Exercise examples

Module 1: Community Building
1. Trust exercises

Easier ones on the first day, build up complexity.

Physical trust first, then psychological, then ideas/thoughts/feelings, sharing something personal that normally only close friends, share something you are vulnerable/fragile about (need to build a container). 

Build trust between 2 people, then build within small group, then build trust with whole group.

1. standing up back to back in 1, 2 then whole group

2. holding one hand of other and balance in sitting poisition

3. head rocking of partner – reciprocal

4. back massage of partner – reciprocal

5. push hands against another, first one lead, then the other, then no one lead, feel each other’s energy – be in flow

2. Deep listening

Presence, absolutely with the person talking, not day dreaming, with them.

Bearing witness. Speaker feels heard.

3. Participtation

Make decision together

Do the recap

Set schedule together

Challenging group work

Once these three created, people love each other enough, care for each other enough. Can do challenging group work.

Angel cards

Expression of self, connection, deep listening

How this card relate to you right now and for this module?

Car driving


1 blindfolded, 1 driver

Story telling

Trust, secure, safe, sharing

1. One person tell a story to the other

2. listener tell story back

3. share if listener account is accurate

– did they capture the emotions? Feelings?

– what beliefs, assumptions (implicit, explicit), preperceptions did the story teller have?

– try to get to underlying mindset / assumptions of their story.

Alien invasion


Enough cushions/cardboard on the floor for all participants, plus one extra.

Aim: stop an alien (played by a facilitator) from standing on the empty cushion.

Time each round and try to improve the length of time the pax stop the alien from getting onto the empty cushion.


1. no talking or communication of any kind

2. once you leave your cushion you cannot return to it, you must find another cushion to stand on

3. if the alien stands on an empty cushion it is the end of that round


How do you feel after the activity?


What did you observe?


How would you apply what you learned to real life? Lessons learned? Teamwork?

Sea of nails

Set up: sea of nails on floor interspersed with empty bowls. Pins should be far apart enough for a foot to be placed between them. Size of pin area – 10m squared for 10 people. If touch a bowl you have to start again.


1. Each person walks across

2. Find a partner and guide them across. One person’s eyes are closed. Can guide by speach or touch (not both)

3. join in a group of 4 and walk across

4. join in a group of 10 (everyone) and walk across

5. Reflect what they observed, felt, learnt (about participation, leadership, community etc)

Deep seeing

Trust, support, connection:

Sit cross legged and look into each others eyes for 4 minutes

Experiential learning cycle

The Reflection stage of the review

All of these questions are designed to focus on pure observation and recall. They ask for neutral, evidence based description of things that may be significant at a later stage.

  • What happened?
  • What did you observe during the activity?
  • What did you notice about what you did?
  • What did you notice other people doing?
  • Did you notice anything that changed during the activity?
  • How did the decision get made to ……?
  • What, exactly, did you (or someone else) say or do at that point?
  • What was the effect of that behaviour?
  • When X happened did you notice anything else that also happened at the same time?
  • Were you aware of any pattern in the behaviours demonstrated eg. “Ann asked a lot of questions?” If not, can you think of any patterns now as you reflect?

The Conceptualization stage of the review

Questions at this stage of the cycle are designed to focus on interpretation, understanding and the creation of personal meaning. Whilst they should be context specific, here are examples of the type of probing questions I would use.

  • What do you think the intention behind that behaviour was? What were you (or someone else) trying to achieve?
  • Why do you think the effect was, or was not, what the person intended?
  • Why do you think Person A was able to influence the group so well?
  • How successfully do you think the group worked together to achieve X?
  • What might you do differently if you were to do this activity again?
  • What is important to you about the experience you’ve just had?
  • Is there anything that we’ve talked about that is particularly relevant or useful to you? What is that and how might you start to use that new insight?

 The Application stage of the review

Questions here are intended to help the learner to make the transition back into their own working or community environments and to think about how they can use their learning to improve performance or personal effectiveness and satisfaction. Examples are:

  • What will you stop, start or continue as a result of this experience?
  • Is there anything you will try that will be a big change for you? How do you feel about that?
  • What support might you need from others?
  • In what situations would it be useful to apply this new learning? Where, when, with whom?
  • How will you know if you are being successful – what measures can you use to check?
  • What do you see as the benefits of applying this learning? What is “in it for you”?
  • How will you continue to learn from the new experiences you will undoubtedly have as you implement these changes?
Share life story - 10 minutes

Trust, safe, secure, understanding

Rank awareness

Different types of rank

Abuse of rank

Right use of rank

Appreciate your rank and rank of others. Sense of respect for each other. Creates a rank dynamic. See difference and diversity of each other.

