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close this bookCreative Training - A User's Guide (IIRR, 1998)
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
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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

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).