experience as a 'comfort woman' for Japanese soldiers during World War 2 gave other women the confidence to speak out about their similar experience. This finally led to the Japanese government apologizing and setting up a compensation fund.

· In Milton Keynes, UK, older people gave talks about how life was like in the past, with the aid of old family possessions and clothes. This had led to an interest in researching local history through a Living Archive Project (LAP). Every year, members of LAP stage a play based on past local events.

· In primary schools in Stoke, UK, an ex-alcoholic gives talks about how alcoholism destroyed his life - both his work and family life - as a warning to children to be aware of the dangers of alcoholism.

Using testimonies in trainings

Short testimonies can spice up a topic in any training. From among the participants, invite one or two to share experiences and insights in a three-to-five minute talk. While testimonies can be used at the start of a training to create a climate of openess, it is more advisable to introduce them in the middle (e.g., on the second day of a three-day training) when participants are already comfortable with each other. This ensures that testimonies and the open forum thereafter would be more personal and straightforward. Using testimonies effectively emphasizes that "learning from life" is not only a cliche but can actually happen.


Facilitators usually choose vocal participants to give testimonies. However, it is also advisable to invite shy participants. Based on experience, seemingly timid participants end up giving excellent talks. They just needed the right timing, preparation and encouragement.

Testimonies when used in a training can:

1. Jumpstart a topic.

As an opener, a testimony gives an idea of what the topic will cover. In the process, participants get an overview of the discussion flow, thus giving them confidence to offer their own insights.

2. Show how concepts apply to real life.

Talking about concepts is intimidating to many people and can inhibit participation. A testimony can solve this trainer's dilemma since it first explores the giver's experiences. Together, participants cull insights from their experiences as well, and relate these to concepts that the trainer wants to share. Likewise, this process can generate participants' own concepts relative to the topic.

3. Suggests solutions to participants facing the same dilemmas in life.

Testimonies create connections between participants. While listening, people always relate others' life stories to their own. Individual reflections range from "I have the same problem now, maybe I can try what they did?" to "We have tried that before in our community and it did not work. What could be the new approaches?"


Testimonies can move people into action. However, it is important to emphasize that experiences are context-based and that copying solutions to problems may not always work. At the same time, genuine testimonies should present both successes and frustrations.


· Education for Life Foundation (ELF), a grassroots leadership folk school based in Metro Manila, has instituted giving testimonies as a tradition in its trainings. In tackling the sensitive topic on leadership principles and styles, participants start with "my humble experiences" and then engage their co-participants in a debate on what a "true leader" should be. Participants ended up enlightened because the realization came not from a sermon but from their own exchanges.

· In Westminster City School, United Kingdom, the testimonies of people who experienced the mass evacuation of London because of aerial bombing during World War 2, became part of the curriculum. These testimonies were a key to a fuller understanding of civilian life during the war and helped to make the topic realistic.


Lifeline is an activity that encourages participants to reflect on their personal lives and then discuss their reflections collectively. It focuses on the ups and downs in their life, the people and situations that influenced them, their present concerns or work, and processes that strengthened or weakened the image of themselves.



A lifeline aims to make participants identify the factors that drew them to their current situation, understand why people behave as they do and, when possible, relate these experiences to the general situation in society. It is designed to draw out lessons from the participants' own experiences.


· bond paper, craft paper, board or wall
· crayons, pencils, marker pens and chalk

Suggested approach


Doing a lifeline can be an emotional activity for some participants so the facilitator should be sensitive enough to spot this.

1. Ask participants to reflect on their life history from childhood to present or on a certain period only, e.g., a period when they got involved in the community. They should concentrate on key persons, events or concepts that have influenced them.

2. Have participants draw their individual lifeline using symbols to represent important events, people or influences in their lives.

3. When participants are ready, divide them in twos or threes depending on the size of the group, to share their drawings and reflections.

4 Ask each group to present its common and unique experiences through its group lifeline (drawing).

5. Analyze experiences using the guide questions below.

· What are the common experiences and when did these happen?
· What decisions in life did we make during this period?
· What factors led to these choices/reactions?
· What personal perceptions, biases and principles did we establish in the process?
· What are the unique experiences among our group? Why are they unique relative to others?
· How are our experiences related to what was happening in the community and society in general?
· What are our present goals in life?
· How do we want to achieve them individually and collectively?


The facilitator can outline other key questions depending on the range and depth of participation.


· Sharing through lifeline is a powerful and liberating process. By reflecting on one's work, commitment and feelings and sharing them with others, one is able to chart one's personal development relative to organizational, community or political timelines.

· Participants familiarize themselves with each other's experiences and perceptions and, in the process, build trust and understanding that are crucial in any training. Having a sense of where each is coming from, learners assert their ideas during heated debates while respecting other points of view.

· More importantly, lifeline challenges people to look forward and reflect on how they can enrich their personal and community life.


In a community educators' training, Virgie, a health worker in Cavite, used the caged bird to symbolize her life full of limitations from childhood until the early stages of her married life. She grew up with a strict father and four protective brothers. Her mother advised her to follow the rules for her benefit. To escape from all of these, she married early only to find herself transferred to another "cage" this time, with her children as added responsibilities. Her exposure to a community organization opened her mind to women's issues and influenced her later perspectives and decisions in life. Finding her niche, she decided to do community health work and eventually regained her confidence and sense of freedom.



A timeline is a listing of key events in the community with the corresponding dates. It is most often used as tools in participatory appraisal (where the learning is a multi-way process), and can be modified for use as a visual training technique.



A timeline can reveal:

· what a person or community believes to be important in their history;

· the background to present situations and links between key events, highlighting their importance;

· how people or groups have dealt with issues before;

· changes in attitudes through time;

· changes in use of resources (e.g., could be money, medicine, natural resources, depending on the focus of the timeline); and

· development of the community, person or event.


It is important to realize that the written output may not reveal other benefits gained along the process of making the timeline.

Documentation of the process could be very helpful in recording more details of the in-depth discussions, which enhance awareness of how the events and the people involved influenced developments in the community.


This will depend on the focus of the timeline. Often, older people are used as key informants as they know more the history of an event or area. It can be facilitated as a focused discussion by one or two people.

As an option, you may work with the small groups separately at first (e.g., representatives of the women's group, farmers, youth, etc.) and consolidate group outputs afterwards. This can maximize participation as many people are more comfortable working with their peers.


The timeline will end at the present date.

Suggested approach

1. Work through formal and informal leaders in the community to arrange for a meeting with community members.


2. After gathering the people and materials, explain the reason for using a timeline.

3. Ask the participants for a well-known event as a reference date and build around it.

4. Allow the people to talk freely and do not worry too much about the accuracy of dates. Use questions to get more detail and raise issues (e.g., What important events have happened in the community? What major disasters occur in the community? When did these happen?)

5. Make copies for future reference.

6. Validate the timeline by asking other community members.


The outcome will be a list of dates and events.


Timelines are useful tools to complement case studies and action research. They provide lots of historical information in a simple and easily understandable form. They show the importance of the past to present. Experience shows that the communities are happy to have a written record of the development of their community and enjoy completing this exercise. This also boosts respect for older people.

Work with the local officials and respected persons in the community to get the trust and cooperation of other community members.


Be careful in raising expectations as some communities may have experiences with other agencies/organizations which promised much but failed to deliver.


· Timelines can stretch with many names and dates that do not enhance understanding, so be careful to include only useful information.

· Limited availability of older people.


Timelines are used as a tool in compiling the Community Resource Profiles of the barangays working with the Western Samar Agricultural Development Programme (WESAMAR) in 14 municipalities of Western Samar, the Philippines. They are in the entry/preparatory phase and facilitate an understanding of the key events in the development of a community. The process also offers explanations behind present attitudes or issues. Some community, for example, doubted that the WESAMAR programme could benefit them. With the use of a timeline, it was discovered that previous interventions promised great things and failed. This led to a deeper discussion of program objectives and emphasized the importance of commitment from all involved.

