The system is simple: A teacher asks a question, a student raises their hand and answers, the teacher moves on. As one presenter told me before, the only thing a question usually teaches us is who already knew the answer. Their claim was that learning happens with the second question and I tend to agree with them. We answer questions we are confident in; when the teacher or presenter lingers and asks a follow-up question like 'how' or 'why' we often have to stop and think before we are able to answer. This processing is when learning happens.
Processing (also sometimes called decompressing or debriefing) is sifting through something and learning from it. Experiential education is built on the idea that if we intentionally process situations then we can learn from them. Going a step further, it is intentionally creating situations that we put people into so that they can then process what happened and learn. This pedagogy is often used for leadership development, team building, and so on, but it can be applied to any topic that one desires. Processing is essential, because without it, the activities bear no fruit. It is important to name that processing can happen internally - just because we as the facilitator/teacher don't hear the processing doesn't mean that it isn't happening. Reflection, journaling, and art can all be ways that people process. Discussions are also a way that many people process and is particularly common in ministry because it allows us to mentor young people through understanding their experiences as well as allows them to learn from the thoughts that their peers have.
When having a conversation that is intended to process something, it is important to allow the group time to develop their thoughts. To help you with this, Here is a sheet with tips for you processing.
This article is #3 in a series on Adventure Catechesis. To read the others in the series, click below
Moving forward, each article will be accompanied by a guide for an activity that you can use in your ministry. This time it is called Aquaduct. This is an activity that I have used many times with groups from grade-school through adults. Take a look at it and then adapt it to fit the specific needs of your group and objectives. If you have any questions on how to do that, let our team know and we would be happy to help you.