BUILDING INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENTS

The second module illustrates the needs and challenges faced by youth in participating in sports and shows how orienteering can successfully address them. This module provides sports trainers and CSOs workers with an innovative mix of approaches and methodologies to build inclusive environments to ensure the involvement of vulnerable young people in orienteering-based activities. Finally, a series of tips and exercises to ensure participants’ inclusion in the activities is presented.

Young people at risk of social exclusion,
needs and challenges

The ORIENT Anthology (IO1) shed light on the fact that EU members deal with more politically unstable, complex and fragile societies. Social inclusion challenges became more severe and urgent than ever due to the recent outbreak of COVID-19, which negatively impacted those who were already living in precarious conditions, resulting in fewer and fewer people having access to economic and educational opportunities and therefore finding themselves facing a higher risk of poverty and material deprivation. Among the population, young people are the ones with a higher risk of social exclusion.

In terms of sports, the countries of the ORIENT consortium have some of the lowest rates in Europe as regards young citizens involved in sports activities. This relates particularly to young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, which encounter many difficulties in practising sports. As highlighted by the interviews conducted during the research phase, the main challenges faced by young people when engaging in sports are primarily socio-economics:

Economic barriers

Many young people lack the financial resources to invest in sports activities.

Lack of time

Youth find it challenging to balance sport with work, studies or parenting responsibilities.

Logistical difficulties

Youngsters living in peripheries have less access to sports services and facilities.

Lack of information

Many young people complained about the scarcity of information on existing offers

Lack of inclusive and accessible programmes

Young migrants reported limitations and difficulties in taking part in sports activities because of language barriers or bureaucratic obstacles.

The good practices analysed, evidence the need to approach the social inclusion of young people in sports and through orienteering, specifically, through:

  • Implementation of orienteering through trainings and events in groups.
  • Cooperation with local institutions and community organisations, as schools.
  • Blending of orienteering with other educational approaches by adapting the programme to ensure youth engagement and break down social barriers of young people from different backgrounds.
  • Adaptation of activities to local contexts according to the availability of the city / landscape and target.

The ORIENT project will endeavour to solve these challenges by creating a space of sharing and working together for many young people that belong to different social and cultural realities, building up new networks that can make them more resilient. All these elements will contribute to fostering social inclusion by creating inclusive environments.

SELF-ASSESSMENT

What are the challenges for the inclusion of young people in your context?

 

 

What type of approach do you deem best to include those young people in sports activities and in orienteering specifically?

 

 

Methodologies to set inclusive environments

Inclusive environments (Design Council, 2021) are places that work better for everybody – whether that place is a school, office, park, street, care home, bus route or train station. An inclusive approach to planning, design and management is an opportunity to use creativity and agile thinking to create places that reflect the diversity of people.

Inclusive environments are:

  • Welcoming to everyone.
  • Responsive to people’s needs.
  • Intuitive to use.
  • Flexible
  • Offer choice when a single design solution cannot meet all user needs.
  • Convenient, so they can be used without undue effort or special separation and so that they maximise independence.

Crucial to the success of inclusive environments is consultation with user groups, putting people who represent a diversity of age, ability, gender and community at the heart of the design process.

In order to set appropriate environments, there is a need to have a clear strategy and goals developed, following the vision and mission of action. We can use a vision-oriented approach based on SMART Philosophy (Drucker, 1954). To make sure that goals are clear and reachable, each one should be:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Setting up inclusive environments for teaching and learning process requires a holistic approach, understanding and following the whole specific needs of users.  It is important to create inclusive environments with feedback and clear reflection as an instrument for the development of an appropriate inclusive learning process. Learning by doing in many specific cases is a flowing reflection of participants, and users will help implement the learning experiences.

In this sense, Gibbs created his ‘structured debriefing’ to support experiential learning. It was designed as a continuous cycle of improvement for a repeated experience but can also be used to reflect on a standalone experience. One of the key things about Gibbs is the acknowledgement of the importance of feelings in reflection. He also separates out Evaluation – what went well as well as what didn’t. These 6 extra stages make it a useful model for some practitioner courses but some find them prescriptive.

In our context, a good method to create inclusive environments is the so-called collaborative learning (Center for Teaching Innovation, Cornell University, 2021) which can occur peer-to-peer or in larger groups. Peer learning, or peer instruction, is a type of collaborative learning that involves students working in pairs or small groups to discuss concepts or find solutions to problems. Similar to the idea that two or three heads are better than one, educational researchers have found that through peer instruction, students teach each other by addressing misunderstandings and clarifying misconceptions.