Note: On the whole, this exercise took about one hour and usually provoked heated discussion as dates and events were debated. Our experience showed that people were very pleased to have a written record of their history, enjoyed participating and said it made them realize the importance of their background.


Timeline from a typical community working in partnership with WESAMAR


First settlers (the Nabong Family) arrive


Japanese occupation, many evacuated to safer places (people did not go hungry as they improvised on whatever they found in the forest)


Many children died when a measles epidemic affected the area


The place, then called Sitio Cantawilis and under the jurisdiction of Brgy. Hawalihaw, became a full pledge barangay and renamed Brgy. Nabong


The Rural Improvement Club (RIC), a women's organization, was organized by the Department of Agriculture


A marketshift schoolbuilding was built by the community under the leadership of Brgy. Captain Exuperancio Noroña.


The RIC, through a resolution, requested for their own schoolteacher


A concrete school building was erected through the efforts of the local officials


Brgy. Nabong community members constructed a temporary Community Health Center


Health Center, Dancing Hall and Multi-purpose building projects were implemented


A seven-month long drought damaged much of the agricultural produce, especially rice


The red tide phenomenon - algal pollution - affected Magueda Bay; fisherfolks, who depended so much on the sea, encountered hardships.


Typoon Undang ravanged the community-out of 28 houses only 9 were spared from major damage


A water system was improvised and every household provided with a water faucet


Entry of WESAMAR programme into the community


Electricity installed through the local electric cooperative


Watershed rehabilitation project implemented through the assistance of WESAMAR and a partner non-government organization (NGO)

* Barangay is a political division in the Philippines, similar to a village. This is often abbreviated as "brgy."


· Get people to write down events that they think are important on separate pieces of paper, then stick them onto the board in order. If some events are repeated, this reflects a high level of importance to many people.

· Each person could have one piece of paper or card with one event on it, then the participants all form a line holding the events in order.

· A base line with regular divisions can be used as a starter, then events can be added to it. Uneven spacing of events can provoke discussion as to "why?"


· Anywhere in the community
· 5-15 participants, 1 facilitator
· 1 hour minimum

A map is a diagramatic representation of a location and its features. It presents information in a readily understandable and condensed form.


Types of maps

· social map (households and other social services, roads, sources of water, etc.)
· natural resource map (natural resources)
· land use map (land use systems, indicating use and ownership of parcels of land and major crops)
· coastal resource use map
· body maps (for health studies where an outline of the body is used as the 'map').


· To identify locations and key features of an area according to the topic under discussion.
· To provide a quick and simple understanding of a local situation or geographical area.
· To provide initial material to work on.
· To offer a quick and simple method of identifying problems and issues in an area.
· To motivate discussion and eventually assist decision-making.


· pencils, colored pens, paper, chalk boards.

· If making the map on the ground: sticks, stones or leaves found on the ground and used to represent key features.


· Different sizes and colors of leaves or stones can be used to denote differing sizes/importance of features/structures.

· A copy of the map can be made later for reference if it is made on the ground or in chalk.

Suggested approach

1. Gather the participants and explain clearly the purpose of the exercise and the area that will be covered before letting anyone to begin.



It is useful for all the participants to walk through their community before you begin the map-making.

2. Give an orientation on map symbols and conventions in map making. Ask participants what symbols are appropriate for their community and elicit from them any other symbols they use or have used in the past to represent key features in their community.

3. Begin by suggesting key features as the basis for the map to be made, e.g., river, main road. Encourage the addition of appropriate features.


Establish rapport with the community first. Be sensitive, always clarify with them why you are conducting this activity.

4. Use probing questions to bring out details or issues relating to the features mapped. This can be the beginning of a discussion and identification of issues and learning points.


Be sure to make an accurate copy of the map and use clear symbols and labels to avoid confusion. Document the process well because of tentimes the original map can get lost or become torn or tattered.

5. Ensure the participation of everyone, especially if community members are making the map.

6. Make a copy of the map for future reference.


The result will be a diagrammatic representation of a real place with initial discussion points noted. Participants will gain a preliminary understanding of the surrounding social and geographical area that can be enriched by using other techniques later.


· Effective for learning about local perceptions of the area.
· Can be highly participatory and enables people to learn from others.
· Can be updated or referred to later to indicate progress, learning or change.
· Often brings out important issues that may not have surfaced in a mere discussion.
· Lots of information in an accessible and compact form.
· Useful for semi-literate or illiterate participants as colors, objects and symbols can be used.


· Visioning tool (participants can draw a map of how they would like to see their community resources in the future, e.g., in 20 years time).


· Awareness raising tool (participants can draw a map of their community 20 years ago. This often starts a discussion of how abundant the resources were in the past and what has led to their present situation).


Example 1

Participatory mapping was used as a tool in compiling the Community Resource Profiles of communities in Samar during Participatory Community Development. A large number of community members participated in making a social map of their barangay on the basketball court using chalk and any materials they could find nearby. They used leaves to represent houses, and larger leaves and twigs to depict buildings such as the school and church.

The map was large enough for two or three people to be involved at one time. They began by marking the highway and placing the houses along it. The whole map was appraised at the end by all present and judged to be accurate in terms of scale and position of features. The whole process took around one hour and the output was comprehensive and accurate. The people enjoyed the activity as a team exercise.


Example 2

Map making was used as a visioning tool during a workshop on Environmental Planning with the communities in Samar. Participants were given a sheet of manila paper and some crayons. The participants were guided in creating an ideal resource map by asking them to put in features that they wanted to see in the future, using their existing resource map as a basis. Note: Visioning can provide direction for community action towards their goal of a better environment. Their visions are translated into concrete strategies and actions in order for them to work towards achieving their objectives.



My experience using map-making as a visioning tool:

When I used visioning as a tool for the first time, I thought to myself, "There is no way I am going to be able to facilitate this. How will the community be able to express their common goal and vision in a map?" However, they clearly expressed what they wanted their community to look like in twenty years time in terms of resources and services. Often their output was a real development dilemma for me, as a volunteer worker from Ireland, coming to work in the Philippines as an environmental educator.

Maps drawn of their future communities often depicted factories and industries, multiple lane highways and gigantic electricity poles. Inwardly I would say to myself, "No, you don't want to go the way of the West with all that industry and roads and where life is lived in the fast line and the community spirit is dead. You want to go back to the past when all the resources were plenty, when you could still pick fish from Maqueda Bay, with no need for a fishing net." This is a dilemma for me. Who am I to think that the communities should not want all that industry, that they should not dream of having shopping malls in every small town? This led me to think deeper.

By having a different vision than the community, I have to be very careful not to impose my vision or view on them. For many weeks I was in despair, wondering if I should go home now. I don't want to be a new form of colonizer, where I think I know what is best for the community. Thankfully, I decided to stay.

Deciding to do VSO in the Philippines where I can promote sustainable development and international understanding has been the best decision of my life.


Case studies use a storyline approach to document projects, processes, issues and events.


Making a case study


· existing documents that give background information
· optional: camera/video camera/tape recorder


Takes a few hours to several days


Making a case study can open 'a can of worms' since it may lead to the group/community identifying new problems. How will you deal with these? Avoid raising expectations that you cannot fulfill.

1. Decide as a group the focus of the case study. Is it an intention to explore an event, project or process in which the participants have played a part or is it to look at an issue that has affected their community or another community? Field trips can provide an excellent source to put together a case study (see Field Trips).

2. Ask the following important questions.

· What are the main issues that we want to draw out and explore in making this case study?

· Are we doing the case study just for our own learning or do we want it to be used later by other people? If so, who will these be and how will they use it?


If the case study touches on controversial issues, be aware that you may be placing individuals or whole communities in difficult or even dangerous positions. Make sure participants understand the implications of putting their views 'on record'. Some may wish to remain anonymous. Also be careful of libel; if you are going to make an accusation in a case study, make sure you can back it up.

