Training group in Portugal. Trainer: Jose Luis Mesquita.

Participants are given access to a large selection of materials - cardboard, paper, coloured paper and magazines, markers, scissors, glue, string. Their task is to make masks for themselves, depicting the role of an adult educator. They are given plenty of time - they work without haste, at a large table. They talk, help each other, discuss their ideas with the trainer. Many different forms of expression slowly come to life, each of which speaks with its shape, colour, texture, and choice of decoration. The trainer photographs each participant in their mask. The photos are taken using a camera built into a laptop, so everyone has the opportunity to see their reflection on the screen.

When work is completed, everybody is invited for a stroll around the hall. It's time for a meeting of masks, enthusiastic greetings, meeting each other's new "incarnations", exchanges of opinion and various interactions. After a while we all gather in a circle and in turn, one after the other, say how we feel in the masks. As each participant talks, the corresponding image is displayed on the wall, creating an enlarged mirror image, which is seen by the entire group. Almost all says that they feel good wearing the masks, and that the images created by them really represent what is relevant to the role of educator, which they play in their professional lives. Some are not entirely satisfied with their final results - They hadn't turned out quite as initially imagined in this ambitious project.

The next step is a presentation of the masks by each participant. In the middle of the room, on the stage, is a chair covered with a colourful scarf. Its occupant has the role of adult educator. Participants sit on the chair in turn, a mask over the face, and explain the meaning of the forms they've created, analysing its various elements. They explain, for example, the importance of the colours used to represent the qualities and skills useful in education. The reply to questions and comments made by the rest of the group. At the end take off the mask and say how they feel
without it.

After the completion of their presentations, all masks are removed and placed on the floor, participants sit in a circle around them. The trainer asks that each chooses other than the one which they created. One which in their opinion seems closest to the role of educator. An additional task is to create and present a simple scenario of movement, illustrated with sound. It should express the feelings associated with the new mask. Participants are given colourful scarves and various musical instruments, also they use their own voices. At the end , they say why they chose that particular mask, rather than one of the others, and explain the meaning of their stage etudes.

The session closes with a discussion of the exercise, a clarification of its purpose, and bringing to light those aspects which could create doubt. The trainer stresses that the activity was mainly intended to create an image that represents our "I" in the role of educator. Mask work is focused precisely on the experience of playing very different roles from everyday life and professional situations. The structure of the session reflects this diversity - the masks are used in many ways, continually revealing new possibilities, and surprising with their functionality. According to the assessment of one of the workshop's participants, they can be used widely in education.
- I can use this exercise to work with different teams. For example, one of my training groups are sales representatives. By building masks they will realise how many different roles there are in the work they perform. Instead of a theoretical lecture I can propose a practical activity, which involves the whole group. Through creative activity we will achieve the same result as with the presentation of complex concepts and theories. The form of the classes is very important, and such methodology is attractive and interesting.


The Bielskie Artistic Association Grodzki Theatre
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