A few days later I am invited to the JUMP! office to talk about what I saw. I sit with Liz Heller, who was the lead facilitator at WAB. We sit at a large table. I read while she sorts her papers. Behind Liz’s chair is a white board, which is filled with neat writing. It is a list of challenges which may arise during a given program. This must have been from before the program, when the facilitators met to discuss the possible solutions.
Liz tells me that this WAB program marked the first time that two programs were run simultaneously in a given school. It was also the first time that JUMP! executive director, Justin Bedard, was out of Beijing while they ran a full 16-hour workshop. In his absence, the girls had to look to each other for help.
Liz, and the board behind her, both show that JUMP! programs are never perfect. “Things can go bust,” she says, “at WAB I made an error in the script which then translated to some confusion in one group’s debrief.” This is certainly something that would arise in the “Plus/Delta” meeting after the program’s completion.
“Plus/ Delta” is like “pros and cons” except instead of cons you have action points for improvement. After the Dulwich program in February, I overheard the discussion but for WAB’s I get to see it on a screen. In the “Post Program Report”, one Delta catches my attention. It suggests that energizer games not be referred to by their functional title out loud. I sense a psychology behind this. To announce the purpose of an activity may actually cause some students to resist it.
And purpose is behind each of JUMP!’s exercises, which are charted in the program report. To see this report is to realize how structured JUMP! is, but to observe them in action gives a different impression. Although I came away thinking how well-run it all was I did not feel like a machine was set into motion. The facilitators know their script but like any good performer can find freedom within it.
Compared to the three-hour session at Dulwich, WAB’s was set at a more relaxed pace. When I was leaving, the students had only just approached their main topic but were acquainted with how things flowed. An afternoon and another full day was ahead of them. I have a hunch that, with JUMP!, the more time there is for introductions, middles and conclusions, the better the students can engage with the theme of the workshop.