The technique “Fact Sheet” combines creativity (photography) with positive engagement with self and strengthens one’s self-image. The exercise was created together with the supplementary sheet “Messages for …” inspired by friendship books and various empowerment and resource activities (e.g. Resource Flower, Resource Piano).
Dealing with the positive aspects of oneself or one’s own life can generate courage and strengthen self-confidence, but sometimes it is also very difficult. Time and again, workshops show that participants are not used to positive trait attributions to self, do not allow them or suppress them – for example, in order to “not be seen as a show-off” or to stand out in a group. Due to the fault-oriented school system and social customs, it is sometimes easier to criticize than to compliment the other person and tell them what is valued about them, what is great or unique. Therefore, sufficient time should be provided to work on one’s profile, and it should be ensured that every person has enough physical space to think about themselves and be creative without being disturbed by others.
The technique is particularly suitable as the end of a workshop or a series of workshops, as it leaves the participants with positive feelings, recognition of their strengths and peculiarities, and appreciation by others. In addition, working with the Polaroid camera is an exciting novelty for many participants beyond their digital photography habits, and experience has shown that it can be lots of fun.
The activity can be carried out in differently sized groups, however, ideally with no more than 20 people — otherwise, the time frame would be too long. It makes sense in terms of time to take pictures and fill in the fact sheets simultaneously.
Experience has shown that working with a Polaroid camera triggers enthusiasm among the participants and is a lot of fun. Depending on the group, the workshop leaders can photograph the participants, or they can take photos of each other. The use of the Polaroid camera should be briefly explained in advance, because usually, not all participants are familiar with it. For this and the photographing itself, it is essential to plan enough time. Unfortunately, Polaroid films are not exactly cheap, so it makes sense to point this out to the participants at the beginning and, if necessary, to limit the photography to one picture per person. This can render each photo even more special.
Each person receives a template of the fact sheet that is printed out on slightly thicker paper. The photo is stuck on it; then everyone fills out the questions for themselves. The fact sheet available here serves as a possible template. To offer a more individual design option, it is possible to work without a template. This is especially recommended for older teenagers. In this case, the photo can simply be glued to thicker cardboard. The participants collect positive things around their photo. For example:
Young people are usually familiar with profiles from friendship books. It is important that each person fills out the template exclusively for themselves and, since these are sometimes very personal things, that the voluntariness of the presentation or disclosure of information is emphasized once again.
In addition, the sheet “Messages for …” can be filled out. It is advisable to hand out the templates only after completing the profiles, as otherwise, there may be restlessness and / or overwhelmedness in the group. A name is written on the template, then it is passed on to the other participants who now write their compliments and express their appreciation for the person in question. For this activity, people need to know each other at least a little. It is also important that there is an appropriate atmosphere that ensures that only positive things are written down as well as making sure that enough entries are made for each person.
If you work without a template, the participants’ compliments can also be collected on the back of the previously designed sheet, for example.
Discussion and reflection take place in the whole group. In addition to the content-related discussion, the process itself can also be reflected on. The following questions can serve as an introduction:
How was the activity for you?
Were the questions easy/difficult to answer? Why?
Is there anything you would like to share with the others?