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close this bookTraining Manual in Combatting Childhood Communicable Diseases Part I (Peace Corps, 1985, 579 pages)
close this folderModule 1: Climate setting and assessment
close this folderSession 1: Sharing perceptions of health education
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View the documentTrainer Attachment 1A: Suggested symbols for sharing perceptions exercise

(introductory text...)

TOTAL TIME: 2 hours


Setting a climate of sharing and active participation during the first few days of the program is essential to good training for adults. Just as important, participants and trainers need to come together and begin to establish identity as a group. In this opening activity, participants share their feelings and perceptions about being here in the program and about their future roles as health educators. Afterwards, the trainer provides participants with a brief overview of their technical health program.


· To become better acquainted with one another and begin to form a group. (Steps 1-5)
· To share perceptions about health education and future roles as community health educators. (Steps 3, 4)


Trainer Attachment:

- 1A Suggested Symbols for Sharing Perceptions Exercise


Markers and newsprint with symbols drawn.


Trainer Note

Before this opening session, draw four symbols related to the participants' technical program and similar to those in Trainer Attachment 1A. Draw each of the symbols on a different sheet of newprint. Avoid extraneous and possibly interfering or confusing details. The examples should be as simple as possible. Post the symbols on the four walls of the meeting room and, if practical, have chairs near each one. Cover the symbols with a blank sheet of paper or fold them up from bottom to top and secure with tape until Step 2.

In Steps 2 and 3, participants will use the four drawings to describe and share some of their feelings about being involved in the training course. They will also use the same symbols to discuss their perceptions about health education. This kind of activity works best when the trainer keeps the drawings simple, asks clear questions, and allows the participants as much room as possible for interpretation and expression.

Step 1 (30 min)
Getting Acquainted With One Another

Explain to participants that perhaps the most significant element in beginning a training program is to get to know the other people with whom they will be working. Ask them to participate in an ice-breaking activity that will help everyone learn names and faces and find out new things about fellow group members and trainers.

Trainer Note

Any one of various ice-breaking games can be employed in this step. Several examples are given here. Other ideas can be found in Training Attachment 53B (Ice-Breakers and Warm-ups) in Session 53 (Training Design).

Alliteration Name Game: Trainer begins by giving his or her name followed by an adjective which describes how he or she is feeling at the moment and which begins with the first letter of the name (e.g., "Mike Motivated" or "Nancy Nervous"). Moving clockwise around the room, each participant then takes a turn at repeating all the preceding names and descriptors and adds his or her name to the end of the growing list. The game ends when all participants have added their names and have tried to repeat the list.

Superlatives: Participants silently study the composition of the group and select a superlative adjective that describes themselves in reference to the others (e.g., shortest, most nervous, oldest). Moving around the room, they tell their adjectives, give an explanation, and check the accuracy of their self-perceptions.

Who Am I: Trainer gives participants paper, markers and string, and asks them to answer the question "Who Am I" by drawing a pie with wedges that illustrate major areas of their lives. Participants then hang their sheet around their necks and move around the room meeting people, but without speaking. Afterwards, the trainer asks participants to find two or three other people with particularly interesting "pies" and ask them questions about the graphic information.

Fire of Your Life: Trainer provides a box of wooden matches. Participants sit in a circle and have the time it takes for a match to burn to say what they want about themselves. This is particularly effective with large groups.

Step 2 (20 min)
Sharing Feelings Through Symbols

After conducting one of the ice-breaking activities, ask four people to uncover the symbols that have been posted around the roam. As participants are looking at the symbols, write the following question on the board:

- Which symbol characterizes how you feel right now?

Ask participants to move around the room, examine the symbols and choose one, then move to that area and introduce themselves to others gathered there, sharing each of their reasons for choosing that particular symbol.

After people have had a chance to talk for 10-15 minutes, ask a volunteer from each group to share some of the themes that came out in their discussions.

Trainer Note

Other questions can be substituted as the training situation may dictate. (E.g., Which symbol best represents the reason(s) you are involved in this program?)

Step 3 (25 min)
Exploring Perceptions of Health Education

Repeat the process using the following question:

- Which symbol best represents what health education means to you?

Again, have participants form clusters and discuss their perceptions of health education. As the small groups summarize their perceptions for the others, point out similar themes and ideas which emerge and help the group draw some general conclusions about their future roles as health workers and educators.

Step 4 (20 min)
Overview of the Health Program

When the groups have finished reporting, bring everyone together. Building on what just came out of the discussion of health education, give the group a brief overview of their job assignment in primary health care programs and, where applicable, CCCD activities. Also, briefly introduce participants to the concept of health education as defined in the training course.

Trainer Note

Reference to CCCD activities should only be made if the training program is in a Peace Corps country where there is a bilateral CCCD project.

For a discussion of health education, please read the Handouts and Trainer Attachments in Session 16, Introduction to Health Education.

While it is important to give participants some notion of their technical program and approaches to health education, try not to overload them here with details. The overview is intended to provide only a general context.

Step 5 (15 min)
Personal Expectation of the Program

Close the session by asking participants to refer once again to the four symbols. Tell them to stay seated this and select the symbol(s) that represents their personal expectations for the upcoming training. Ask three or four participants to share their selection and explain their expectation.

Tell the group that they will have an opportunity to discuss specific expectations and needs more fully during Session 2.

Trainer Note

If your training group is small, the activity in Steps 2 and 3 will not work as described. One alternative is to reduce the number of symbols from four to three. Another alternative (especially effective with groups of five to ten) is a "Coat-of-Arms" exercise. In this activity, the trainer gives each participant a sheet of paper with a blank "Coat-of-Arms. drawn on it. Participants answer the questions posed by the trainer in Steps 2 and 3 by drawing symbols in each Section of the shield. Up to four questions may be asked to elicit more information and perceptions. After the "Coat-of-Arms" are complete, participants take turns explaining theirs to the others. As in the other activity, the trainer helps the group draw some conclusions regarding their perceptions of training and future work as health educators.

A Coat-of-Arms

Trainer Attachment 1A: Suggested symbols for sharing perceptions exercise

Suggested symbols for sharing perceptions exercise