The benefits of collaborative learning include:

  • Development of higher-level thinking, oral communication, self-management, and leadership skills.
  • Promotion of student-faculty interaction.
  • Increase in student retention, self-esteem, and responsibility.
  • Exposure to and an increase in understanding of diverse perspectives.
  • Preparation for real life social and employment situations.
Essential elements of cooperative learning (Yaduvanshi & Sunita Singh, 2015)

Moreover, setting up and keeping good inclusive environments and implementing collaborative learning depends on good communication skills based on several main principles:

  • Think before you speak or act.
  • Keep an open mind.
  • Discuss rather than argue.
  • Cultivate a soothing voice.
  • Never lose an opportunity to praise or say a kind word.
  • Exceed expectations.
  • Respect the feelings of others.

Lastly, respecting the feelings of others is one of the communication principles that especially refers to cross-cultural communication, communication between people who have differences in any one of the following (styles of working, age, nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc). Cross-cultural communication can also refer to the attempts that are made to exchange, negotiate and mediate cultural differences by means of language, gestures and body language. It is how people belonging to different cultures communicate with each other. In inclusive environments it is very important to have specific skills in cross-culture communication.

All in all, in order to address the issues that might arise when working with young people at risk of social exclusion, trainers should develop activities that meet the needs of the participants and engage them in the design phase. Orienteering is an excellent tool for doing this as it requires a participatory approach and maximum involvement of all partners, who share ideas and put all puzzles together in a collaborative environment.

SELF-ASSESSMENT

What principles are communication skills based on?

 

 

 

What is cross-cultural communication important for?

 

 

 

Setting up an inclusive environment and promoting teambuilding

Below is a list of non-formal activities, based on the aforementioned methodologies, to foster mutual understanding among young people with different social and cultural backgrounds that can be used to set up an inclusive environment and promote teambuilding:

Empty
Snake tail catching

 

Objectives: To promote motor skills, psychological and social development, and increase ability to concentrate.
Methodologies used: Collaboration and peer learning.
Materials/Space: A group of people (minimum 10) should be involved in this activity. The recommended space is outdoors because the activity requires an open area for movement, nonetheless, it could be practiced indoors in a gym or a similar large setting.
Duration: There are no time limitations to this activity, it could last anywhere from 1 to 5 minutes or longer.

Instructions:

  • Participants should line up one behind the other and hold onto each other’s shoulders. The last participant should hold a scarf or piece of cloth in their hand (he/she are the tail).
  • The activity commences when the first participant who represents the snake’s head starts catching the snake’s tail.
  • All participants between the head and the tail follow the lead of the head.
  • The activity ends when the head catches the tail.

 

Blindfolded orientation
Objectives: To develop trust, non-verbal communication skills, and active listening.
Methodologies used: Experiential learning and positive communication. Learning by doing and reflecting on the experience.
Materials/Space: Blindfolds, outdoor or indoor space, although for a better experience an outdoor space is recommended. The suggested group size for the activity is 10 or more participants. The number of participants should be even.
Duration: There is no explicit duration, but in order to engage in and experience the activity entirely, the recommended time is up to 20 minutes.

Instructions:

  • In order to have an enjoyable experience, before beginning the blindfold challenge, participants should be asked whether they’re uncomfortable wearing a blindfold. Everyone should be relaxed and acknowledge that the focus of the activity is trust, hearing, navigation and experiencing the environment in a different way.
  • If the activity has 10 participants, 5 of the participants should be blindfolded. Once the blindfolds are put-up, the activity commences.
  • The 5 participants who do not have blindfolds each chose one blindfolded person.
  • The activity requires silence – there is no verbal communication between the blindfolded and non-blindfolded.
  • The non-blindfolded participants take the blindfolded by the arm and start walking around in different directions.
  • If there are stairs on the way, the non-blindfolded will help the blindfolded by taking their leg and ensuring the blindfolded feels the stair.
  • The non-blindfolded are the eyes of both participants in this activity. At any moment, the non-blindfolded could stop and gently spin the blindfolded participant several times, then continue walking.
  • Towards the end of the activity, it is fun to place all blindfolded participants at a relatively close distance from each other, put their arms and legs in a creative way (hands on the head, one leg in front of the other, both hands straight in front of the body, etc.), leaving them on their own, while the non-blindfolded watch in silence.
Tell by showing
Objectives: To learn how to regulate conversational flow without using words, communicate emotions or feelings in response to a particular situation.  
Methodologies used: Cross-cultural communication.
Materials/Space: Up to 20 participants in an indoor space.
Duration: Up to 2 minutes

Instructions:

  • Touch, eye contact and facial expressions are three of many cross-cultural communication types.
  • This activity requires six or more participants, but the bigger the number of participants, the more interesting the results of the activity are.
  • Participants should line up one behind another having a half-meter space between each.
  • The last participant in the line starts the activity by tapping the participant in front of him on the shoulder, and that participant turns around to face the one who touched him.
  • The last participant is to make a silent gesture/pantomime – for example starting a car and driving, swimming, knocking on the door and letting the cat in, etc.
  • The mimics should be passed on from one participant to the next down the line in the same manner until the final (first in line) participant is reached.
  • All participants watch what the first participant does and most often, what was communicated by the last participant turns out to be something completely different from what the first participant does.

