An Opportunity to Share
Submitted by Natasha Conde-Jahnel
What challenge, problem or motivation inspired you to make one small change?
Every Tuesday morning at 8.30 a.m myself and a group of 25+ students gather in a circle for a 4 hour class where the “helping process” is explored through such things as active listening, reflecting feelings, and paraphrasing feelings. It is an intimate class setting where the Social Service Work students are encouraged to share their feelings in one-on-one/group settings. The process exposes them to the same vulnerabilities that a client would experience when sharing thoughts and feelings with a worker. The class is anxiety-producing as well as intimate and, at times, very uncomfortable. Students who, for example, are shy by nature or whose first language is not English, find this process very difficult. I challenged myself during this morning’s class to engage as many students as possible by offering alternative forms of practicing self-disclosure and vulnerability.
Tell us about your one small change:
I used Nearpod to ask open-ended questions to the class. They then answered in written form on their personal phones or tablets and their answers appeared on the classroom screen for everyone to see. We then went through each and every answer and had an open discussion with the entire class using the students’ answers as jumping off points.
What was the result of your one small change?
It was extremely encouraging to find out that the students did not want to make their answers anonymous (as that would have offset the intention to make oneself vulnerable). I was even further excited to see that, for some of the questions, there was 100% student participation; everyone submitted an answer to the questions posed to them. This allowed the class to hear from the students who are normally more quiet, as well as to get a sense of their values, attitudes, and beliefs. When I asked the students at the end of class, by a show of hands, whether they would find this approach beneficial in future classes, everybody’s hand went up.