Where Can ACT Be Used in Training?
The ACT Method can be applied to almost any training situation, including:
• Behavior Management
• Working with LIT/CITs
• Child Development
• Answering Tough Questions
• Policies and Procedures
• And More
How ACT Works: While Anne, the facilitator, explains the scene, Michael takes the stage in character. He might be a homesick eight year old, a risk taking sixteen year old, a thirteen year old questioning his sexual identity, or even a young staff member trying to figure out what to do after losing a camper. Michael presents his issue to the audience, who collectively take the part of the other side of this role play. Michael freezes in character while Anne encourages discussion about the best way to respond. Once the audience chooses a response, Michael continues in his character. Anne or the audience may choose to rewind the scene and try different responses at any time in the role play. This back and forth continues until the situation is resolved.
Why ACT? Every camp director has used role playing in staff training at some time in their career, trying to give staff practice with the tough situations they’ll face over the summer. These role plays can be spot on, providing the staff members with memorable experiences they’ll recall right in the heat of the moment with a child. Or they can dissolve into a giggling mess. Or they can go so far over the top they create a hopeless situation. Or they can make an introverted staff member feel terrible. These role plays gone wrong can not only waste precious training time, they can end up denying the experience and the knowledge they were meant to impart.
This is why Anne Henningfeld, MA, CTRS, a ten year camp director, partnered with Michael Jay Garner, an entertainer and improv instructor with a degree in Psychology to create the essential role play experience for camp staff. They started by asking the question, what makes a good role play? Their answer led them to a choose-your-own adventure style of group role play based on:
• Believable characters, situations and reactions
• Strong counseling work and responses
• High quality facilitation
The ACT Method takes all the best parts of a role play: the interaction, the spontaneity, the quick thinking, and eliminates the rest, creating an intentional, entertaining and effective experience for camp staff.
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