LO1 – Awareness
What previous experiences have I had with an activity like this?
Throughout the course of my time at UWC, I have partaken in several services, working with local people in Singapore. However, I have only worked with either small children or the elderly. This is the first time that I have worked with those that have mental disabilities.
What are my strengths and what would I like to improve?
Although I was slightly uncomfortable at the start as I had never had one on one experience with this type of group, I think that as the sessions have gone on, I have become more familiar with the style of interaction between them and us students and the best possible ways that we can entertain them and keep them active. I think that I have become stronger in areas where I can take initiative in the planning of the activities as I am able to reflect on previous sessions in order to decide whether something worked or didn’t. This enabled more effective and productive sessions afterwards. Something that I would like to improve on is still feeling almost 100% comfortable around the client as sometimes I have found myself afraid to upset them or anger them, especially more those that are more excited and energetic. I have also been frustrated at times which is something that I would like to control as I need to remember that the people cannot perform the same activities as us with the same speed and hence I must approach with more understanding and patience.
LO3 – Initiative
What activities did we plan, and how did they progress?
For the first couple of sessions we used information from the previous year and advice from the organisation’s leaders, in order to plan around three different activities. We had a parachute activity, a simple throwing and catching activity, and a small set of bowling pins. The advice we got was to make sure that the group isn’t sitting down too much as they need to be active, and also make it slightly challenging so that we could improve their skills. As the weeks progressed, we added and removed different activities in order to not only ensure that they were not getting bored, but also to enhance all their different movements and instil some muscle memory. The client leaders also showed us some activities that we could try, which helped a lot and also allowed us to use some more creative activities.
What difficulties did we face in executing our plan? Why?
For a few sessions we had a different set of people so it meant that we had to keep on having an introductory section at the start which left little time for activities. We also found it hard to come up with activities that kept the clients active and engaged throughout, especially those who were very excited, as it was hard to keep everyone together and focused. At the start, it took us a while to delegate different roles to everyone, however as the weeks went on, we were all familiar with what we each of us had to do in order to run an efficient session. Since we are a group of students from different grades, some which have not worked together ever, it was initially difficult to communicate effectively.
How did we overcome these challenges?
The chairs delegated roles to everyone and set up a means of communication in order to make sure that we were fully prepared before each session. We also spent a couple of sessions at the start to plan and express our goals for this year. Furthermore, a few people in our group communicated directly to the organisers every week to fill in on the progress and to receive feedback on how we could improve as a group and our interactions to the clients.