Tag Archives: reflective writing

A reflective exercise

It’s good to reflect at the end of running a writing for wellbeing workshop.

This way you often find ideas come up for future exercises and ways of working with your group.

The following is an extract from an exercise I presented at A Dose of Writing
at The Poetry School for Lapidus London, in September 2019.

I asked delegates:

– What’s happening in this group?  and to make some notes – being playful,
serious, making it up, or using their own experiences to describe what they thought was going on from what they could see.

– To take two of the characters and write from their perspectives.
Writing for 5 mins on each one.

– Then to extract or choose 5 words that described how each of their two
characters were feeling.

– Lastly to list how they would run the next workshop / meeting for this group given that they’d had time to reflect on the dynamics and feelings in the group.

The painting is The Potato Eaters by Van Gogh.

A reflective practice

I’ve learnt so much from writing reflectively after each writing for wellbeing workshop
I facilitate.

I start by making a list of things that went well; another list of things I think didn’t go so well.  

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Image by Jody Davis from Pixabay

These include how well or not an exercise was received – did it work in terms of
engaging participants? etc, group dynamics, emotional reactions, my facilitation
and its affect on the group. 

From here I go on to write on the things I consider need more attention and focus.  It doesn’t need to be pages – a short description of what it is, and then whatever writing comes from it.

I’ve found reflective writing is especially valuable when leading ongoing groups and courses as I can incorporate the insight and learning into the following workshops.
Creative ways of dealing with situations, and of working with individuals or dynamics within the group effortlessly unfold through writing in this way.

To facilitate a group well and with due respect and kindness for the welfare of
all participants, a group leader needs to be aware of their own internal responses.  This way they can navigate appropriate external responses.

Writing reflectively after each workshop enables the expression and processing of thoughts and feelings.  It allows the facilitator to step back and put group participants at the centre of their practice.  It leads to learning.

It has led me to a deeper empathy for the people I work with, insight into and understanding of their perspectives; it has deepened my understanding of my role as facilitator.

I’ve been doing this  since I began facilitating writing for health and wellbeing groups in 2008.  I can’t imagine running groups without writing reflectively afterwards and
recommend it as a way to develop your group facilitation practice. 

Hatton, N. and Smith, D. 1995. Reflection in teacher education: towards definition and implementation.