[Ice Breaker] - Dynamizer Game
The icebreaker is a method of waking up an audience, stimulating them and encouraging them to speak out. It is very simple to set up and requires very little upstream preparation.
Group size : Group (10-15 persons), Classroom (20-30 persons), Amphitheater, large group
Modality : Presential
Duration of the teaching method : In a session
Special equipment : A large room suitable for travel
Type of knowledge developed : Social skills
Target Audience : Students, Professionals in training
Course Type : Tutorials (TD)
Preparation time :Negligible
Author and persons who made changes : Nathalie Agbagla
Why am I using this technique?
For my learners...
Facilitate contact between people who know little or nothing about each other.
- The participants are then "connected" and have more facility to overcome the fear of speaking in a group.
- They are stimulated, their curiosity is aroused, the participants are more dynamic and attentive for the rest of the session.
For me, teacher or trainer...
Disturbing the students by encouraging them to walk around the room, contrary to their habits, gradually establishes a good mood and an atmosphere of benevolence within the group. He also removes distance from the teacher who proposes him, if he participates.
Framework and steps / Instructions
It is often offered at the beginning of training in order to facilitate the first contact between learners. It can be proposed at any time when the trainer observes an inertia of the participants (as is the case in the example developed here).
A large enough room is needed to allow participants to move around. For example, it is rather difficult to set it up in an amphitheatre because of the constrained layout of the space. If necessary, move the tables and chairs to the sides of the room upstream or ask the participants to do so. It is also possible to create "meanders" or obstacles to avoid the pitfall of less productive circle movements from the point of view of the method's objective.
- The trainer first asks them to move around the room in silence.
- Then he gradually adds different instructions.
- For example, looking into each other's eyes when they meet.
- Finally, they have to look at each other, smile at each other and say hello.
There is no method to measure the impact of the Icebreaker Dynamizer. The simple fact of observing the participants, however, allows us to see if it is effective.
At the beginning of the teaching method, if they are confused and lost, it is because the first level of the objective is reached. Then, the trainer must be attentive and look if interactions have improved in quantity (more participation) and quality (caring, listening).
Possible set point variants :
- Ask participants to touch each other's little fingers, say something, shake hands or hug. In the latter case, make sure in advance that it is acceptable to participants or bring it gradually, and respect those who do not want to do so.
- When there are many participants (a full amphitheatre), separating them into two groups allows the trainer to manage the situation of the large number and the constraint of space. As a result, the mass effect is reduced. While one group is up, the other half of the amphitheatre follows different instructions.
- For example, if standing people are told to be quiet, those who are sitting should talk loudly.
- Also possible: while some go clockwise, others go anti-clockwise; some say hello, others respond with a smile, etc..
The possibilities are numerous and leave a lot of creativity to the trainer!
Points of vigilance
Pay attention to the size of the group, individual limits, "habits and customs"...
What if it doesn't work?
If it doesn't work, you have to realize it quickly and adapt to your audience. This requires observation and perception.
For example, propose a more appropriate alternative instruction and stop earlier than expected. Continue with another pedagogical practice, but you must either have prepared it or master it. It is also possible to propose a quick debriefing at the end of the pedagogical practice to remobilize the participants.
This method creates a good atmosphere. Students are surprised, even disbelieved, at first, then get caught up in the game. I had more respondents from them throughout the rest of the course!
This type of course was quite original and much more motivating than a simple lecture!