3. Bring together all the background information needed. Decide what new information you need and how to get it, e.g., what places need to be visited and who are the people to be interviewed?

4. Work together to collect the new information. (Action Research offers useful advice on how to do this.)

5. Work with the participants in producing an outline of what has happened; this usually leads to heated debate. Ideally, anybody outside the group who had been interviewed should also be there. Try to draw out the views of all the participants. Reaching a consensus can be a lengthy but enlightening process. You might want to highlight the differences of opinion in your case studies, but be careful that the main points are not lost.

6. Discuss what medium you want to present your story line in, for example, written, video, drama, comic strip and photo story (a series of photos with captions and speech bubbles). You might be able to draw on legends and use dance, theater or mime particular to the participants or community (see Folkstorytelling).



Comic strip


Photo story

7. Ensure that the case study 'flows'. A possible framework for looking at a project is:

· Introduction, i.e., setting the scene.
· How the project was implemented, the event happened or the issue affected people.
· What is happening now?
· Conclusion, i.e., what we can draw out from this?


· The terms 'introduction' and 'conclusion' sound rather dry, so try to think of something else to call them in your actual case study. For example, "In the beginning was a sausage factory...."

· Include what went wrong when doing a case study on a project or process as this can often provide useful insights.

· A bit of humor will go a long way in making the case study enjoyable, so try to incorporate amusing anecdotes - and visual humor if making a video or a play.

8. Be prepared to have to go through various drafts in making the case study.

9. If the subject of the case study is people outside the group making the case study, give them a copy of the case study, credit their involvement, and keep them informed if the case study is being used elsewhere and the feedback it had.


In Loon, Bohol, Philippines, a high school student wrote a play script about a case of illegal fishing where the fisherfolk were caught using dynamite and ended up in prison. With very limited funding from a local organization, the drama was presented to over 300 people at the local fiesta. Local leaders, fisherfolks and many other people attended and so became aware of the dilemmas involved. Particularly effective was a scene that showed how distressed a fisherfolk's family was when he was arrested and imprisoned. The drama was videoed and is now used as a training tool with fisherfolk in the whole of Bohol.



People's Organizations for Social Transformation (POST), a network of community-based organization in Northern Philippines, wanted to produce case studies that would help their organizations understand how all their livelihoods were interlinked. For example, tailings from the mining in the mountains were polluting the coastal fishing areas, forcing fishers to migrate to the mountains in search of work in vegetable gardens.

The first case study was done with a fishing cooperative in La Union. At a community meeting, the history of the cooperative was discussed, leading to much debate. That night, one of the field workers produced a rough draft of the story for feedback from the others. The final comic strip was made by an artist in Baguio, drawing caricatures of the members of the people's organization based on photos. Copies were printed for all the organizations. The fisherfolks were pleased to see their story put into such a professional format. However, it might have been better for the artist to have gone to La Union and worked with the community to produce the final comic strip so that they would have learn these skills.

Using a case study


This takes up to one day.

Before the session

1. Choose a case study that is appropriate for the group and that will prompt the kind of discussion you plan to have. You may want to adapt a case study to make it culturally relevant. Do not be tempted to change too much or all the details will be lost.

2. Familiarize yourself with the case study. Write discussion questions and try answering them yourself beforehand.

3. Make sure that any equipment required is working and that you know how to use it.


Some case studies can trigger strong emotions. Be aware of how participants may react to the case study you have chosen.

Errrh... How does this video player work?

During the session

1. Present the case study. If it is a written one, it may be best to hand out copies to all the participants but also ask someone - with a talent for storytelling - to read it out

2. Ask the participants to divide themselves into small groups of three to six and spend about 30 minutes discussing the case study, using a list of questions as a guide. People may be more confident about speaking in small groups. Ask them to write all their comments on a large sheet of paper.

Possible questions

· What is the case study about?

· How were the main issues or problems resolved? Would you have resolved them differently?

· How did the personalities of the people involved and their relationships to each other effect what happened?

· Were the views of any people left out from the case study?

· What did the case study not tell you, i.e., Where were the gaps?

· What do you think will happen next? (You could give participants just part of the case study, ask this question, and then show them the rest of the case study to see how their answers compare to what actually happened.)

· How does the case study relate to your own experiences in your work or life?

3. Ask the small groups to report back to the rest of the group. Take one idea from each group at a time for the others to discuss.

4. Ask the participants to further explore the case studies through activities. For example:

· Rewrite the case study from the perspective of one of the people featured in it.

· Have a debate where participants take on the role of different characters in the case study and discuss the program from their perspective.

· Perform a drama to explore a particular issue raised, e.g., the role of women in fish marketing.

· Produce a 'people sculpture' where participants use their bodies to produce a sculpture that symbolizes the main message of the case study, e.g., the need to work together. (This is a useful summing up exercise.)




Participants make their own mini-case studies

If the training is to last several days, there is time for participants to make and present their own mini-case studies, based on their own work or life. They can then share and get advice on these.


· They appeal to people's enjoyment of stories and so - if imaginatively presented -are a popular way of raising awareness.

· Because case studies are set in a particular situation, they are excellent for exploring dynamics among people.

· They can be an impetus for sharing information and forming networks between groups and communities. For example, a case study that describes how one community tackled drug abuse problems could be an inspiration to a community facing similar problems. The next stage could be for members of the two communities to meet up.

· They can be used to provide some distance in discussing delicate issues, e.g., domestic violence or illegal logging.


· Case studies give the illusion of being 'real' but actually only give a snapshot of reality. They highlight certain issues and ignore others that might have had a strong influence on the events described but were 'invisible' to the case study makers, e.g., that they live in a municipality where the local government is supportive of environmental projects.

· Case studies do not lend themselves to incorporate quantitative data. One solution to this is a supporting document containing the 'hard facts'.



Short dilemmas

You can use short dilemmas - drawn from actual situations - to encourage participants to consider issues that are likely to arise in their own lives. The following are four examples taken from a VSO training course for development workers, called 'Working with Communities'.

Your work involves forming women's groups to look at ways of setting up income-generating activities. Concentrating on one area of the town, you meet local women leaders who are very enthusiastic about the idea and decided to have an open meeting to find out what women themselves want. You are feeling quite anxious about the meeting as forming women's groups is a major component of your job. On the day of the meeting, five women turn up.

· How do you react to this situation?
· How could you have approached this differently?

2. You have been involved in setting up a number of village meetings to explore the issues which are of importance to women. Attendance has been good and already a number of interest groups have begun to form. You then hear from a neighbor that the local church leader is annoyed that people have dropped away from groups set up by the church since these new groups have been formed.

· How do you react to this situation?
· What are the main issues in this case?
· How could this have been approached differently?

3. You have attended three community meetings to look at ways of improving children's health. The meetings are well attended and there is a lot of enthusiasm and discussion about how things could be improved. However, the problem seems to be that nobody decides who is going to take responsibility for doing things and so, apart from the meetings, nothing else seems to happen.

· How do you react to this situation?
· What are the main issues in this case?

4. You have been involved in organizing a series of training sessions for farmers and have tried to work in a way that encouraged the farmers themselves to be involved in activities (such as group work, etc.). The sessions have gone well and you are starting to feel more confident about your work. However, a farmer who is attending a session for the first time refuses to participate in the role play activity and continuously interrupts other people to give his own viewpoint.

· How do you react to this situation?
· What are the main issues in this case?


Action research

Action research (AR) is a community-based learning activity related to topics e.g., on the nature of government or the environment, and is discussed in a classroom, meeting or workshop. The participants, with the guidance of a facilitator, identify a specific community problem that will serve as the subject matter for a research activity and planned action. In this activity, every stage of the research is supported by the facilitator.



· To enrich learning by tackling a real issue.
· To train participants to become better citizens.
· To develop an awareness of community issues.
· To develop teamwork and cooperation.


