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Active Reviewing Tips – December 1998


Active Reviewing Tips for Dynamic Experiential Learning -

~~~~~~ A C T I V E . R E V I E W I N G . T I P S
~~~~~~ the free monthly newsletter linked to the web-based
~~~~~~ Editor: Roger Greenaway
~~~~~~ Vol. 1.7 December 1998.


? Coming Soon: FUTURE ISSUES
? Other Ezines + more about QUOTES
? End Bits

~~~~~~ From the editor: ABOUT THIS ISSUE ~~~~~~

I MET A SUBSCRIBER FACE TO FACE LAST WEEK. I was providing a reviewing skills workshop in the Scottish Highlands. And one of the participants introduced himself as a subscriber to 'Active Reviewing Tips'. His very first question was ''how many other people subscribe?'' The answer is 148. So here's 149 thank you's and the answer to a question that may interest more than one subscriber. Yes there is more than one! :-)

OBSERVANT readers will have noticed that the title of this newsletter has
grown a bit since last month. All will be explained in the next issue.

Readers with GOOD MEMORIES will know that this issue was to be about: ''Reviewing for Individuals, plus a chance to take part in some real reviewing!'' That's just what's coming up.

The focus on INDIVIDUAL reviewing should be of special interest to people who normally review at a group level. In a group setting it can be difficult to give sufficient attention to individually different experiences. So this issue provides a few tips on the subject.

The individual focus is also on YOU! I chose not to ask you for any demographic information in the sign up procedure with ListBot. So I know nothing about you. That's just how it should be - I don't expect my newsagent to ask me to fill in a form before I buy a newspaper.

But I would like to know your VIEWS - about this monthly ezine. A good reader response to the 7 questions below, will help me to develop this ezine around your interests.

~~~~~~ Feedback: REAL REVIEWING ~~~~~~

I have found the 7 questions below to be good ways of getting useful feedback in a live setting. I have yet to find out if this works well via email! The process is very simple:
1) Hit the 'Reply To' button to create an email message that is automatically addressed to 'Active Reviewing Tips'.
2) Answer each question below and hit the send button.
That's all! But if that doesn't work (or if you prefer) just copy and paste the 7 questions into a new message and send it to:

Whether you are a new or old subscriber, please think about what you have found Plus, Minus and Interesting about 'Active Reviewing Tips', and write your response beside the # marks below.

1 PLUS Point about 'Active Reviewing Tips'

1 MINUS Point about 'Active Reviewing Tips'

1 INTERESTING Point about 'Active Reviewing Tips'

Whether you are a new or old subscriber, please say what you would like to see in 'Active Reviewing Tips' in future:




Any other comments or suggestions?

