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Pilot test in Denmark

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EntreTheatre is a European project that is seeking to teach entrepreneurial skills to young people using theatre methods. We have been at is for two years now, and along the way we have produced a skill set based on both life skills and entrepreneurial skills. We have also been developing a set of theatre based exercises and methods that have been specially designed to train these skills.
The partnership met earlier in the project in Denmark to present and further develop the exercises. But the big test of the methods were made in the local pilot tests in each country.

In Denmark we had decided to test the exercises and methodologies on a very special youth target group. FO-Aarhus specialises in teaching young people with special needs. It was an interesting experiment if these theatre methods would work on this target group, and if they would respond well to the challenges. Theatre methods can be quite challenging to be a part of, so we were excited to see if we could use the EntreTheatre methods here, even though they had not been adapted to this target group.

As always it’s a separate challenge to recruit participants to a piloting course, but the teachers and students at “Springbrædt” in FO-Aarhus were willing to try it out.

The teachers were Noa, Sara and Alba who had participated in the Teacher Training earlier, and the participants were all young people who were dealing with various cognitive and learning challenges.

One of the first exercises in the Training Guide is the “Raft” exercise, where all the participants walk around among each other and try to find a clear spot to move to, while walking and trying not to bump into each other. It seems simple enough, but if you focus too much on where the others are going you will feel very stressed. If you on the other hand try to just focus on your own path and where you can move to, the others will do the same and it will be easier to maintain focus and still not bump into each other too much 🙂

Some of the students found it difficult to keep the focus and we had to start over a few times and make sure that they only focus on their own path. This helped a lot, and the exercises proved to be very helpful in keeping focus in a complex and stressful situation. This became very clear with this target group, and that gave us some valuable feedback as to what these exercises can do for people.

During the two days we worked through the exercises and we could start to feel a subtle chance in the young participants. They felt more confident as the course progressed, and they also expressed this in the evaluation and to the teachers during the session.

The big exercise that brought all of the skills together was the “Going to the Market” game. In this the participants gets a lot of different items to sell at the marketplace, and some money to buy with. They have to sell all their goods, and bring home all the stuff on their “Shopping list”. The bartering and negotiation part can be both fun and challenging, and afterwards we compared the different strategies and the result (how much money did you make).
This exercise was good fun, and they were all very engaged in the game.

The whole course was a lot of fun and as the exercises grew more complex and started to require new skills that participants seemed to follow along and rise to the challenge. Noone opted out during the course, and they all expressed a great level of satisfaction and even said it had been a lot of fun.

The evaluation showed a positive trend of the participants saying that they felt that their skills had improved as a result of the training. But as far as bringing them closer to the job market it might be a bit of a stretch for this target group.

All in all it’s a great pleasure to be part of a project where you can actually feel a real difference being made by using the final products. EntreTheatre has definitely produced just such a product, and I would encourage all who work with upskilling and skill building to visit these resources and try them out.

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