 

Creating reflective environments

Objectives: To learn about reflection and reflective practices, learn social maturity, learn to take different perspectives and be self-actualised.

Methodologies used: Reflection embedded in learning.

Materials/Space: This is an indoor non-physical activity that requires communication between participants. A minimum of five participants should be involved for a better experience.

Duration: Up to 30 minutes

Instructions:

Reflection is vital in any surrounding. How we reflect upon things is a taught process. This activity requires a group of participants to gather around, while one participant addresses a topic that is of close knowledge to all the others (for example, the rise of poverty in America).

 

  • Each participant then starts by sharing their own point of view, belief and arguments for what they think about the topic. The other participants do the same, one by one.
  • This activity stimulates reflective thinking as participants, during the course of discussion, have the time to re-evaluate their thinking, explore different points of view, and realise what they have learned.
Forest bathing
Methodologies used: Stress relief
Materials/Space: A single participant (individual activity) or more participants, forest or a large city park with dense trees.
Duration: One hour and more.

Instructions: This Japanese practice is proven to have positive immune system effects, as well as mental wellbeing that is accompanied by the physical wellbeing. Spending time in a forest reduces stress, anxiety, depression and anger.

  • The activity requires a quiet walk through a forest, using the potential of all given senses.
  • Deep breathing during the walk and maintaining focus on the trees that surround, as well as the smell and sounds. Immersing in nature will soon create a sense of calm. 

 

Verbal route
Objectives: To practice map reading and drawing
Methodologies used:  Cooperative learning
Materials/Space: Maps with courses and blank maps
Duration: Up to 20 minutes

Instructions:

One participant has a map with a route and has to describe it to the rest of the group in terms of features, orientation, distance etc, as if he were an orienteer who has to navigate around a course. The rest of the group have to follow the directions and draw them on a sheet, replicating the original map.

Micromapping

Objectives:   To understand the correct use of a map scale

Methodologies used:  Collaborative and cooperative learning

Materials/Space:  Sheets, different objects to be placed around, pens and pencils

Duration: Up to 30 minutes

Instructions:  

  • In this activity the trainer places different objects on the ground and participants, organised in pairs, will have to draw down a map on a sheet using a correct scale.
  • They have to use a step method to count the distances and every object has to be represented by the corresponding orienteering map symbol.

 

Team-work: dos and dont’s as a facilitator

Facilitating teams of young people can be a challenge! Below a few dos and don’ts:

DOs

Empty

This means using inclusive language. It is of high importance to have a serious level of awareness when communicating with the members of a team. It is a bad idea for example to welcome the participants of an event with the salutation “Hi guys”, if women are also participating. You do not have to be careful of every word you choose, though  (Six Degrees Executive, 2021). This means also including diverse members in leadership positions. A person of another ethnicity can work as a coach. This way, people of other ethnicities will feel represented, accepted and more comfortable to participate and succeed in such an event.

Promote inclusivity

This means using inclusive language. It is of high importance to have a serious level of awareness when communicating with the members of a team. It is a bad idea for example to welcome the participants of an event with the salutation “Hi guys”, if women are also participating. You do not have to be careful of every word you choose, though  (Six Degrees Executive, 2021). This means also including diverse members in leadership positions. A person of another ethnicity can work as a coach. This way, people of other ethnicities will feel represented, accepted and more comfortable to participate and succeed in such an event.

Be fair

This is obvious for every sports trainer and every person working in the sports sector. You are fair no matter what the other people are. You must be neither harder nor easier to participants that have diverse cultural backgrounds. Both behaviours can have negative results, such as creating feelings of dissatisfaction to all participants and depriving the possibility of development through constructive feedback. All members should have equal opportunities to develop, improve and enjoy!

Celebrate difference

All kinds of differences should be welcomed warmly. People do not have to be the same. Each one is different and each one has to give something new to the team. You should recognize these differences and not only accept them but celebrate them emphasizing the unique talents, skills and knowledge that each one has to offer.

