More Than Words – June 2018
Training in Berlin
The training in Berlin dealt with two aspects:
1. Digital Storytelling (as a reflective practice)
2. Community Reporting (as a practice of engagement)
As the practices are focused on technical aspects, the training in Berlin was more exceptional, as the interaction was limited from the beginning and a more structured approach was necessary. However the training was kept flexible enough to incorporate some of the demands from the group.
The first part of the training, which focused on understanding usual narrative structures, storyboarding, involving media and working and creating stories using digital audio and video tools, started complicated, asa there was a huge variety of differently skilled and experienced learners in the classroom.
To create a safe working environment, icebreaking and team building exercises had been used. The teaching process was created as a step-by-step process, where small groups with differently experienced learners had been created. When a lesson about one topic was done, the group started to retire into their own small setting and applying the general learning into their own projects. It became easier for the trainer to monitor the learning process and help in cases of difficulties. Still the small groups enabled a process of each-one-teach-one, where the learners switched roles and helped in the small groups to master the learning and project progress.
The method builder onThe co-creation process of the small groups, starting with a story idea, building a structure and characters, creating a storyboard, choosing a suitable medium, experimenting with the medium, gathering equipment and props, shooting the video material put to producing three video stories as the final result.
The process was steered by input from the teacher and the individual transfer of the learning into the small groups.
The process of flexible transfer of knowledge into small groups became for some participants difficult, as they understood the samples given not as a choice, but as a normative.
Discussions if some story elements or structures should be there or not, had been interpreted as a matter of force, which came to a matter of surprise to the facilitators. Still all participants had been involved in the creative process and stated during the final evaluation, that they learned more about narratives, storytelling and as well successfully applied the learning in three concrete final video stories.
The storytelling part can help people to co-create narratives but as well enable people to tell their story more effectively. One participant from a migration background in Germany, started successfully to write down her lifestory and claimed it helped her to become more aware of her migration history.
The approach is unlike the other methods of More than Words more based on structured learning. It is suiting to a certain extend introvert learners, who do not feel to be active in an expressive process or product. Still it can lead to a major self-reflective process, where individuals are encouraged to reflect on their life, without being exposed.
Still the skills needed for using digital tools might cause a challenge, as an additional hurdle is raised. Further-on the training has to be performed with a settled intercultural awareness, as not all narrative structures are necessarily understood or preferred by all cultures. The trainer should be aware of the alternatives and should clearly state that the examples used in the facilitating moments are not normative – they should rather illustrate and encourage the learners to experiment with their own techniques. When working especially with acting learners it is important to underline that the process of understanding, reflecting and analysis narrative structure is more important than the final product.