Every activity or workshop should include a reflection, which helps to make sense of what is happening in the group as well as of a particular topic. This reflection also closes a topic and situates it within the workshop structure. Without a reflection, it may be difficult for the facilitator to evaluate how their work with the group progresses, and the members of the group may be left with a lack-of-closure feeling. You should use a group reflection not just for getting information but also for validating work and opinions of your group. If this step is omitted, participants may get the feeling that they have not benefited from the workshop, and they just “sat through it”.
You can carry out reflection by various means, for example, using the Thermometer technique. It is advisable to combine various techniques because each can be focused on specific aspects of the workshop. You can also combine techniques. This way, the facilitator gains a comprehensive understanding, and the participants get a chance to comment on the course of the workshop.
One possible technique to be used for this is Pizza activity.
Suitable for groups of any size.
According to the group size. Should not exceed 25 minutes, including a reflection. It is suitable to provide enough time for this activity because a reflection is vital to the whole workshop.
If the programme spans over several days, it is good to create one pizza for each day, leaving sufficient room in each slice to keep the picture clear.
Instead of making dots on a flipchart with a permanent marker, participants can use stick-on labels (if available).
On a flipchart, there are particular activities/topics depicted as slices of pizza. The participants’ task is to assign one dot to each slice so that it represents their perception of the activity/topic. Placing the dot to the very centre of a pizza means “the best/most”, central position means “moderate”, and the position closer to the edges means “worse/less”.
“In front of us, we have a pizza which represents the whole day we’ve spent together. And, as with any pizza, this one also has the centre and the edge. All of us presumably prefer the centre — because it’s soft and full of all ingredients that we like about the pizza — to the edge which might be dry, and sometimes it’s better to throw it away. Parts of our day together — just as this pizza — are more like the pizza’s centre: juicy and full of everything we want, but it also has the edge we’d rather not eat. The pizza is cut into slices according to the topics we discussed together. Our task is to decide which slice is more like the edge and which has more ingredients. If you think that an activity was totally amazing and breathtaking, place your dot closest to the centre of the pizza. If it was all right, place your dot to the middle of a slice: more to the centre if it was better than that. Well, and if it was rather bad, then place it closer to the edge. If the activity was a total disaster, mark your dot to the very edge. This way, we should grade each slice of the pizza.”
The facilitator takes a look at the dot distribution on flipcharts and may comment on the result. For example, the facilitator may ask why a particular activity/aspect represented by a slice is not ranked as good as some other and how participants would change it. In this case, however, it is important to maintain a respectful setting so that participants may express themselves free of fear and without being judged. At the same time, you should make clear to them that their voice is important and their feedback matters.
Questions used for reflection may look like this:
This slice scored the most points. What was the most interesting thing about this activity? Why did we rank it so high?
On the other hand, this slice is ranked low: all dots are at the edge. Why did we rank it this way, and what can we improve about it?
If you were in the position to create this workshop, what would you do differently? Would you add something specific, or would you get rid of something?
This way, it is possible to conclude an activity/aspect and evaluate how participants liked it. However, it is suitable to go one step further and provide room for opinions, comments, and questions. With consideration to group dynamics and participants’ various needs, it is good to frame this opportunity with an activity that enables all participants to engage. For instance, it is possible to form a closing “discussion circle”, so everyone has a chance to evaluate the workshop verbally, ask questions in case of any ambiguities and express their feelings. For this activity, you can use Feelings and Needs cards as a tool.
To maintain a safe space and to give a chance to everybody to express themselves, it is necessary to take into consideration how communicative each participant is and their preferred ways of expression. It might be desirable to complete the closing “discussion circle” with a box for anonymous feedback and evaluation.