All Work & No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy

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by Mark Collard

Here’s a link to a Radio National interview conducted recently which explored the value and enormous benefits of integrating ‘play’ into the lives of adults in work and rest.

Dr Stuart Brown, founder of the National Institute for Play, is one of the interviewees. His fabulous book called ‘Play’ is a must-read. As Stuart says in his book – play is as critical to human development as sleep and nutrition.

This is why I love my training workshops so much, because I get to invite people – kids and adults alike – to play.

In my 25+ years experience, I have discovered that play is my most potent weapon which encourages people to have fun, share, trust and learn.

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NEW – Training Workshop Tour of USA

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Mark Collard is coming to USA...Mark Collard will be touring the USA in late September and early October on a six-state juggernaut, delivering a series of custom and open-enrolment training workshops.

Join Mark as he presents a bunch of new group-based activities, as well as learn his simple four-step sequence to help you create remarkably fun programs which make a difference in the lives and performances of your group.

Ideal for teachers, corporate trainers, camp leaders, outdoor educators and youth leaders, you are guaranteed to come away with tons of new ideas and inspiration.

His ‘Serious Fun’ open-enrolment workshops will in:

Durham, NC – Mon 22 Sep
Tulsa, OK – Thu 25 Sep
Oklahoma City, OK – Fri 26 Sep
Fayetteville, AR – Mon 29 Sep
Asheville, NC – Thu 2 Oct
Petersburg, PA – Sun 5 Oct


Hurry, enrolments are limited.
Early Bird rates apply, and generous Group Discounts available.

Click here to download the ‘Serious Fun’ workshop Flyer

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Debriefing via Learning Styles

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by Michelle Cummings, Training Wheels, reprinted with permission

It is no secret that we all learn in different ways.  Wouldn’t it also make sense that we process experiences in different ways as well?

In his book, Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, Thomas Armstrong suggests that there are a variety of styles by which individuals come to grasp information, and in fact, learn.  He identified eight styles or talents (they are listed below).

While outside the arena of multiple intelligences, some additional styles or talents have also been proposed, and include such topics as emotional intelligence, humor, mechanical aptitude and religious influences and spirituality.

Multiple intelligence theory provides a template for creating processing activities that incorporate each intelligence. I challenge you to think about your debriefing techniques, and group them into the eight categories of multiple intelligences. Do they focus on only a portion of the multiple intelligence methods available? Are you including each learning style in your sequencing of activities? Evaluate which technique is lacking and then look for new activities to include each of the various forms of intelligence.

Here are some examples from each of the eight multiple intelligences.

  • Logical-Mathematical: Analysis of group’s performance, charting, visual graphical representations, numerically quantifying the performance of the team, investigating the ‘why did this happen’ line of logic, cause and effect discussions.
  • Bodily-Kinesthetic: Movement during reviewing (Shuffle Left, Shuffle Right), contact with other members of the group during activities and processing, holding or manipulating objects in the hands while conversing (tactile stimulation)(The Body Part Debrief, Thumballs), skits or active role-playing.
  • Visual-Spatial: Visualizing multiple solutions, drawing as a form of expression, painting, visual arts, clay formations, sand pictures, using participants in tableau or stop action explanation of the activity, graphically describing the results of the activity, picture debriefs (Chiji cards).
  • Linguistic: Talking, listening, dialog, conversation in large and small groups, creative writing and journaling (Leadership Wheelies), alphabet games (ABC Thumball), word puzzles (seek and find), foreign language words and skills, poetry, haiku, limericks, rap, prose.
  • Musical: Using rhythm, timing, sounds of nature, creating songs, musical skits, lyrics, melodies, performance art, sound effects.

Interpersonal – Knowledge of Others: Understanding, empathy, coaching, partner watching, observing the group, working together while paired or connected, active listening, group norms, group contract.
  • Intrapersonal – Knowledge of Self: Self analysis, relating, journaling, self reflection, understanding your own motivation and actions (Pocket Processor), goal setting.
  • Natural-Environmental: Connection to the outdoor setting, exploring nature and the environment, using natural objects in reflection (stones, water, leaves), the five basic aristotlean elements of earth, fire, wind, water and ether.

Suggested readings


Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, 2000, Thomas Armstrong, ASCD Alexandria, Virginia USA ISBN 0-87120-376-6 This is an excellent ‘template’ for designing your own curriculum with multiple possibilities for reviewing and learning in different ways.

A Teachable Moment, A Facilitators Guide to Activities for Processing, Debriefing, Reviewing, and Reflection. Cain, Cummings, and Stanchfield. This book has over 130 different processing and debriefing techniques.

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Team-Building is Crap

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by Mark Collard

Teambuilding: photo credit - spend a few minutes each day contributing to various educational blogs and social media platforms.

In one post on TeachThought, a program provider from Romania lamented that many of their prospects tell them that ‘team-building is crap.’

Here’s an edited extract of my response:

“… in my professional experience, the #1 reason people believe ‘team-building’ does not work is because of a poor previous experience. And in all cases, when these programs are examined more closely, it is clear that the problem was a meaningless approach / rationale behind the program. If people view their ‘team-building’ program as a series of irrelevant exercises, divorced from their workplace or school, etc, then the program ends up just being (at best) an excuse to have a fun time. It is critical that all programs have a philosophical underpinning which provides the glue between the activity and the group’s ability to make sense of what they are doing. There are many philosophical elements, but in brief, I believe there are five key tenets – challenge by choice, valued participation, irresistible fun, a sequence appropriate to the needs of the group and finally, substantive debriefing or processing of the experience (to ensure learning takes place). I think you’ll find that people who refer to ‘team-building as crap’ are referring to programs that are missing at least one if not most of these core elements. For a more elaborate discussion of this philosophical framework go to …”

In an earlier post, I shared that I’m not a fan of the word ‘team-building’ per se. However, regardless of the term used, why do some people have such a poor opinion of team-building?

What do you think?

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Where Did You Get That Activity From?

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by Mark Collard

White Australia GameHow often as a program leader have you asked this question when you came across a new group activity? I must ask this dozens of times a month as I search for new material, and work alongside my peers.

Rarely can you trace an activity to its root source, but here is just one example – Traffic Jam, one of the all time classic group initiatives, which I learned from Karl Rohnke in his seminal Silver Bullets publication.

Today, I discovered the the basic construct of Traffic Jam embraced in an activity called the ‘White Australia Game’ which was launched 100 years ago, in 1914. Click here to see the online news article. Please overlook the racist platitudes of the game (a sad reflection of a racist government policy at the time), and rather focus, on the advent of the game.

What is one of the oldest known, verifiable sources you have for a group activity?

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