· paper, pencil or pen
· any documentary equipment (camera, video, etc.) to help share the information with others


Participants: Up to 50
Facilitator: One or two facilitators to work collaboratively with participants
Skills needed: Basic research skills, e.g., interviewing

Suggested approach

1. Ask the participants to identify actual situations in the community that need priority attention of the community and local government. Indicators of a problem include discomfort, uneasiness or sense of danger in health and sanitation, peace and order, etc.

2. Ask participants to select one priority issue as the topic for AR.

3. Ask participants to formulate a hypothesis or question as a basis for gathering data, e.g. "The traffic problem in Cudal Street is caused by non-passenger vehicles."



You can tap the research skills of teachers or graduate students in the community to help the participants.

4. Instruct participants to prepare questions, survey or observation forms/charts and other tools to facilitate gathering of data. Introduce several methods of recording observations, e.g., field notes, anecdotal records, journal responses. (Please see samples at the end of this activity).

5. Ask participants to collect the data based on the participants' preference on a day and time.

6. Assist participants in collating, analyzing and evaluating the data gathered. Check also the accuracy of their computations.

7. Assist the participants in formulating strategies to tackle the problem. How can the community, the local government and the participants implement these? Pose questions to ensure that they have thought through the possible consequences of their suggested action. (You can use the action plan at the end of this activity sheet as a model.)

8. Ensure that the participants keep records of their action research and perhaps enhance these with photos or video if available.

9. Monitor and evaluate the action research based on the action plan formulated.



AR enables participants to live an active community life. After going through the research activity, participants usually conclude that it is best to have community concerns anchored to actual data. AR teaches participants to be more perceptive, more sensitive and more responsible to community needs and problems - an attitude which is vital to democracy.


Political science students at Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, Philippines did an action research on a traffic problem at the intersection in front of the campus. A 10-minute video documentary was used to inform the community's local government officials and members of civic organizations about this problem that needed immediate attention to avoid a major accident.

The teacher forgot to forewarn the students that the results of their action research may not get a positive response from the local government officials. Therefore, the indifferent and arrogant responses of some officials and members of civic organizations intimidated some of the students. In this example, the difficulties in conducting an action research included: 1) Lack of sufficient time for the batch of students who initiated the project the complete the artwork; and 2) Lack of enthusiasm of the succeeding batch of students who had to complete the project. From the feedback of the participants, they thought it was a great way to learn outside the classroom except that they were not prepared to have face to face dialogue with the officials who were supposed to be responsible for the traffic problem but who saw it as a petty problem.


Sample questions for AR

A. Sample research questions

Note for the facilitator: Divide these guide questions between the different group of participants. Instruct them to answer each question using the Journal Responses Form.

1. Name the different categories of tricycle (motorela) passengers. Be sure to write down your basis for such classification.

2. Do you see some traffic problems in this street? If so, enumerate these problems. Explain why you consider it a problem.

3. List down any accidents (minor or major), if any, that transpired during your observation and accidents which occurred over the last five years.

4. Identify the people affected by the traffic problem in this area. For example, tricycle (motorela) drivers, passengers, pedestrians, drivers of other vehicles and traffic officers. Just give the categories of these people. Give your assumptions for why these people use this street. You may interview the people concerned.

5. Interview people who encountered or witnessed an accident in the area. Be sure to indicate the name, date, and exact facts of the story. Three stories will do. (First person account is better than a third person account).

6. Can you see vehicles other than motorela (tricycles) in Cudal Street? if yes, describe what the drivers of these other vehicles are doing in this street.

7. Using the frequency summary sheet (2 pages) to estimate the average volume of traffic in Cudal Street and how this is made at particular times of the day by the different vehicles.

B. Sample questions for action planning

I. Who do you think can help us solve this problem? Identify every possible source of help. Be able to explain why you think they can help.

2 If you were a community leader, what do you think are the possible solutions to the traffic in Cudal Street? Give at least three workable solutions.

3. What can our organization do to help solve the problem. Be very specific.

Journal Responses

Name of Participant:

Date and time of observation/interview:


II. ANSWERS: (You may use extra sheets if needed)

III. My positive feelings during the observation or interview and later reflection.

IV. My negative feelings during the observation or interview and later reflection.

V. The new learning experiences that I gained during the observation or interview.

Frequency Summary Sheet

Name of observer:


Time began:

Name of street observed:



I. Private Vehicles



Private Utility Vehicle




II. Commercial Vehicles


Truck (small)

Truck (big)

Multicab (passenger utility vehicle)

Lawin (jeepney)


Van (carrier of passengers)

Panel (carrier of goods and merchandise)

III. Other Vehicles

Tanker (carrier of gasoline or water)


Military vehicle


Suggested action plan


Specific objectives


Time frame

Expected output

Participants responsible

1. Information Drive

· To identify the key persons who should be informed of the results of the research, e.g., school officials, student leaders, barangay officials, traffic safety office, municipal or provincial office, radio stations, local newspapers, etc.
· To prepare a letter & press release that contain the research findings.

· Group meeting to decide to perform the following tasks:

- write letters
- write a news item
- send letters (hand carry if possible)
- keep a list of names to which letters are sent.

1 week

· Public awareness
· Response from the agencies concerned in the form of a letter or invitation to the researchers for more information or clarification.

Group A
Group B
Group C
Group D

2. Agency contacts

· To follow up letters sent
· To answer queries (if any)

· Make an appointment with agencies concerned to ask for their opinions about the problem, e.g., school heads, barangay officials, motorela drivers association, traffic agency, civic organizations or municipal officials (preferably in this order) Note: if the problem will be solved in the lower level, there is no need to go to a higher office.
· Visit officials who confirmed the appointments.

2 to 3 weeks

· Dialogue with school, community or local government officials.
· Written resolutions of concerned agencies that indicate concrete solutions to the traffic problem.

Group E

3. Push for implementation

· To get assurance or confirmation that the policy be formulated (if there is none) or that the policy be implemented (if already in existence).

· Attend local government's sessions or any civic organization's meeting that will discuss the traffic problem. Bring supporting documents.
· Write a news item for the school and local paper or radio to update the community for efforts toward solution of the problem, and to ask for their cooperation

1 month

· Policy making or policy implementation depending on which is applicable. Note: This may take place in the school, barangay, municipal or provincial level.

Group F
Group G

4. Support for implementation

· To decide on ways in which the researchers can assist in the implementation, e.g., donate one traffic sign board that says: "NON-PASSENGER VEHICLES - NO ENTRY - from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday."
· To link with other student organizations for possible collective assistance to government's implementation of policy.
· To update the public about the enforcement of the new policy or the implementation of an old policy through the media.

· Suggest ways in which the group can help implement, e.g., donate a sign board
· Write a thank you letter to organizations who responded to research findings.
· Write a news about government support or community support, and have it announced over the radio or printed in the local paper.

2 weeks

· Heightened awareness
· Adherence to traffic rules in Cudal Street
· Safety of passengers using Cudal Street

Group leaders

5. Evaluation

· To assess the success of the action research based on the objectives of this action plan.

· Select an appropriate evaluation instrument to assess the progress or success of the action research.

Should be ongoing

· Document to show success or failure of the action research as a basis for improving successive action researches.

All groups

Remember that the objectives should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound).


The traditional classroom is dead. At least if you believe that and mourn for its passing, you might make a learners' experience more meaningful to their everyday life. Learning is living, and the traditional four walls of the classroom have collapsed, leaving only chalk dust and echoes. The evidence of learning has to appeal to all one's senses, and these are truly awakened as the classroom recedes on the horizon.


With a field trip, phenomena can be understood by the participants through actual experience (using all senses). It is the creative pursuit of understanding.

Experienced science teachers have often used field trips to complement other methods, but you are encouraged, regardless of your discipline, to 'get out there,' and change the context of your training; to enable your participants to:

· change their way of seeing - to see things and relationships as they actually exist;
· see how the theories that they have learned 'operate' in real life situations; and
· to encourage an appreciation of their society or community and its resources.


