Article by FO-Aarhus
In September the EntreTheatre project conducted a Teacher Training in Denmark in a secluded but very lovely beach resort in Saxild south of Aarhus.
17 people including partners and Teachers from all partner countries took part in a training session where all the theater practices we had developed in the project were to be tested in real life.
Each partner was responsible for guiding us all through the different exercises that they had developed.
In the previous phases of the project we have been analyzing and selecting the most important Entrepreneurial skills needed to either start your own business or get even more competitive in entering the job market.
The skills we had selected where:
- Working with others
- Coping with uncertainty
- Taking initiative
- Spotting opportunities
- Perseverance and motivation
These skills have been chosen based on analysis and focus group interviews. The outset for the skill sets was taken from the European Skill frameworks EntreComp and LifeComp, listing and describing the most needed skills in either Entrepreneurship and the mastering of Life-skills. You can learn more about this work in the output 1 of the EntreTheatre project on www.entretheatre.eu
But back to the Teacher Training. We sometimes tend to forget how much impact it has to actually work through a process using both mind, body and voice. And also we fail to acknowledge the importance of group work.
We started out by focusing on the individual: Self Awareness. Here we used all of our senses in exploring the world around us. An easy task in the fantastic nature surroundings of Saxild, and the stories that we came back with were both deep felt and moving.
Working with Others
We then turned to the Group: Working with others. Here we learned that it can be difficult to work together if you do not trust the other in your group. You can only control your own motions, so letting go of trying to control and anticipate what others do, can sometimes help the flow in the group. With a few well designed exercises it was like magic happened when we just focus on ourselves but the whole group starts acting as one entity.
Then it started to get a bit harder. We began by starting to have dialogues with each other. The “Yes but…” and the “Yes and…” method took the talk in very different ways, and it was hard to try to maintain control. The “business meeting” method was the next level, where we were given a secret number in the hierarchy. We then had to discuss a case and the audience (and actors) should try to guess where each person was in the internal hierarchy. This gave a good insight in the logic of power and how to express it in meetings.
Coping with Uncertainty
A way of handling uncertainty is to keep going even if you don’t know where you are going. In the Joint Monologue exercise everybody is in a circle and used only a single word to keep a story going. For this exercise its important to feel safe, so we started by creating the “Accepting Circle” where one person said a word and the others mimicked the word and the gesture. In this way we felt comfortable going on with the exercises.
One of the Key skills to master is to be able to take initiative in a group. This skill was practiced by using the “6 hats” methodology. Each hat represents one of the 6 positions
We started by getting into the positions by acting them with just the body. Then we got one of the positions in secret and we had to act out a play where we had to solve different complex problems.
It was fun to try to guess who was in “Control” and who was “Creative” and it gave a good insight into how all positions are needed in order to get a good result, and how one person can jump from one “hat” to another.
Another important skill to master is how to spot opportunities. For this exercise the group did two different types of role play. In the “Mingle to a Party” exercise each one got a note with a quest and a resource. The quest might be to find someone who could nanny their child, and the recourse could be to be a yoga instructor. The guests then had to mingle and small talk at the party, and find someone who might help them to complete their quest, and also to see if they could help the other guests. The next role play “Marketplace” was more advanced.
Each team got 10 items og produce to sell at the market, and some money. They all had to set up a shop and try to buy all the items on their shopping lists. If they could not find the items at the market, they could buy them at the local supermarket, but at a fixed price.
This exercise forced the teams to plan ahead, and follow their strategy. Some teams were more consistent in this than others, and it was fun to see how differently this task was approached.
Perseverance and motivation
The most difficult and also most important thing to master as an entrepreneur is to keep going, also when things are getting tough.
This required a strong group dynamic, so we entered the accepting circle once again.
We trained focus and perseverance using the Columbian Hypnosis exercise where one person’s face has to follow the other person’s hand. This is a task that requires a lot of focus and stamina. We also trained making shapes. Groups of three made three different shapes with their bodies, and then had to change between them really fast. This exercise is naturally impossible to do at high speeds, but it was fun to see how long we could keep up.
The training was a huge success, and the group dynamic was very strong within the group.
We are sure that these and the other methods in our methodology will be very effective in training the skills needed by young would-be entrepreneurs.