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Why Emotional safety is important for experiential learning?
At Breakthrough, we use challenge activities to train people on behaviours and values. There are high and low challenge courses at Breakthrough. In all the challenge courses physical safety is our top priority. In addition, to that emotional safety is also given equal importance.
Emotional safety is a psychological term use to describe an emotionally stable state where one is free to encounter new experiences without being in danger of physical or verbal harm. In the challenge course world we have used the term emotional safety to describe the desire to protect participants “feelings” as well as their bodies, so that they have a safe place to encounter new ideas and reach new levels of trust and team work.
The following are the measures we take for the emotional safety of participants at Breakthrough.
Ground rules: At the beginning of the program our ground rules are lied wherein, participants are instructed, not to underestimate (Discount) themselves or others during the course of the program. They are also encouraged to refrain from behaviours that could negatively impact others. This provides a safe platform for participants to be themselves without feeling threatened.
Program design: Programs are designed in such a manner that it starts with activities that are inclusive. This breaks the ice and encourages participants to get comfortable with each other and the facilitators. In addition, activities such as which are challenging are held towards the later part of the program. So that participants are relaxed while doing activities which tend to be out of their comfort zones.
Challenge by Choice: This is most important feature of our step towards emotional safety is “Challenge by choice”. The final decision to perform the activity is taken by the participants. None of the participants are forced to do any of the challenge activities.
Because a challenge course is designed to take people out of their comfort zone, the team building experience can be either a confidence builder or a confidence breaker. Hence, emotional safety is an important aspect of experiential learning and also at Breakthrough. Here, participants are safely taken to an environment of learning that organizations desire for their teams to acquire and grow.