Reflection on my Erasmus + Mobility –
“Motivate me, Motivate my Learners”, June 1st – June 5th 2016

By Eileen O’Flaherty

It was my first time participating on an Erasmus programme – I found it to be a very enriching experience; it was experiential learning at its best.

We had a full agenda for the three day course and it would be impossible for me to do it justice in a short paragraph. Our course began at 9 am each day and ended at 5 pm. It was very intense but most worthwhile. We covered some team-building exercises from the simple to the more complex “Tree of Expectations”. In this exercise we were asked to reflect on our contributions, obstacles and fears about taking part in this course. Our tutor had each one colour-coded – a green sheet for our expectations, blue for our contributions and orange for our fears/obstacles. The idea was that we would draw each one in the shape of a leaf and then present ours to the group by putting leaves on a tree that had been drawn by the tutor. This proved to be an invaluable tool in creating a safe learning space for us in a foreign country. It was good for the group in that it helped us get to know one another and it was a good tool for the tutor. Also it catered for a mix of learning styles and facilitated the adaptation of the course to suit our needs if necessary. It is one that I have used myself on my return as I recently had a new class of Office Procedures where it took about four weeks to get the class up and running due to latecomers. I got very positive feedback from the group and I feel it helped to build a solid foundation for future group work.

We also did the “Wheel of Motivation” which is an important tool for teamwork. We were asked to reflect on three challenging questions:

  1. Think of a personal characteristic that defines you
  2. Think of a value you hold dear – this could be the most important thing for you in life
  3. Think of your mission in life

We also did another very important exercise in motivation and that is we were asked to reflect on our own value as a Teacher/Tutor. I found this to be very beneficial because it is only through reflecting on our own investment of time, money, resources in our years of study that we can recognise and appreciate our own value. Consequently, if one knows one’s value, only then does one have the confidence to step forward and maybe change things. Do we really believe we can empower our learners? It is truly only when one is confident in oneself that one can instil confidence in one’s learners.