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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Facilitating a GIN workshop was my favorite experience this year


Many WIS students attended the Global Issues Network conference, and in my second year of attendance I was excited to be able to facilitate workshops for my classmates and be more involved with the annual conference. The conference hosts five schools from across the DC area at GW University, and attendees choose student led workshops to learn about different aspects of conflict.

As a facilitator, I underwent a two-hour training where everyone learned how to engage participants and how to lead discussions. The training was helpful because I had never been in the facilitator position at GIN so I didn’t feel confident in giving the participants the learning opportunity they deserved. I chose to focus on internal conflict for the workshop because I have had my own issues with internal conflict and I knew poetry helped me through them, so I wanted to show participants that poetry can help them too. Though, I understood that my workshop on internal conflict would be difficult for some participants to participate in, so I wanted to make sure I knew how to create a welcoming and open space where they could share and learn.

We then took a few minutes to identify something we are in conflict with and wrote a poem tackling this issue or found a song that helped us understand it. We had a debrief conversation about the activity and opened the floor for people to share what they wrote or found out about themselves.

Photo by Rebecca Shapiro (WIS)

Thurgood Marshall Academy sophomore Amani Green’s impression of the workshop was a place where she could follow people’s lead and come out of her comfort zone.

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“I liked it because we acknowledged that [internal conflicts] are something teenagers are going through, and actually had a discussion on it,” Green said.

I am passionate about poetry and the discussions the participants engaged 5 were insightful and left me with more understanding to what poetry means to myself. The intimate groups gave people more time to share their thoughts, and everyone was open and comfortable with sharing their internal conflicts. Because participants had over seven other options in my workshop time slots, everyone that attended the workshop was genuinely interested and engaged in the activities. I wanted everyone to learn something about themselves or about poetry because it is something that is a part of my daily life in dealing with my own conflicts so I wanted to share that passion and knowledge with them.

GIN adult supervisor and WIS teacher Mr. Jollimore reflected on qualities he looked for in facilitators. “So you want people that are passionate about what they’re going to talk about, I think that is the most important thing. If you’ve got enough passion that can actually override [a lack of] organization.”

Being a facilitator was an amazing experience because I was able to be a part of the conference, and share my knowledge with others. Also, I was able to learn about students from other schools and create a safe space for them to voice their struggles.

Fellow facilitator and WIS student Vanessa Schor enjoyed her own workshop discussions. “My favorite part was not only being involved but seeing how what I was doing impacted other people,” she said. “It meant that I had done something to impact them and that they were going to take with them [the information] moving forward.”

The most meaningful lesson I got from this is that everyone has some sort of internal conflict and no matter how others might perceive it could be really important to themself. So finding ways of dealing with internal conflict is important and beneficial for everybody regardless of what they are dealing with. This is also the most gratifying experience because as a facilitator I was able to share my knowledge with participants and help them come to meaningful conclusions.

To become involved with the GIN conference for the 2019-2020 school year, contact Mr. Jollimore or the GIN club leaders, Dorothy Nelson, Zaman Keinath-Esmail, and Oriane Bui.

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