Transformative group work - Using the Campfire (Wisdom Pool) Process

05-Mar-2013

The Campfire (Wisdom Pool) Process

  

The Objective:– The Campfire (Wisdom Pool) (King, 2011) involves writing a single or a few word/s (e.g. Being child centred or Caring for self) on a large piece of paper and placing it in the centre of the group (on the floor).

This process allows a purposeful, powerful and focused discussion with multiple opinions to emerge.

Process:

  1. Think about a common theme/ issue that has been a part of the group’s discussion.

  2. Focus on the ‘proactive and positive’ topic rather than a ‘powerless or negative’ topic. Remember, the focus of the discussion is the direction people will move towards after the completion of the group. It is important for the discussion to move people towards positive coping responses regarding the challenges they experience.

  3. Once a theme is selected, write it (hand-write the issue rather than having it pre-typed) on a piece of butchers’ paper (large sheet of paper) that is then placed on the floor in the centre of the group with a variety of markers pens surrounding it.

  4. Say “Look at these words and in silence for 1-minute, I want you to think about your initial reaction or response as you look at those words and then write down your immediate reaction. What is something important that you know about this issue? I want you to come forward, and use these marker pens to write one word, several words or draw your immediate response to this issue”.

  5. It is important to allow the silence for people to reflect and value their own knowledge about the discussion topic. Having the paper on the ground aids people’s ability to reflect and think about the topic. The participants write in silence (approximately for 1 minute) before discussing it.
  6. After leaving a short time for the responses to be written, ask people to share a reflection about what they or someone else has written on the paper. Other words or images can be added during the discussion. 

This process has been called a ‘Campfire’ (Wisdom Pool) and is a great alternative to brainstorming.

Example of a Campfire (Wisdom Pool): Being child-centred

    Write the words ‘Being child centred’ on a piece of butchers’ paper (large sheet of paper) and place it on the floor in the centre of the group with a variety of markers pens surrounding it. Ask the participants to:

    “Look at these words and in silence for 1-minute, I want you to think about your initial reaction or response as you look at those words and then write down your immediate reaction. What is something important that you know about this issue? I want you to come forward, and use these marker pens to write one word, several words or draw your immediate response to this issue”.

    It is important to allow the silence for people to reflect and value their own knowledge about the discussion topic. Their response maybe a drawing, image, a single word or short statement. Having the paper on the ground aids people’s ability to reflect and think about the topic.

    The participants write in silence before discussing it. After leaving a short time for the responses to be written, ask people to share a reflection about what they or someone else has written on the paper. Other words or images can be added during the discussion.

During the processing discussion: Keep the focus of the discussion on the words written on the paper rather than you as the group leader. This enables people to talk more openly and honestly about the issue. Ask questions like:

  • What else do you know about these words?

  • How do these words affect you? What feelings go along with these words?

  • How do these words affect other people in your life?

  • What is the difference between being child-centred, being adult-centred or being self-centred?

  • How do we respond differently to our children when we focus on ‘being child-centred’?

  • How do we respond differently to the ‘mother of our children’ when we focus on being child-centred?

  • What are some different ways of being child-centred in our actions?

  • In a family separation context, what difference does it make in our actions when we refer to the mother as ‘the mother’ or ‘the mother of our children’ rather than using the word ‘ex’?

  • What are some different ways of dealing with this issue?

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