“I didn’t know I could influence my lecturers. I thought it was inappropriate and unethical.” I was prepared for this kind of statements from students who attended IMU’s inaugural Student Empowerment Workshop. A discussion on this aspect was what lead me to change the name of the workshop to the current one. Influencing your teachers and its appropriateness is a discussion for another day. Do comment on what you think.

In this post I outline what I learned from this unique experience. Mr Javier, a final year dental student, and myself planned and organized this workshop through the Student Services Hub of IMU. I was excited when all the seats were registered 7 days prior to the event. I was unprepared when half the students turned up. My 1st lesson. Students/young adults have not experienced the importance of keeping commitment and being reliable. Started exploring how to have the registered participants turn up, internet not offering much help. The blog at canva may be a start.

The various activities were a success. The students connected with the ice-breaker of finding two common things about themselves by working in a pair. The next activity was where they related to their partner on the most recent incident where they failed to influence. This incident was our connecting point and the workshop revolved around this. The final activity of re-enacting the incident with their partner using the AA it’s PR method was enjoyed by all. They were more confident and learned how to make the most of their interactions to their benefit.

Another challenge I didn’t foresee! The students coming for such a workshop are a bit too silent. My efforts to engage in a discussion was not fully successful. A little more than silent moments made the workshop a little slow, the activities making up more for this. I started learning how to engage quiet students.

Student empowerment workshops are great avenues for supporting students in a safe, inclusive environment. What are your thoughts, comments and experience. Do Share.

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