Credit: 'Plus, Minus and Interesting' (or 'PMI') is a question sequence that Edward de Bono devised to help people find a third or lateral way of making an evaluative response. His official website is:

~~~~~~ Reviewing Tips: REMEMBER THE INDIVIDUAL ~~~~~~

A common (default?) pattern of reviewing in a group is when the facilitator asks questions to the whole group. This is mistake number one if your priority is to help individuals review their own personal experiences. At the heart of the experiential learning process is the learner's curiosity rather than the facilitator's curiosity. (In fact, the
facilitator is an optional extra and is not an essential feature of experiential learning!)

To conduct all reviewing as whole group sessions inevitably restricts the time and opportuntiy for individuals to get in touch with, express and learn from their own experiences. Of course, there are plenty of good reasons for conducting reviews at a group level, but do you provide the optimum individual/group balance in your own reviewing style? These 10 'tips' will help you to facilitate reviewing at the 'individual' level, and may help you to think about the optimum balance.

1) Encourage learners to generate their own questions (before activities and before reviews).

2) Encourage learners to set individual objectives in addition to any course or group objectives that may exist.

3) Give learners time (and a structure) that will help them prepare for a group review session. This could be alone or in pairs. It might involve writing or drawing or collecting symbols.

4) To maximise the time for individuals to review their own experiences, use a structure like 'Guided Reflection' that takes everyone through their own private review process at the same time.

5) Use questionnaires, log books, tape recorders or word processors - any resource that gives individuals a structure and opportunity to make recordings about their experience and their responses to it.

6) Establish a rule for one 'special' reviewing session that the focus will be on individual experiences. Encourage 'I' and 'my' statements and discourage (or disallow) the use of 'we' and 'us'. You may want to finish the session (or start the next session) by reversing the rule.

7) Encourage the use of visual aids and creative media to help individuals express their feelings, thoughts and ideas to each other and the group.

8) Create opportunities and develop skills in the giving and receiving of personal feedback - so that a group develops the habit of recognising and appreciating individuality and diversity.

9) Ensure that (even in team building programmes) there is time and space for individuals. 'Solo Challenge' is an example of individual programming in the middle of a team-focused course. It is naturally easier to focus on individual experiences in reviewing where individuals have each been 'doing their own thing' during the 'activity'.

10) Set an example. Tell the group from time to time what you are experiencing. But don't overdo it! Ensure that you are not one of those facilitators who probes into the feelings of others from behind a poker-faced firewall. In
appraisal sessions consider joining in
so that you are also giving and receiving feedback via the structure you have set up.

Most of the ten tips above are strategies rather than specific techniques. You will find plenty of techniques in the Online Guide to Active Reviewing at:

~~~~~~ Other Ezines About Reviewing ~~~~~~

Still looking! Suggestions welcome if you know of any.
Last month's ezine about reviewing was 'PowerQuotes'.
This inspired the following response from Barbara Kawliche ...

~~~~~~ Using ''Quotes'' as a Reviewing Technique ~~~~~~

Barbara writes: I like to use participants' own "quotes" as a reviewing technique. Ask them to describe their experience in one or two sentences which would be interesting or intriguing to someone who was not there. Depending on the group you may want to give examples or more specific directions, but I generally find that the most creative quotes come from the fewest directions.

Discussion of these quotes is usually lively and those who originally came up with something like "It was great" often change their quote during the discussion.

If you use this activity to review an entire program, it's worth the effort to write the quotes down and have them photocopied as a keepsake for each person. If you are not in a place with a copier (often the case), you can mail or e-mail the list later.

Barbara Kawliche
Youthwork Links and Ideas

~~~~~~ FUTURE ISSUES ~~~~~~

? NEXT: Reviewing 1999 (a practice for 2000!); an explanation of the new title for this ezine; a brief overview of the findings from REAL REVIEWING (which you will want to see if you chose to take part - please do!); + more tips and links.
? Shapes in Reviewing: Using Circles
? Creating Fresh Perspectives: Why and How
? Disability and Recognising Ability
? Reviewing to Achieve Objectives
Here's 5 opportunities to 'get involved' - if you would like to contribute or suggest links or references on any of the above topics. You can do this anonymously, but I would prefer to give you full credit for your ideas. It's your choice. Please send
your ideas to:

~~~~~~ End Bits ~~~~~~

EDITOR: Roger Greenaway, Reviewing Skills Training
9 Drummond Place Lane STIRLING Scotland UK FK8 2JF
The Guide to Active Reviewing and Debriefing
SITEFINDER is also edited by Roger Greenaway:
===> SiteFinder: The Experiential Education Directory Ezine ===>
Subscribe at:
or send an email to:
COPYRIGHT: Roger Greenaway 1998 Reviewing Skills Training
Please feel free to forward this WHOLE newsletter to a friend who would appreciate it! Please DO NOT forward it to a discussion list or newsgroup (it may be seen as 'spamming'). But please DO recommend this newsletter to any lists or newsgroups that you visit - if relevant. Thanks :-)

~~~~~~ to SUBSCRIBE or UNSUBSCRIBE ~~~~~~

TO SUBSCRIBE (if this copy is not delivered direct to you)
go to
or send an email to


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