Pass through net

Get everyone through a net that has gaps in it created by tied pieces of string. 

Noone can touch the string (if anyone touches the string while someone is being passed through then the person being passed through has to start again).

When someone is passed through a gap in the string, that gap gets a piece of string tied across it and cannot be used again.

Most difficult challenge

Share the most difficult challenge you have faced, why it was so difficult and how you overcame it.

Blind leading the blind

Trust, participatory leadership, power sharing, common goal, communication:

1. everyone blindfolded, have to find their way to a destination and the facilitators try to distract/disrupt them

Art and social construction

Understand social constructions, different perspectives, observation vs interpretion, proxy reality vs real reality, Plato’s cave, conceptual lens:

1. Close your eyes, meditate

2. Use crayons to draw a picture to represent your feeling inside or simply to express yourself in whatever way you can think of

Simply draw and express, don’t need to have any particular design

Then other people in group share what they see, any idea, meaning, issue?

You share what this picture means to you.

Walk in Nature

Connecting to nature, senses, observation, sharing:

Write everything you sense

The most precious thing in your life

1. write on a piece of paper the most precious thing in your life

2. go and hide it in the school (outside the classroom)

3. everyone come back to the classroom

4. join hands in a circle

5. without talking and keeping hands held at all times you must go and find/collect everyone’s piece of paper

6. come back to the classroom and share why you wrote what you wrote

Critical thinking, media

Seed ideas in early lessons. Predicting.

1. Novel, Film, Research:

Novel about war, film about war, research with ‘facts’ about war. Compare them.

2. Content and skills: balance the two. Every activity is an opportunity to develop different skills as well as learn the content.

3. You can teach what you don’t know: get students to find out info and bring back to you as a summary. Get info from all different cultures and perspectives. Recycle this material at any time.

4. Distribution of authority, sharing power, teamwork.

5. Take an event (e.g. bomb of baghdad) and get the print from 10 different newspapers with different political leaning / perspective / culture / religion etc. 10 students, each check 6 sources = 60 sources. Give students the general description of the newspaper (e.g. right christian, economic paradigm – financial times, new left review, religious source) – meaning of war changes. Find critical thinkers (journalists). Why difference between them. News museum – all articles on wall (all 60). Get students to compare articles and write on each others’ boards about similarity and differences. Comment on each other’s comments. Why not talk about money? Why not mention the word ‘islam’? Start analysing the absence of things. What does fashion magazine say about iraq war? nothing! Imagine you are a fashion magazine, what would they say about war? Make it up! Get’s students thinking creatively and critically. Innovative.

6.Self evaluation – scale of 1-10 how did you do? Why? Research – ? Presentation – ? Then get feedback from class. 

7. Peer evaluation – simultaneous presentations in small groups. Teacher gets snap shot and advises. No long essays to mark. Evaluate visual, organisation, information.

8. Pushing debates – back and forth. Physical contact in polite and respectful way.

9. Change posture, position, partner, group every 20 minutes. 1 hour absolute max for one task.

10. Project based learning. Then get them to grade themselves.They learn honesty.

11. Make a short youtube video concerning a specific issue raised in a documentary

Forest Schools
Name learning

Name and animal for each person.

Then name and animal + action for each person.

You have to say yours and person to your left, go around the group.

Then yours and two people to your left.

Then yours and three people to your left.

Enquiry based learning

The 4 Steps of Inquiry-Based Learning

So you’ve discovered something that generates your own inquiry, and you’ve recreated that moment for your students when your curiosity was triggered. So what comes next in inquiry-based learning? This can be answered in four basic steps that should represent the outline of a simple unit. Lessons on literacy, researching, informational writing, for example, should be embedded into each of these steps.

Here are examples to make it more concrete:

1. Students develop questions that they are hungry to answer. Writing tie-in: Have them develop a problem statement that requires them to pitch their question using a constructed response, further inquiry, and citation.

2. Research the topic using time in class. It’s crucial to have some of this be classwork so students have access to the head researcher in the room — you. You aren’t going to do the work for them, but you are going to guide them and model methods of researching reliably. Internet literacy tie-in: Show them Instagrok for a more visual browser at the start of the research process. Instagrok is great as a starting place, and it’s also great for our English language learners because it’s so visual. 

