Final Reflection Questions
Learning often happens in the space between what we know, and what we are yet to know- it is in this chasm- this unfamiliar, perhaps uncomfortable space where our mind can be stretched to do and understand new things. Brock (et al, 2006:38) calls this a 'displacement space'- somewhere we move into (either by force or choice) whereby we see things differently.
Asking ourselves the tough questions can help us 'displace' well established assumptions about our practice. The willingness to consider things anew- to confront fears, misconceptions and open up the discussion to allow fresh visions and approaches to emerge.
This is also part of the reflective practice approach we have taken so far. Considering, sitting with, and wrestling with some questions can serve to further capture the positive potential of a student immersion program.
Further, all staff feeling confident with the motivations that underpin the program strengthens and infuses it with the passion and commitment necessary to build a fairer world.
Following are a few 'tough questions' related to local and global student immersion programs and partnerships. Some of these are based on MacNaughton's (2003) 'Six questions for critically reflective professionals'. These are denoted with an asterisk.
Post immersion program
Immersion experiences can be transformative for the wider school community. Students who have participated in an immersion have had a rich experience, witnessing lives and stories of hope, faith and courage.
Most young people will want to keep the experience alive and fresh. They will need support from others as they journey through ongoing discernment about how to respond to this experience. The more the broader community understands their experience, the more they can share this faith journey with participants and join in the efforts that help our brothers and sisters around the world.
Here are some suggestions:
Listed below are suggestions for keeping the experience alive and helping young people continue to “unpack” the experience long after they have returned.
- Plan an evening of prayer and reflection for participants about 1-2 weeks after you have returned to help process continued learning, social analysis and discernment for a next response.
- Invite participants to plan a process to share the experience with their home community. Invite participants to offer a reflection at a mass or school assembly. Organize a booth with information, stories and pictures.
- Use photos and videos about the trip as a tool to share the story when you return and to promote future delegations.
- Designate a space in the parish for ongoing news and updates, including photos, reflections, cultural items, project information, etc.
- Share stories from the experience through the use of one-page fliers in parish bulletins.
- Use recipes and foods from the host region or country at parish dinners, and print the recipes for distribution.
- Make use of special seasons or days to highlight issues in your partnership (e.g. Lent, World AIDS Day, Earth Day etc.)
- Keep up with the news to see what is happening in your host region or country and keep your parish informed of any major events there.
- Sponsor youth nights, talks and prayer vigils with guest speakers familiar with the host region or country.
- Organize letter-writing campaigns on legislative issues that impact the host community and other domestic and global issues.
- Visit elected representatives to voice your concerns about legislative issues affecting the host community or region of the world.
- Compose standardized prayers of the faithful for community liturgies to remember the needs of your host community and all our brothers and sisters living in poverty or rendered vulnerable.
Adapted from Catholic Relief Services.