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Reflecting on one's learning path with the Travel Diary and the Hero's Journey

The Travel Diary is a tool which has been put to the test during 3 Heterotopia Tours in different formats, which purpose is to help the participants reflect on their learning path in three steps.

Its final version is inspired from the “Hero’s Journey”, a common template of stories with specific acts and archetypes describing the evolution of a person. (For more info look up Joseph Campbell: The Hero with a Thousand Faces.)

The Travel Diary we used was divided in three parts:

Step 1: Departure. Before the Tour.

Used during preparatory activities. Helps to reflection on:

  • Motivation of the participant
  • Fears of the participant
  • Resources of the participant (internal and external)
  • Support: mentors, accompanying persons
  • Expectations and general objectives of the participant

Step 2: Initiation. During the Tour.

Used during the first day, daily reflection, intermediate and final evaluation. Helps to reflect on:

  • Specific learning objectives of the participant
  • Obstacles that the participant faced, ways of overcoming them
  • Support the participant found during the Tour
  • Learning process, adjustments that have to be done
  • New competencies: knowledge, skills and attitudes
  • Learning outcomes, personal achievements

Step 3: Return. After the Tour.

Used during assessment and follow-up activities. Helps to reflect on:

  • How to put the newly acquired skills in use in the participant’s ordinary life
  • How to bring benefits to the community through the participant’s experience
  • Longer-term impact on the participant

Example of the Travel Diary is downloadable from here:

Guide for facilitating activities with the Travel Diary:

The Hero's Journey - Acts The participants' journey - The Heterotopia Tour
ACT 1. Ordinary World 1. Ordinary world – Hero’s everyday life, description of hero’s character: his nature, his capabilities, way of living. The Identity of the participant, his/her context, way of living, already existing competencies.
2. Call to Adventure – The call ultimately disrupts the comfort of the Hero's Ordinary World and presents a challenge or quest that must be undertaken. It can be a threat, or any kind of discomfort. Motivation of the participant: discomfort caused by something in theit ordinary world, effecting them or people important for them; something they wants to change in their life.
3. Refusal of the call – The Hero has second thoughts or even deep personal doubts as to whether or not he is up to the challenge. When this happens, the Hero will refuse the call and as a result may suffer somehow. A memory of passiveness when the participant first recognize that there is a challenge to face; fears, doubts, reasons for not acting. The effect of this passiveness on the participant’s life.
4. Meeting the mentor – The Hero meets a mentor who provides guidance: they could be given an object of great importance, insight into the dilemma they face, wise advice, practical training or even self-confidence. People and situations that pushed somehow the participant to take a step and act on their challenge, make a first move towards the change they wants to see. (They can be people and situations from already before the selection as participant, and also the partner organisations who are supporting and preparing the participant.
Threshold 5. Passing the Threshold – The Hero is now ready to act upon their call to adventure and truly begin their quest, whether it be physical, spiritual or emotional. They may go willingly or may be pushed, but either way they finally cross the threshold between the world they are familiar with and that which they are not. Setting objectives and committing to the project. The Moment of starting the Heterotopia Tour! Entering in an unfamiliar situation.
ACT 2. Special World 6. Tests, Allies, Enemies – The Hero begins their journey. The Hero needs to find out who can be trusted and who can't. They may earn allies and meet enemies who will, each in their own way, help prepare him for the greater ordeals yet to come. This is the stage where their skills and/or powers are tested and every obstacle that he faces helps us gain a deeper insight into his character. Test: The obstacles that participants face during the Tour. Obstacles that can be overcome, if they try and look for support. After each test participants evaluate what they have gained (e.g. during the daily reflection groups, reflecting on the learning outcomes of the day). Allies: Support participants find during the Tour, which can be various things: peer support, support from the youth leaders and facilitators, the supporting environment, already existing qualities and knowledge they brought with themselves.Enemies: Things, people, circumstances that obstacle participants to reach their objective, and in overall to feel well.
7. Approach To The Inmost Cave – The Hero enters into the Cave to face their biggest challenge. They may once again face some of the doubts and fears that first surfaced upon their call to adventure. They may need some time to reflect upon their journey and the treacherous road ahead in order to find the courage to continue. Mid-term evaluation moment will be used to represent the Approach to the inmost cave.
Participants will look back on the path they’ve already done and will look on the upcoming days, analyzing the changes they have to make in order to reach the set objectives.
8. The Supreme Ordeal – it may be a dangerous physical test or a deep inner crisis that the Hero must face. They must draw upon all of their skills and their experiences gathered upon the journey in order to overcome their most difficult challenge. This is the high-point of the Hero's story and where everything they holds dear is put on the line. Either they win or fail, their life will never be the same again. Final evaluation moment: Looking back to the most difficult moment during the tour, the moment that participants identify as “life changing”. To identify this moment, participants will reconstruct the whole journey and reflect on its different elements, moments, difficulties, the gained competencies etc.
9. Reward (Seizing the Sword) – After defeating the enemy, surviving death and finally overcoming their greatest personal challenge, the Hero is ultimately transformed into a new state, emerging from battle as a stronger person and often with a prize. The Reward may come in many forms: an object of great importance or power, a secret, greater knowledge or insight. Final evaluation moment: Learning outcomes of the participants (skills, attitudes, knowledge, other).
Assessing the changes in the character: before the tour and at the end of the tour.
ACT 3. Return to the Ordinary World 10. The Road Back – The Hero's journey is not yet over and they may still need one last push back into the Ordinary World. The moment before the Hero finally commits to the last stage of his journey may be a moment in which he must choose between their own personal objective and that of a Higher Cause. Returning to the ordinary life to participants after the Tour can be shocking and disturbing – they have changed, but things at home are still the same. This is the moment where we have to remind them (through follow-up and reintegration activities) that they left because they wanted to trigger some changes in their life: it is a reflection moment on how they can use the gained knowledge and competencies to serve also their communities and to trigger changes. Reinforcing the “social” and “collective” aspect of the project.
11. Resurrection – This is the climax in which the Hero must have their final and most dangerous encounter with death. The final battle also represents something far greater than the Hero's own existence with its outcome having far-reaching consequences to his Ordinary World and the lives of those he left behind. Ultimately the Hero will succeed, destroy their enemy and emerge from battle cleansed and reborn. Evaluation moment after the project (during the local assessment sessions): To what level participants have reached their overall objective? (Not the learning objectives, which are the “rewards”, but the change they wanted to see.) On “their way to return”, so since they came back home, have they used the things they gained during the Tour?
12. Return with the Elixir – This is the final stage of the Hero's journey in which they return home to their Ordinary World a changed man. They will have grown as a person, learned many things, faced many terrible dangers and even death but now looks forward to the start of a new life. Their return may bring fresh hope to those he left behind, a direct solution to their problems or perhaps a new perspective for everyone to consider. Follow-up activities: participants put in action their ideas and initiatives, bringing positive societal changes. (Can be implemented and monitored in long term.)

guide/implementation/evaluation/tools_and_methods2.txt · Last modified: 2019/12/10 12:20 by Caroline