Anything from one hour to a week. Field trips do not always mean great expense, or going far away from the training venue. A field trip might just be a training outside of those four walls with activities done outside of the everyday setting.

Why go on a field trip?

Primarily, the purpose of the field trip is to motivate the participants and to develop a positive attitude towards the topic which will hopefully act as a catalyst for learning immediately broaden the framework for learning.


· Ask participants to examine a length of coastline for evidence of marine life.

· What better approaches to geology than Expose the participants to the concept that when a participant picks up fossils on the curriculum lives in real objects and you the beach rather than looking at dry and dusty samples in the laboratory.

· History too abstract? Visit and document sites of historical significance in your own neighborhood.

· Having a hard time with mathematics? Pose problems rooted in real situations outside the training area, such as map making. Let your participants calculate the area of different fields.

· Having problems with a topic on economics? Visit a local business enterprise or cooperative in your own neighborhood.

· Having difficulty with a topic on local government management? Visit a government agency in the locality.


· What better atmosphere is there for studying than on a field trip!

· A lot of participants rarely have the economic power to visit places outside of their own communities. The creative educator can enable this. If a group shares its own limited resources, it's amazing what can happen!

· Remember, so many thoughts and inventions have come from out in the open and not in the classroom.

· The field trip can also serve to add a full-stop at the end of an activity, or can even be used to 'set-up' or highlight important concepts which will be taught later in the course.

· If the participants have a chance to 'see things' that they have discussed elsewhere, the trip will dramatically increase their comprehension.


· Field trips require more planning than normal training activities.
· Not every participant likes to be away from home for too long.


Hasty trips make for much waste in terms of money, learning time and effort. The field trip just like any other teaching method requires careful planning and thought, and some basic materials.


Make sure you are aware of any restrictions on taking samples from the environment.


Choose drinking water with great care.

Your main materials are:

· pens and paper

· a means of producing work sheets

· safe transportation

· a camera or small camcorder can be used to document what you've seen and reduce the numbers of samples taken from the environment.

· binoculars are useful for observing wildlife.

Valuable extra material

· first aid kit

Personal materials to look after and develop

· your participants
· sense of humor/patience

Suggested Approach

The following starting points will help you in planning your trip, just fill in the following.

1. Think about your own training methods and given your own training and community resources, choose an area, which you think your participants can visit during a field trip.

· Which area?.
· Describe the features of the area

2. Your field trip must have an objective in order to maximize the participants' learning experience. Think of one very clear concept that you would like to explain, then describe a possible field trip experience you might use (in place of the lecture method) in teaching the concept.

· Which concept?
· Possible field trip experience?
· Would the field trip you have just described be feasible?
· Compare notes with colleagues and revise your plan.

3. Thinking of your 'concept' and field trip, try and design an activity during the field trip which will complement your subject with one from another discipline (e.g., Mathematics with Arts, Science with English, etc.).

It might be worth planning a trip, which is interdisciplinary.

· Main concept
· Secondary objectives that could be interlinked.

4. Do a suitability assessment to determine whether the field trip you are planning will fulfill your training objectives.


On a field trip you have a captive audience, and an ounce of imagination will insure that both you and your participants have a creative educational experience.

· Try and locate your accommodation actually in, or near your, area of study.

· Before booking, involve other trainers in your choice of location. A preliminary investigation of the site (if possible) should include broader questions concerning the feasibility of the area for a field trip. Always confirm the booking.

· How long will it take to get there? A seven-hour bus journey followed by hastily prepared accommodation arrangements, and no hot food can flatten any participant's expectations of the field trip.


Other considerations

· Check out the food. Sometimes a field trip is a wonderful environment to expose your participants to different tastes and different ways of eating.

· Ban smoking and drinking.

· Do try to stay and eat with your participants on your field trip. You might learn more about them during the short duration of one field trip then all those semesters in the classroom.


Try and be sensitive to different cultures - Roasted pork on the beach might go down like a lead balloon with Muslim participants, for example. Some participants might not eat meat, so do check with your group.

· Put a heavy emphasis on letting the participants manage the trip.

· Get consent: try and cover yourself by having parents/guardians/linked organizations know about the trip, and get their written consent.

· Find out about whether or not the place where you will go has guides.

· Make arrangements with transportation facilities to shuttle your participants safely and comfortably during the trip.



Plan for health and safety

· Is your field trip location a safe place?

· Safety is very important and it would be prudent to have a list of precautionary measures which should be discussed thoroughly with the participants and chaperones before the trip.

· Make the trip as comfortable as possible by allowing stopovers for snacks and other services.

· Arranging transport on the morning of departure looks hurried and unprofessional.

· Bring along a first aid kit which should include basics for elementary emergencies. It is also wise to locate the local hospital and have phone numbers handy of local physicians.

· Fires in the Philippines are one of the greatest contributors to accidental death. Be aware of where they might occur. During your preliminary visit to a field trip site, do check that there are emergency exits and ways out.

· Allowing participants to travel across open seas in large numbers on open 'banka' craft when they can't swim is really tempting the unthinkable;

· You are ultimately responsible for the welfare of your participants.

Plan for worksheets

· On a very simple level, these can encourage gentle observations; for example ask the participants to observe natural phenomena such as plants, animals, birds and insects.

· It is useful if these are completed on the site. Ask participants to share the contents of their worksheets and any interesting observations.

· Do not overburden participants with too many questions but allow room for creative inputs such as drawings and poems.

· The worksheet should be open-ended to encourage different creative inputs and should be distributed and discussed before making the field trip.



You might like to consider a field trip to a volcanic area (e.g., Camiguin Island). Bukidnon State College students visited sites destroyed in the last eruption and visited the seismic monitoring station on the slopes of Camiguin's most active volcano, Hibok-hibok. The participants were guided by worksheets to look at the tragic history of the volcanic eruptions, which have influenced the lives of thousands of people. They were asked to examine the economic status of people living near or on the volcanic areas, as well as examining the geological evidence.

Worksheet for a field trip to the Camiguin area

· Hibok Hibok was lost active as a volcano in 1951. What happened during the last eruption to the communities living in Cota Bato, the old capital?

· Looking at the seismic station, what do you think is the key indicator that another eruption is iminent?

· Sketch Bonbon church today.

· Describe how it might have looked during the eruption.

· Sit in the church and write a short poem describing the atmosphere of the church. Try and sit away from other people and concentrate on what you can hear.

· Draw a map of Camiguin showing its seven active volcanos.

Note: Provide space for answers in the actual worksheet. Illustrations make the worksheet look more appealing.


Plan for discussions during and after the field trip

· This should be done to find out what knowledge or insights the participants have gained from the field trip experience. Try and conduct informal discussions while on the trip.

· Build in a feedback session after lunch and after dinner to clarify objectives and further fields of study.

· Do not let the field trip experience 'die' on returning to your community or college. Follow-up immediately.


Evaluate worksheets with the group. Create a small exhibition of photographs and text.

Cross tripping/comparing environments


· In many coastal areas of the Philippines, fish stocks have fallen dramatically and coral has been severely damaged by dynamite and cyanide. One solution to this problem is to establish a fish sanctuary where fishing is restricted and appointed wardens in the community protect the area, until the reserve recovers.


· In Bohol, Philippines, a newly formed fishers' organization visited a nearby organization that had set up a fishing sanctuary a couple of years before. They not only met with the founders of the organization, but also were enabled with snorkels to see for themselves how the area had began to recover. This encouraged them to create their own reserve.

Thank you to Dr Vivian Alberto for having the creative energy to practically realize many of these ideas.

Further reading

Guevara, J.R. 1997. Renewing Renew: A Restoration Ecology Workshop. Center for Environmental Concerns. Manila, Philippines.


Learners actively participate in practical tasks or games.



