|But What Did You Actually See and Hear?|
|By Joe Bouchard|
The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.
Years ago, I incorporated a diversion-based icebreaker/exercise to my regular line up for my Introduction to Corrections Class for Gogebic Community College. It is a memorable exercise and with a little preparation, it can serve as an important lesson for pre-professionals. It will definitely take novices out of their zones of comfort.
I would start in the very first day of a new semester by distributing a test. I usually hand out a general questionnaire about opinions on punishment and corrections. The contents of the tests are not necessarily important. In fact, the tests should be general and not too difficult. The test serves as the diversion.
After the first time I tried this exercise, one student was very mad at me. Rather than writing her direct observations, she crafted an editorial about how disrespectful I was to the student. I had to explain (again) that the person who I condescended was a plant and that the words I used were mutually agreed upon by both parties. Without a feigned provocation, the “assault” from the student would have been less believable. In a week or two, the student told me that she understood and appreciated the exercise.
In corrections, often the ultimate question is: What did you see and hear? This is an exercise that can help students develop a vigilance and hone a mind for little details. Their future vocational life may depend on it.
Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.
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