Note: Please read the previous article, How to Do an Online Recollection. This is the second part. Thank you.
Facilitating young people online can be daunting. Nothing beats seeing them face to face when you can read their body language that completes the meaning of what they want to say. The relevance of having a recollection in life should be clear and articulated, and facilitator should come across as warm and friendly. First impressions count. We all know that. And when there is a repeated encounter, the warmth and friendliness should not wane; consistency shows authenticity.
Let’s do this in three easy steps:
Step 1: Establishing Rapport
Begin with establishing rapport. Rapport creates a friendly and safe environment for the learners to communicate easily. It is important that you begin with an introduction of yourself in the first meeting, modeling what is the expected response from them. And when they introduce themselves, acknowledge their presence by saying like, “I am glad that you’re here with us, Anna!” You can use emojis freely. It is here that you can ask them about what’s keeping them occupied, just to start the conversation. They can use the chatbox too to encourage participation.
Ask them about the recollection activity prior to the online meeting. This will give you a concrete feedback of the previous activity such as the gratitude jar. Write down their comments to know how receptive they were of the activity. Repeat some words essential to their feedback. This ensures the learners that you are listening, understanding and empathizing with them.
Step 2: The Sharing using the Magis Circle
The second step is the Magis Circle, the sharing process. It is important that the sharing is structured according to a model. I usually use what I learned in the Magis Program, the youth program of the Jesuits for World Youth Day. The sharing session is called the Magis Circle, because it follows a pattern: Me and myself, Me and God, Me and others, and then a Summary.
Me and Myself.
Me and myself is about the learners’ personal sharing. For example, they can share about their gratitude jar, the assignment that was previously given. In this first step, the rounds will depend on the facilitator: it can begin with gratitude, then their regrets and then what they want to pray for; or it can just be one round of sharing the most significant experiences of the examen. The facilitator summarizes the responses of the learners.
Me and God.
Me and God is the second step, where the learners share their meaningful bible passage that illumined their reflection. This way, their personal experience becomes connected with the Word of God.
Me and others.
The third step is crucial: it develops a listening ear among the learners. Me and others is about what struck them among all the sharing of their companions. Follow up by asking why that particular sharing was significant. By mentioning their companions, this step affirms their friends’ experiences. The facilitator then repeats what sharing had the most impact on the learners.
When everything is done, the final step is to ask each one to give a quick feedback. They can use one word or a phrase to describe the experience of the whole session. The facilitator takes note of their feedback.
Note: Using the chatbox for interaction.
In any platform, you can use the chatbox to encourage ATM (at the moment) participation. For example, they can write their quick summary which the facilitator can just read and mention.
Step 3: Wrap-up
End the session with a minute of silence, and then do the examen, which we hope develops into a habit. End with a final prayer or for Catholics with the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be.
Finally, do not forget to introduce the next session by mentioning the video that they have to watch, and then schedule when you all have to meet again.
There are no really hard and fast rules about processing an online recollection: every group is different, something face-to-face teachers already know. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t wing it. When you spend time with the group, you will get to know and appreciate them. By doing so, you can be creative in facilitating it your way.
Remember a good tenet in writing: you’ve got to master grammar first, before you can break it.