1. To provide an opportunity to learn and practise new skills in a safe and supportive environment

2. To illustrate facts or theories in a practical way to make them easier to understand and remember.

3. To provide experiences to help participants explore and change their attitudes.

4. To evaluate participants' skills or the outcome of training activities.


The purpose will vary with the specific activity - see examples 1-4.


· Makes use of the fact that most people learn more through "doing" than through seeing or listening.

· Participants usually enjoy these practical activities so their interest and attention can be held for longer periods than when pure mental concentration is required. (The facilitator usually enjoys them too.)


· Outcomes may be unpredictable because of the high level of participant involvement.
· Sometimes "expensive" in terms of time and materials.


Materials, duration and skills needed and numbers of people depend on the particular activity chosen.

Practising a new skill

Have one facilitator for every 5-10 participants (more if the activity is dangerous, e.g., welding, giving intravenous drugs).

· Make sure materials and equipment are available to avoid participants getting frustrated.

· Allow time for tidying up, changing clothes, etc., and for participants to share what they have learned.

Example 1


This has been used as part of the Community Based Rehabilitation Program of ALAYKA offered to local health workers in Palawan, Philippines. It is done with three or four facilitators for 15 to 20 participants. Following a training on ways of helping some disabled children by using toys and play activities, the participants are given the chance to invent or choose toys to help specific children. They make these (or sometimes a model of a bigger toy) using a variety of easily obtainable materials and waste items (e.g., card, plastic bottles, boxes, wood, string, cloth, needles and thread, paper, crayons or pens, tins, nails, wire, etc.)

Plastic bottles filled with sand to stop them from falling over. Rings cut from a bigger bottle and covered with tape. These can help develop coordination skills and basic number skills.

A box with different-shaped holes, and blocks to post in the holes. These can help develop hand control, coordination and shape-matching skills.

Illustrating facts or theories

Example 2a

The effect of exercise - "fetch me"

During ALAYKA's training on basic anatomy and physiology for local healthworkers (in Palawan, Philippines), the game "fetch me" has been used to help participants learn about the effects of exercise on the body.

Duration: approximately 30 minutes, but if just doing "fetch me", it only takes 5-10 minutes.


· (for "fetch me") - items from the environment in which the training is taking place (e.g., flowers, stones, leaves, etc.), paper and pens, a prize for the winning team (optional).

· (for the "effect of exercise") - Watch or clock able to measure seconds.

People: 10 - 20 split into three or four groups (each containing at least one person able to measure pulse rate) and one facilitator (minimum) - ideally one per group.

1. Before starting the game, each team selected a runner who was physically fit.

2. They measured the runners' breathing rate and pulse rate (over a one minute period) and recorded it. Facilitators checked that the participants were able to measure this accurately and gave help or training if necessary. Note: This took some time as measuring breathing rate is difficult.

3. Next, the main facilitator asked them to go and "fetch me" an object (e.g., a pink flower) as fast as they could, and as soon as the runners returned, they were asked to "fetch me" a different item.

4. Step 3 was repeated 3-4 times (with the fastest team each time scoring three points, the second team two points and the third team, one point), then the runners' breathing and pulse rates were taken again and recorded.

5. Participants were also asked to record anything they noticed about the runners' bodies (e.g., sweating).

6. Measurements were repeated after a three-minute rest period.

7. To process the information, the results were compared and questions were used to help draw explanations for the figures from the participants.

Other uses of "fetch me"

· Without measuring pulse rate, "fetch me" can be used as an energizer.

· Following orientation to a new area, office, school, etc., "fetch me" can be used to assess participants' knowledge of where different facilities are located (e.g. "fetch me a cup from the staff room", "fetch me an envelope", etc.).


Make use of any relevant special skills the participants may already have. (e.g., measuring pulse rate).

Example 2b

Circulation chase

This activity was used during human biology lessons in a school near London, the United Kingdom, to help teach about the circulatory system where the heart pumps blood around the body.

1. An outline of a person was drawn on the ground (approximately 6-8 meters tall).

2. One student stood in the middle, as the heart, holding a container full of sweets.

3. Several other students ran round (inside the body) as though they were the blood cells traveling to different parts of the body.

4. Each time a "blood cell" passed through the heart they received a sweet (to symbolize the heart pumping them round and the oxygen and sugar they would carry to the other parts of the body).

5. The faster they ran, the more sweets they got. (This symbolized the faster heartbeat that occurs when we exercise, and the extra oxygen and sugar needed by the body during exercise).

6. Because they were running fast, their own hearts had to beat fast, which emphasized the role of the heart and circulatory system.



To avoid encouraging students to eat sweets, counters or small pebbles could be used (and if desired), exchanged for healthier snacks, such as fruit, at the end of the game.

Promoting attitude change

Example 3

Disability awareness training

One leg missing

Part of one arm missing

a. During the early phase of a professional training course in Occupational Therapy (in Liverpool, United Kingdom), simple equipment was used to simulate different disabilities (e.g., blindfolds for blindness, clouded goggles for cataracts, ear muffs for hearing impairment, elastic strapping to simulate missing limbs (see illustrations), thick gloves to simulate a loss of feeling in the hands). Wearing this equipment, the students attempted to carry out a series of everyday tasks (cooking, dressing, shopping, communicating, etc.). The outcome was increased understanding of the difficulties and frustrations faced by some people who have physical disabilities, resulting in a more empathetic approach to those people, increased efforts to ask their opinions about their problems, and increased motivation to help them find solutions to their problems.

Note: Later in the course, this understanding of the difficulties resulted in feelings of deep respect for individual people with disabilities who had overcome their difficulties to lead active and purposeful lives.

b. A new worker at an organization working with and managed by people with disabilities in London (United Kingdom), was given an induction which involved shopping while using a wheelchair. He found he could cope with most of the practical difficulties (e.g., access to the shops) but was accutely aware of people staring, pitying him and labeling him as different.


Such short term experiences and equipment that only partially simulates a particular disability can lead to a denial of the importance of the problems, if the experience is not discussed carefully with the participants afterwards. For example: ear muffs for deafness do not completely block the sense of hearing and do not simulate the difficulty with learning spoken and written language which is experienced by those Deaf from birth.

Evaluating training

Games which require participants to use or divulge their newly acquired knowledge can be a way of evaluating what they have learned from a training course.


Competitive games may put pressure on participants to hurry, and this can result in more errors and therefore lower apparent achievements than the participants are capable of. This will affect the evaluation and may reduce participants' self-confidence.

Example 4

Dietary relay (Example used in healthworker training by ALAYKA)

1. Following a basic training on nutrition, which explained the three main groups of foods, a relay race was used to evaluate the training.

2. The group was divided into three teams.

3. Each team was given an umbrella and a face down pile of cards with the names of various food items.

4. On the wall in front of each team (and about 5 m. away) was a sheet of manila paper divided into three columns and marked "go", "grow" and "glow".

5. Each person in turn put up the umbrella, picked up a card, ran to the wall and placed it in what they felt was the appropriate column.

6. They then ran back and gave the umbrella to another person in their team, who did the same with the next card.

7. The first team to place all their cards received three points, the second team two points, and the last team one point. Then, each team received one point for every "correctly placed" food item.

"go foods" - carbohydrates or energy givers

"grow foods" - proteins or body builders

"glow foods" - vitamins and minerals or vitality givers


In this game, many items (e.g., mung beans, nuts, bananas) can be correctly placed in two or all of the columns, and the resulting discussion about this was possibly more valuable than the game itself in reinforcing the participants' practical knowledge of nutrition.


Games are an active and social way of learning. Many common place games, e.g., playing cards and board games, can be adapted to introduce specific topics and needs for the community. These can provoke discussion about certain issues like health, gender and environment.



To encourage people to read the messages as they play and discuss their content. They do this in an enjoyable way, and repetition of the game reinforces the messages.

