Monday, 18 August 2014

Workshop on Communication - Mabateng, Johannesburg.

Matthew worked with three students from South West Gauteng College in a workshop that was facilitated that Thursday, 14 August.  The students were paid a small stipend as well as given lunch.  There were to be Wits University drama and media Students recording the students facilitation as well as participating in the workshop. 

The workshop was held in a new community arts space in Mabateng in Johannesburg.  The community attending the workshop on communication skills was the local men's homeless shelter which consisted in boys as young as 9 and young men up to the age of 18.  The three students ran the entire workshop from beginning to end with input, encouragement and side coaching throughout by Matthew.  Although the stated aim of the workshop was to improve communication skills, the college students also wanted to focus on building confidence as well as making sure the young men had fun.  
The workshop was conducted mainly in Zulu and the men jumped right in.  The students has games, songs and activities that 'broke the ice' as well as encouraged the young men to improve their projection and articulation to aid their communication skills.
The students asked the young men how they currently communicate as well as encouraged the notion of establishing eye contact and confidence as corner stones of good communication.
The workshop was certainly a learning experience for all of us.  The young men opened up and told individual students about their situation and how they ended up being homeless in Johannesburg.  The students were shocked at the stories they heard and showed great empathy with the young men.  There was great concern by each of the students that the workshop needed to end by 3pm so that the young  men could 'claim' a spot for the night without fear of being bullied by the older men or have their blankets stolen if the arrived too late.  
Much of the later workshop was dialogue between the students and the young men, which was excellent, but flawed in the sense that the students needed to keep the men active in order to keep them focused.  But this is a next step in their facilitation skills:  having an arsenal of games and activities that focused, energised or aided the Aims and Objectives of the workshop.  But this dialogue won for the students the trust of the young men which then allowed them to share their stories.
The workshop ended with Matthew facilitating a highly energetic game called 'Fruit Salad' which left everyone laughing and in high spirits.


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