3. Have students present what they’ve learned. Students should create and present a culminating artifact. When I have my students present what they’ve learned, I use a rubric that uses “Able to Teach” as the acme of what to reach for. After all, many people can understand content, but can they communicate it? Students can develop a website using Weebly, or perhaps a slideshow using Google Slides.

4. Ask students to reflect on what worked about the process and what didn’t. Reflection is key. And it isn’t just about asking them to think back on their opinion of the topic. It’s about reflecting on the process itself. That’s where you can work in metacognition. Thinking about thinking. Thinking about how they learned not just what they learned. 

In terms of your content area, imagine a classroom where different kids are presenting their findings on a single, simple aspect of the content. You’d have a classroom that, overall, learns deeper and wider than ever before.

In terms of student achievement, the power of their question should help drive the research, the writing, and the presentation. It should help motivate them to become experts in their self-described field. And the more often a student gets a taste of what it feels like to be an expert, in however small a concept, the more they will want that feeling later on in life. 

It all starts with finding your own enthusiasm, your own excitement, and your own curiosity. Trigger yours and you’ll be heading towards a classroom built on inquiry.

Forest Schools

Name learning at beginning of learning journey

Name and animal for each person.

Then name and animal + action for each person.

You have to say yours and person to your left, go around the group.

Then yours and two people to your left.

Then yours and three people to your left.

Blind fold - tree finding

1. one person blind folded

2. other person chooses a tree they want to show to the other pax

3. using either touch or verbal commmunication, guide the pax to the chosen tree

4. allow them to feel, smell, taste, listen, smell the tree!

5. guide them back to the starting point, take off the blindfold and allow them to find their tree


Blind fold - assault course

You tie a cord through the forest, under fallen trees, over fallen trees, through low hanging branches, etc

1. one person blind folded and keeps a hand on the rope at all times

2. other person guides them around the course, using touch and/or verbal communication


Partner choosing

1. Get the group to walk in a circle in the same direction

2. bring attention to their feet, enjoy every footstep, listen to the sound of their feet on the ground, rustling the leaves

3. invite them to walk at their own speed, whatever speed they feel comfortable with

4. bring awareness to their ears and the sounds of the forest, be with those sounds

5. bring awareness to their sight

6. bring awareness to their sense of touch and the wind on their face, the temperature of the air

7. what can they smell? fire? earth? forest? flowers?

8. taste? can they taste anything in the air?

9. bring attention to their feelings inside. How are they feeling? Can they locate this feeling in any part of their body? How is their heart feeling? How are there lungs feeling? How is their stomach feeling? How are their arms and legs feeling?

10. pay attention to their breathing. as an example start to breath in for three steps and out for three steps. or in for 3, hold for 3, out for 3. Choose a number that feels comfortable.

11. Now turn to the person standing next to you, this will be your partner for the next activity.

Reflection/assessment scale

1. use a fallen tree as a scale from high to low, or agree to disagree, or whatever suits the question

2. ask the group questions and get them to answer you by


Schumacher College Teaching and Learning Methods
Field trips

The taught modules will include field trips to farms, market gardens or other sites. You are advised to bring a smallnotebook, rain jacket, waterproof trousers and stout boots on field trips. Thermal underclothing, woollen hat andgloves will also be useful for the winter field trips. You will be provided with background information on the sitebefore the visit, to allow you to form an overview and any questions to ask on site.

Assessment (Plymouth University)

Assessment will be reliable

Reliability refers to the need for assessment to be accurate and repeatable. This requires clear and consistent processes for the setting, marking, grading and moderation of assignments.

• Assessment will be valid

Validity ensures that assessment tasks and associated criteria will effectively measure student attainment of the intended learning outcomes.

• Information about assessment will be explicit and accessible

Clear, accurate, consistent and timely information on assessment tasks and procedures will be madeavailable to students, staff and other external assessors or examiners.

• Assessment will be inclusive and equitable

Inclusive and equitable assessment will ensure that tasks and procedures do not disadvantage any group or individual.

• Assessment will address all of the programme/stage aims and outcomes.

• Assessment tasks will primarily reflect the nature of the discipline or subject but will also ensure thatstudents have the opportunity to develop a range of generic skills and capabilities.

• The amount of assessed work required will be manageable.

• The scheduling of assignments and the amount of assessed work required will provide a reliable and validprofile of achievement without overloading staff or students.

• Formative and summative assessment will be included in each programme/stage.

• Formative and summative assessment will be incorporated into programmes/modules to ensure that the purposes of assessment are adequately addressed.