Good questions that help students reflect.
Reflection on the expedition experience can be a powerful time. Embrace this opportunity to pull out insights gained from the program. Use these questions to promote discussion with your students. Depending on the context, you can simply circle up and ask away. If that is not the best format for your students, you can use these questions paired with other activities in the curriculum.
These questions focus on taking the experience on course and making clear connections to self, life, school, and leadership. As a facilitator of this process, you must be clear in guiding and probing students with pertinent questions that will make application apparent and purposeful.
Reflection serves to build a bridge between the experience on expedition and the next step of students taking action in their own schools and communities. They are designed to be flexible to meet a variety of purposes–from a simple debrief of the expedition to a rich group process and application.
Your role is to take the energy from the expedition in the various ways it has manifested among the group and help to transfer it towards productive self-reflections and action. Listening, restating (but not preaching), and asking big questions will get you far! Probe the deeper meaning behind student answers. Asking: Why? Tell me more? What do you mean?
Ask for specific examples, and don’t accepting overused answers like “leadership” “communication” and “teamwork”. If your students are ready, they may easily come up with personal and transferable lessons.
However, for some students, this abstract thinking may take some intentional guidance and scaffolded questioning.
- What was your favorite meal/campsite/view?
- What did you miss most while you were out there?
- When was a moment from the expedition that you were proud of yourself?
- What do you want to remember from your expedition?
- If you could re-live one moment, what would it be? Why?
- How was it to be away from technology?
- How did you notice that you responded to challenges? Give a specific example
- What is something you learned about yourself?
- How might this experience have influenced your outlook or approach to relationships?
- What moments did you notice your communication style change?
- How do you want people to communicate with you?
- What was it like to try something new or hard?
- How did this experience show you who you are?
- Where did you excel? Where did you struggle? Tell me more!
Group and Leadership
- Tell about a moment when you were the leader of your group. How did it go?
- What helped you lead well?
- Who were the influencers in your group?
- What is something that you learned from your crew?
- We are a group whose strengths are _____ and our areas to improve are ____.
- Tell about a moment where you observed effective leadership form someone in the group.
- What is the difference between a leader and a boss?
- One Word Whip-Around: Leadership is _________.
- What’s more important: getting it done, or keeping group moral?
- Revisit the essential questions from previous sessions. Based on a week of leadership experience, how might you think about these questions differently?
Extending the Journey
- Which kind of people would be important for you to have along for your life journey?
- What belief, idea, or habit do you want to keep (or get rid of) as you move towards your goals?
- Do you think an Outward Bound course is something that people should go on? Why?
- Why do you think some people give up when faced with challenge, while others become stronger?
- What’s the single most important idea/concept that you have learned in life that will help you grow, change, or succeed?
- Who influences you to be the person you want to be? How?
- Which experiences have shaped you the most in life? Explain.
- What advice would you give to the next group of students who will be going out on an expedition?
- What does it mean to try something?
- What have you learned about fear? Does it motivate or paralyze?
- How do our experiences shape and define us?
- Where have we come from and where are we going?
- Where can we transfer learning from the expedition into “real” life?
Use these questions to promote discussion with your students. Depending on the context, you can simply circle up and ask away. If that is not the best format for your students, you can use these questions paired with other activities listed.
Before digging in too deep, invite students into an informal sharing time from the expedition experience.
Circle up to have students share their favorite moments on course, tell stories about what they remember, share a high point and a low point, etc. Bring something to eat!