Snakes and ladders

This is a board game where up to six players compete to reach the finish square first. Players throw a dice and move their stone forward square by square. When they land at the foot of the ladder, they go up to the top - reading the message (aloud) as they do so. When they land on the head of a snake, they go down to the snake tail, also reading the message in the squares. Positive messages go up the ladder; negative messages go down the snake. Each player must throw a six to start, and can take second turn if they throw a six during the game. They need to throw the one number to get them exactly to the finishing squares, in order to win. The messages can be discussed during the game, when the player reaches a ladder or snake. Alternatively they could be discussed at the end of the game.


Used as a fun way of learning about a topic. Can be used for topics on health, hygiene, gender, money, etc.

An example on a health topic


· cheap local materials (e.g., beer posters, political posters, any stiff card) or use a sheet of cartolina
· crayons one dice
· markers
· pens or pencils
· paints
· stones, shells or bottle tops as counter

1. Measure the sheet into numbered squares.

2 If you wish, color the squares where the head of the snake begins and the square where the tail ends. Use different color for the top and bottom of the ladder. You can use crayons, markers, pens or paints for this. If no colors are possible, use shading in pen or pencil.

3. Write out a list of:

· 8 positive messages; and
· 8 negative messages.
· The messages must be able to fit into the spaces left at the top and bottom of both snakes and ladders.

4 Copy the messages onto the prepared board.

5. Cover the board with plastic film for protection.

6. Seal with scotch tape.

It may seem expensive to do this, but is a worthwhile outlay because the game then becomes more durable for both indoor and outdoor use.


· Useful as an energizer
· A fun way for children/adults to learn.
· Portable and easy to transport.


· Different boards are needed for different sets of messages.


You may not think you are a good enough artist, but all that is necessary for a snake & ladders are simple lines.

Example 1

This game has been used in health programs in many developing countries and adapted to the needs of each program.

It is very popular with children who, in Mindoro, La Union, Philippines, come to borrow it again and again.

Example 2

This game had been used with gender messages using the following messages:

Positive messages (ladder)

· Your children share the chores - boys & girls
· Your wife cooks- you wash up. You cook - she washes up.
· You send all your children to school (boys & girls) so they learn and earn later.
· You and your wife discuss and make a joint decision about a new venture (livelihood project).

Negative messages (snakes)

· You go drinking with your friends - so the children go without medicine.
· You keep your daughter at home to help because you think that education for girls is not important.
· Your wife is ill - so you make your daughter do all her work.

Health snap

Another popular game is cards. Children often play cards to gamble for sweet papers, rubber bands or marbles. This suggested the idea that cards could be used to promote health messages. An alternative could be gender messages or money management.

Materials and preparation

You can buy an ordinary pack of playing cards and cut a piece of their card to the shape of the playing cards. On each piece, draw a basic picture and health message - 13 different messages repeated four times each as in a deck of playing cards. Paste the pictures onto the playing cards.

Note: These can also be used as flashcards to discuss the message on each card.

How to play?

I. Divide the cards equally among players.

2 Let the players hold the cards in their hands with the backs up and the pictures hidden.

3. Let each player take her or his top card and place it face up on the table. The other players follow in turn with a card.

4. Ask other players to watch carefully and when two of the same card appear together at the top of the pile on the table - the first player to shout 'SNAP!' puts her or his hand on the pile gains all these cards.

5. Let the players read the message aloud for everyone to hear.

6. Continue the game until one player wins all the cards.


Someone who is deaf would be unable to shout. But they could put both hands on the cards to claim them.


Health messages

Spitting spreads tuberculosis. Wash your hands after using the toilet. Too much alcohol is bad for your health. Cigarette smoking is bad for your body. Brush your teeth after eating. Bury or recycle your rubbish. Breastfeeding is the best. Vaccination protects your child. Use the toilet or bury the stools. Cover food to protect from flies. Cover your water container. Collect the water where the river runs fast. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. Stagnant water encourages mosquitoes.



· portable
· cards are readily available
· liked by children and adults
· can be adapted to many topics


· Playing cards may seem expensive. Stiff card could be used but it would not be as durable for frequent use.

· Limitations of the artist - it is important that each set of 4 should look the same.


· This activity has been used constantly in Mindoro - Bangar, La Union Philippines by the children in a Child to Child pilot study (child-centered health promotion) and their parents, and by adolescents. The messages on the cards are frequently repeated, even when the cards are no longer there.

· The cards have also been adapted to cover topics which were of priority to communities e.g., malnutrition and scabies.


This is a board game with colored squares and cards in colors that match the squares (see diagram).



The game is meant to encourage money management and it is better if players handle their own money. Let the players read the instructions and pay and count for themselves, however slowly they may do it.


· one board with colored squares

· a set each of expenses, earnings and savings card colored red, blue and green respectively

· money in denominations of P500, P100, P50, P20, P10 and P5 (this example comes from the Philippines where the currency is peso). This can be play money or slips of paper with denominations written on them

· dice and shakers

· counters - these must be of different colors, shapes etc., and could be stone, shells, etc.

· slips of paper

· pen and pencils

Suggested approach

1. Let each player throw a six to start. After each six thrown, make another throw. Each player earns P500 when they start (e.g., 3 x PI 00,2 x P50,4 x P20,1 x P90 and 2 x P5).

2. One person is in charge of the bank and has a slip of paper with each name on it. S/he is not a player.

3. The aim of the game is to save as much as possible. The winner is the player with the most savings.

4. The game can be timed. Thirty minutes is a good time, with the banker giving warnings before it ends.

5. When the player lands on a colored square, s/he picks up a card of that color and follows instructions.

Red cards - the players pay to the banker or other players as per instructions.

Blue cards - the bank or other players pay the player as per instructions.

Green cards - the player must make a deposit in her or his savings in the bank. A Bonus Card means the bank makes the deposit. If all the player's money is already deposited -ignore instructions.

Although the players are encouraged to save, they should also keep cash in the hand for immediate expenses. They may deposit and withdraw money when they wish. However, it should be pointed out that in real life, banks are not open all the time, and the player should try to judge how much they need for their payments.


· It is advisable to keep the bank's money out of reach of the players. It is very tempting to CHEAT!

· Players should be encouraged to save small amounts regularly but to keep cash in the hand for immediate expenses. An added incentive would be to stop half way through the game and give "interest" on savings, e.g., 5%, and again at the end.

The board is designed so there is no end -although there is a beginning. Each player, on reaching a junction, must decide which way is the best to go (obviously, they do not want to land on an expense square). Like life, we do not always make the right decisions. Players may not return along the same lines.

If players spend all their money, they become BANKRUPT - but (as in real life) continue playing. If they incur more expenses, their credit is recorded on their bank slip. If they do earn money, they have to pay their debts first. At the end of the game, players are given their savings to count. The banker checks this and the person with most savings is declared the winner!

Numbers required (cards)


Take your salary, P500x5 cards

You earn a dividend from the coop, P200x2

A small catch, P50x3

A small catch, P100x2

Each player owes you P5, collect x 3

You make a small profit from your livelihood project, P100x2

It's your birthday - collect P10 from each player x3

Your vegetables are growing well, you earn P100x2

A good catch, P500x3


Gasoline, 3 liters x 45 x 3

You buy a pig for your son's wedding, P600x1

Food, P50x5

You give a donation for the school, P20x2

Your child is ill - medicines P50x2

You give a donation for the church, P20x2

You get drunk with your friends. It costs P100.

You pay your coop dues, P100x2

Lose a turn You need condiments, P20xl

You pay your debts, P100x1 P200x1 P300x1

You need cooking oil, P5x3


You buy vegetables, P10x2

Electricity bill, P100x2

You buy fruit, P10x2

Damage to your boat, repairs P100x3 P300x2

You buy a pig for your son's wedding - P600x1



Bonus card - P50 for savings x3

You save, P50 x 4

You save, P10 x 10

Bonus card - P100 for savings x 2

You save, P20 x 6

Bonus card, P20x3

For savings, 5% interest on all your savings x 2


How the game can be adapted for upland communities



A good rice harvest - P500x2

A visit to the market for food - P250x3

A moderate rice harvest - P200x4

You have your rice milled - P?

