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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Discover Nature Awareness - Review of Scouts vs Hunters

Overview: After initial introduction and spending a number of preparatory sessions developing trust within the group and teaching the difference between peripheral and tunnel vision, the game was on the whole a success. It was enjoyed by all the students, and they are keen to play it again.

Issues encountered: Awareness of self: Most students found this concept difficult to come to terms with. They found it challenging to look and think about themselves and how to improve.

Observation: Initially all students found it very difficult to sit still and observe using various senses. It was a skill that took time to develop, mainly with a number of them feeling uncomfortable in the ‘alien’ environment they were in.

Hunters blindfolded: This was the primary issue that had to be dealt with. Due to past experience/issues, many found it very uncomfortable to be blindfolded and to sit still. When questioned, they felt out of control, and all initially found it difficult to just rely on their ears. Staff observations on this proved that the students were very uncomfortable, with lots of fidgeting and not being able to sit blindfolded for very long.

To prepare students for this, a sit spot activity was done initially, and then moved on to blindfolding them all, with only staff being able to see. They felt that they were all in the same boat and more able to relax, particularly as they trusted the staff totally. I used this activity to develop the confidence in the use of peripheral vision. All students were to detect staff as they moved quietly amongst them, and also to try to identify which member of staff it was that was moving amongst them.

Peripheral and tunnel vision: As covered in the Hunters blindfold, many students found it a difficult concept to understand. It was easy for them to do when carrying out preparatory visual exercise, but once they were blindfolded, many found it difficult and uncomfortable. I think this is more an issue of trust, knowing that a student was walking amongst them who was sighted. The initial game was carried out with all students playing the role of the hunters; while a member of staff was the scout (this was successful as they were happy to trust staff). Once the students were happy with this, then they moved on to playing the game fully and beginning to trust each other.

Due to the nature of the group, I did not expect the game to be a total success the first time it was played. In total it took 3 sessions of slowly building up their confidence and trust within the group, before they were fully ready to move forward. Using staff as the scouts and all the students as hunters, helped them to move forward, and allowed the trust to develop and for students to feel comfortable while blindfolded.

The game is now played regularly and is working very well. A variation of the game has been developed, after suggestions from the students. In this, there is only one hunter (blindfolded) and a number of scouts who have to reach an objective. The most recent variation on this has been where the scouts have to creep up to the hunter without being detected. This variation can only be played with the initial group who have developed trust amongst them selves. I have attempted this by adding a new student, but have been totally unsuccessful, again due to the trust issue.

In conclusion, an excellent game, which has helped the group develop well after the initial building up period.

Manse Ahmad

Pupil Referral Unit

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