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Training - Empowering Young People - Programme

Exercise 1: Group Contract
The Group Contract exercise provides the participants with guidelines, decided on by the group in negotiation, on how they will work together so that everyone is able to contribute, enjoy and get the most out of the training. Starting as a small group discussion, the exercise becomes a whole group negotiation to identify the behaviour that the participants expect from one another.

Exercise 2: Tree of Life – Pre-evaluation
This evaluation exercise enables participants to reflect on their emotions both at the beginning and end of the session. The ‘Tree of Life’ illustration shows generic characters at various stages of their lives and allows participants to identify with one of these characters, and their emotional state.

Exercise 3: Introduction to the theme, “listening and listening skills”
This introductory text from the Personal Development Module can be adapted and used to introduce several listening and listening skills activities found in the module. The text is generic and should be adapted to the needs of the target audience before being read aloud to provide a context for the work to be done during the first day of the module.

Exercise 4: Group Portrait
This visual whole group activity encourages participants to focus on others rather than on themselves. Through looking at and drawing other members of their group, they can understand and acknowledge the importance of each member of the group. Drawing ability is not required!

Exercise 5: Speed Dating
This discussion exercise enables participants to share information about themselves and to start developing listening skills. It is a fun activity and the format is familiar - similar to that of musical chairs with individuals moving around the room until the music stops (at which point they must find the nearest mat and speak to the people on it). The aim of this discussion is to find out as much as possible as about the other person in order to introduce them to the rest of the group.

Exercise 6: Group Story
This fun verbal exercise illustrates the success of cooperative working, stimulating group co-operation, teamwork and listening. The group stands in a circle, and working as one ‘author’ will create a story, passing from person to person in the circle until the story is complete. The story that the group produces will make sense only if the members of the group listen to one another and support one another in its telling.

Exercise 7: Chinese Whispers
This communication exercise demonstrates to participants how difficult it can be to listen and interpret information accurately. Participants pass a message around a circle by whispering the message to the person sitting beside them. Once the message has reached the last person in the circle, that person is to say the message to everyone in the circle to determine how accurately the information has been relayed. Seldom does the message survive its journey intact!

Exercise 8: Chain Reaction
This kinaesthetic activity encourages active listening and highlights the fact that our actions are usually a reaction to those around us. Individuals are given unique instructions that they are not to show to anyone else. Once everyone has been given their instructions they are allowed to read and perform their instructions. All of the tasks are related to one another.

Exercise 9: Autograph Hunt
This practical activity encourages participants to look at and appreciate others’ attributes. The goal of the activity is to identify people with certain physical attributes and obtain an “autograph” from those people. This activity is based on the powers of observation.

Exercise 10: Blocking Information
This problem-solving activity enables participants to recognise that there are barriers that can block the passage of information – both accidental and deliberate. The game also helps build team-working skills as success will depend on co-operation and initiative. Teams are to pass, receive or block information reaching its destination – without physically touching one another. This is a physical manifestation of a basic communication concept.

Exercise 11: Active and Inactive Listening
This challenging verbal exercise allows participants to experience how it feels when they are and are not listened too. Individuals deliberately ignore the stories of other group members, and it is the emotional fall out of this that is explored.

Exercise 12: Story Telling
This reflective exercise encourages participants to recognise their own successes. We all experience success at something in our lives and this activity celebrates it and encourages us to repeat the success.

Exercise 13: Dream Vision
This interactive exercise encourages participants to develop success strategies for themselves to build on their past successes and ensure success for the future. Young people are encouraged to imagine or dream their future. They are then asked to describe that vision on paper, a strategy that makes the dream more likely to become reality. The final task of the session is to share the dream with others and listen to suggestions on how to achieve their vision.

Exercise 14: Tree of Life – Post- evaluation
This evaluation enables participants to reflect on their achievements during the session. Participants are to use their earlier ‘Tree of Life’ illustration (see ‘Tree of Life - Pre-evaluation’ activity) to reflect on their own growth during the training and identify with one of the ‘Tree of Life’ characters, and their emotional state. The character that they choose may or may not be the same as the one that they chose at the beginning of the training. Participants can then share this information with others in the group, and reflect on the contributions of other members of the group.

Exercise 15: Positive Statements
This introductory exercise builds on the work done during day one of the module, encouraging participants to share their successes and emotions. Participants are asked to tell the rest of the group something positive that has happened to them since the last session. The facilitator is to encourage group responses and support individuals in their contributions.

Exercise 16: Skills, Competencies and Characteristics for Achievement
This exercise shows young people that there are skills and competences behind the achievements made and performances given by successful people. It highlights that these skills and competences are transferable between different aspects of life. The aim is to develop their understanding of the relationship between achievements and performances and skills, competences and characteristics. This understanding is then used to focus on their own achievements and performances and the ideas behind them.

Exercise 17: Introduction to workshops
This introductory text can be adapted by the facilitator depending on the target audience. The introduction outlines the workshops the skills that will be used during the rest of the day. The focus of this session is on achievement and how to work together, contributing individual skill sets to the group in order to succeed.

Exercise 18: The Lego Teambuilding Workshop
This fun workshop is an excellent teambuilding activity that incorporates communication and problem-solving skills. Participants form groups of 4 or 5 and are tasked with constructing a lego building. The groups are given a strict brief and a twist in the tail!

Exercise 19: Egg Drop Auction and Workshop
This workshop is an energising fun team activity that you can use to bring people together and to demonstrate the principle of teamwork. The workshop is split into two sections:

  • an auction for construction materials
  • egg catcher construction

After completing the activity you can lead a discussion / debriefing on how effectively people worked together, the challenges they faced and the roles that different people played in the teams.

Exercise 20: The Kite-building Workshop
This kite-building workshop will test the groups’ teamwork and creative thinking abilities. Groups are given 15 minutes to build a kite from the materials handed to them. Once the groups have worked out their designs, they get to test them outside! A review of skills and achievements completes the workshop.

Exercise 21: Egg Launch
The egg launch workshop is an exciting finish to the training day. Teams once again work together to construct egg launchers, consolidating their creative and enterprise thinking abilities. Using limited materials teams must make a functional egg launcher, and then test it with real eggs! One last opportunity is then given to the participants to reflect on the session and their achievements.

Exercise 22: Finishing the Day
The conclusion to the Personal Development Module is the opportunity to reflect on the group’s performance and the contributions made by individuals. Through self-reflection participants will understand more about themselves and their skills. The last activity of the day is a celebration of achievement.




"Developed with the support of the European Community, within the framework of the Leonardo da Vinci Programme. The opinions expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the position of the European Community, nor does it involve any responsibility on its part."