A good vegetable harvest - P200x4

(Different weights, different costs) x 4

You sell two young carabaos - P200x2

A poor yield this year. You owe P500x2

Your carabao dies. You must buy a new one, P2500x1


This game has been played by children and adults in Bangar, La Union, Philippines. It is used by a fisherfolks' cooperative as an icebreaker in their basic accounting seminars.

It has also been demonstrated, adapted and tested by Women's Credit Coops in Cebu, Philippines. The original idea was developed to help street children in Baguio City, Philippines to develop budgeting skills.

Contact organizations










Basic facilitation skills

Training needs assessment

WII-FM (What's in it for me)

Evaluation techniques


Forming groups

Creative congratulations


Mood setting exercises


Mind mapping

Creative use of overhead projectors

Slide/photo presentations

Visual spicers

Posters as problem-posing materials

Drawing and chalk talk

Comic love

Self-expression through pictures

Body language

Visual gestural communication

Shadow plays

Easy puppets

Basic theater skills

Role play

Animated comics role play activity

Folkstorytelling: Stories come alive!

Oral testimonies




Making and using case studies

Action research

Field trips

Physical activities as educational tools



Palawan Provincial Hospital, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

Alay sa Kalusugan ng Palawan (ALAYKA) is a government-funded community-based health program operating throughout Palawan. Creative training techniques are used both for community education and staff development.


Malaybalay, Bukidnon · Tel. no. (088) 813 8717 · Fax no. (088) 841 2237 · Email

Bukidnon State College (BSC) is a chartered government institution offering teacher education, liberal arts and information technology courses. It was founded in 1924 and is located in the capital town of Malaybalay, Bukidnon.


Foundation for Huwomanity Centred Development (FHCD), 14 Quimson Subdivision, Baguio City 2600 · Tel. no. 074 443 8378

FHCD supports socio-economic projects in the Cordillera mountains and La Union.

Mila Anguluan

UP Diliman, Ipil Residence Hall, Diliman, Quezon City · Tel. no. 920 5301 - 99

Ms. Mila Anguluan is a member of the National Storytelling Association, Tennessee, U. S. A.

Lingkod Banahaw

Candelaria Municipal Building, Candelaria, Quezon 4323 · Tel. no. 072 7411121

Lingkod Banahaw is a community-based service for Deaf and other disadvantaged people in Quezon province.


#3 Road 1 Barangay, Bagong Pag-asa, Project 6, Quezon City · Tel. no. 453-0057/58 · Fax no. 453-0057 · Email

Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE) is a non-government organization that aims to enrich the practice of popular education in ways that promote creative and democratic participation in the movement towards popular empowerment.


Catbalogan, Samar · Tel. no. 756 0185

Tandaya Foundation, Inc. (TFI) is a non-government organization (NGO) in Samar, Philippines, where it chairs the NGO executive committee. It is active in a wide range of trainings including strategic development planning and team-building. It does community organizing in six municipalities as well as research into environmental, health and gender issues.


251-F, Tandang Sora, Quezon City · Tel. no. 929-1771

Teatro Silencio Pilipinas is a Deaf dance theater company.


Catbalogan, Samar · Tel. no. 756-0571,756 0179

Western Samar Agricultural Resource Development Programme (WESAMAR) is a special five-year project of the Department of Agriculture, funded by the European Union. It gives help to organized communities in 14 towns, to manage their resources in a sustainable manner. Environmental education is a key component of the programme. Creative methods of training are used to bring about real change in environmental behavior.

Workshop participants

Mila A. Anguluan UP Diliman, Ipil Residence Hall, Diliman, Quezon City · Tel. no. 920 5301-99

Nilam Ashra International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite · Tel. no. (046) 414 2417 · Fax no. (046) 414 2420 · Email · Voluntary Service Overseas, 7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes, West Avenue, Quezon City · Tel/Fax no. (02) 426 2761 · Email

Cris "Briggs" Brigoli Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE), #3 Road I Barangay, Bagong Pag-asa, Project 6, Quezon City · Tel. no. 453-0057/58 · Fax no. 453-0057 · Email

Dennis Rhoneil C. Balan Teatro Silencio Pilipinas, 251-F, Tandang Sora, Quezon City ·Tel. no. 929-1771

Leonardo C. Eduave Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon · Tel. no. (088) 813 8717 · Fax no. (088) 841 2237 · Email

Carl "Ed" Edwards Voluntary Service Overseas, 7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes, West Avenue, Quezon City · Tel. no. (02) 426 2761 · Email

Veronica "Kath" Ford Foundation for Huwomanity Centered Development (FHCD), 14 Quimson Subdivision, Baguio City 2600 · Voluntary Service Overseas

Nick Hampton Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon · Tel. no. (088) 813 8717 · Fax no. (088) 841 2237 · Email · Voluntary Service Overseas, 7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes, West Avenue, Quezon City

Simeon D. Hart Lingkod Banahaw, Candelaria Municipal Building, Candelaria, Quezon 4323 · Tel. no. (072) 741 1121 · Voluntary Service Overseas

Isidoro "Sid" Lagahit Western Samar Agricultural Resource Development Programme (WESAMAR), Catbalogan, Samar · Tel. no. 756-0571, 756 0179

Annie Orale Llauderes Tandaya Foundation, Inc. Catbalogan, Samar · Tel. no. 756 0185

Siobhan O'Malley Western Samar Agricultural Resource Development Programme (WESAMAR), Catbalogan, Samar · Tel. no. 756-0571, 756 0179 · Voluntary Service Overseas

Joy Rivaca-Caminade International Institute of Rural Reconstruction, Silang, Cavite · Tel. no. (046) 414 2417 · Fax no. (046) 414 2420 · Email

Cathy Rosario Voluntary Service Overseas, 7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes, West Avenue, Quezon City · Tel/Fax no. (02) 426 2761 · Email or

Cecilia "Thea" V. Soriano Popular Education for People's Empowerment (PEPE), #3 Road I Barangay, Bagong Pag-asa, Project 6, Quezon City · Tel. no. 453-0057/58 · Fax no. 453-0057 · Email

Carol Margaret Spencer Alay sa Kalusugan ng Palawan (ALAYKA), Palawan Provincial Hospital, Puerto Princesa, Palawan · Voluntary Service Overseas

Beulah Rose R. Torres Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon · Tel. no. (088) 813 8717 · Fax no. (088) 841 2237 · Email


Vivian Alberto Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon · Tel. no. (088) 813 8717 · Fax no. (088) 841 2237 · Email

Carolyn Angus Bukidnon State College, Malaybalay, Bukidnon · Tel. no. (088) 813 8717 · Fax no. (088) 841 2237 · Email

Stuart Green Voluntary Service Overseas, 7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes, West Avenue, Quezon City

Karen Hampson Western Samar Agricultural Resource Development Programme (WESAMAR), Catbalogan, Samar · Tel. no. 756-0571, 756 0179 · Voluntary Service Overseas, 7 Dansalan Road, Philam Homes, West Avenue, Quezon City


Annie B. Blanca
Renier J. Blas
Karing Paglinawan

Workshop production staff

Workshop coordinators Carl "Ed" Edwards, Siobhan O'Malley, Joy Rivaca-Caminade, Cathy Rosario

Artists Ricardo "Ric" Cantada, Reymund "Rey" Cuevas, Roily Nicart

Desktop Staff Evangeline "Jel" Montoya, Manuel "Manny" Padilla, Ruel Panganiban, Librado "Levy" Ramos

Support Staff Eric Ban-eg, Joel Llantero, Gerry Medina


Enormous thanks to Bobby Garcia of PEPE and Robbie Guevara of the Center for Environmental Concerns for their advice, and for the inspiration that Robbie's book - Renewing Renew; a restoration ecology workshop manual - gave us in producing this book.