Create a safe environment

You have to create a safe environment where every person, no matter the background, feels welcomed and safe to express themselves. Some participants for example may need more clarifications and you have to be able to give them those clarifications without making them feel uncomfortable (Mathews, 2020). You have also to ensure that no harassment or bullying incidents take place, and keep your eyes open for any signs of such behaviour. If something like that occurs, you have to take immediate action.

Communicate in a way that everyone understands you

When you are organizing an event where people from diverse backgrounds are going to participate, you should keep in mind that it is very possible that some of the participants do not understand you. In order to achieve that, you have to take into consideration the different levels of competency that the members of your team have, but also the different ways non-linguistic elements of a conversation are used and interpreted, such as waiting for the superior to speak first.

Watch yourself for unconscious cultural bias

Although it is quite difficult, it is also very important to process your cultural bias before coordinating an event where participants come from different cultural backgrounds. You can ask your family and friends what cultural bias they have noticed that you have. When you are called to make cross-cultural management decisions, think twice if your decisions are hiding any unconscious cultural bias.

Set ground rules

When a team is characterized by diversity, it is difficult to find a common ground. Thus, a very good start is to set some norms and rules and define what is acceptable and what is not. This shifts the focus from the differences that divide them to the norms that unite them (Future Learn, 2021).

Stay informed regarding international affairs

Although it is not always possible, try to stay informed on political, social and cultural issues that are raised in the countries of your target group (Half, 2019).

SELF-ASSESSMENT

Supposing a member of the team starts to make jokes involving stereotypes about ethnic or sex minorities. Would you intervene? If yes, what would you do?

 

 

If a member of a team is reluctant to express his/her opinion, what would you do to encourage this person to speak more?

 

 

 

DONT’s

Empty

This means using inclusive language. It is of high importance to have a serious level of awareness when communicating with the members of a team. It is a bad idea for example to welcome the participants of an event with the salutation “Hi guys”, if women are also participating. You do not have to be careful of every word you choose, though  (Six Degrees Executive, 2021). This means also including diverse members in leadership positions. A person of another ethnicity can work as a coach. This way, people of other ethnicities will feel represented, accepted and more comfortable to participate and succeed in such an event.

Avoid not valuing differences

When working with a team you should value diversity and see differences as an advantage and not as a difficulty. Yes, diversity may be difficult to manage, but it also offers many different perspectives and opinions on the table. The individuality of each different member can promote the team, if all people are enhanced to share their ideas and opinions (EHS Today, 2004).

Avoid excluding persons

All members must feel included, a part of the team. You should make them feel comfortable and accepted, free to share their views. You should be open to listen to different ideas and perspectives. A good idea is to ask individually the persons to express their point of view and their feelings (Mathews, 2020).

Avoid stereotyping

This is very difficult to avoid. All people have internalized views and thoughts about people from different cultural backgrounds. Maybe they have heard them when they were kids and have not challenged them in their adulthood. Many times, you do not even realize you have them. It does not mean you are racist or sexist or homophobic. You have to think twice before expressing such an opinion, because it is not only guilty of prejudice, but also ignores the uniqueness of each person.

Avoid accepting bad behaviours

A very important advice when working with a team is: behave the way you want to see from others. If for example you respect others’ opinions, they are going to hear you more. If you trust your team, they are going to trust you, and they will try to be worthy of it. But you have also to show that you do not tolerate behaviours that do not meet your standards. If someone is inappropriate, you should react immediately and respond with determination, showing that such behaviours are not accepted on your watch.

Avoid failing to coach

When you lead a team, you have to be able to coach them effectively. In order to achieve that, you need to make clear what you expect from them. Sometimes it will be needed to coach them on an individual level, in order to ensure that all members achieve high levels of performance. A great idea is to enhance them to help each other and coach each other, encouraging a climate of mutual support.  You also have to dissolve the conflicts that will definitely arise inside a diverse team. These conflicts usually arise because of the different needs, values and customs team members have (Porteus, 2021).  A very common cause of conflict as well is miscommunication (Culture Amp, 2021).

Avoid communication problems linked to language

Each language is different and each person has a different level of competency in the language of your country. You have to be more flexible and keep in mind the following:

  • Avoid jargon.
  • Minimize non-verbal communication.
  • Prevent the use of idioms or slang words.
  • Create a common ground, where it is acceptable to ask someone to repeat themselves.
  • Keep in mind that different cultures and different languages adhere to different rules and etiquettes around business communication, such as open-ended questions or statements, waiting for a superior to speak first, or a tendency to be more concise and direct.
SELF-ASSESSMENT

Supposing you are organizing a sport event and a woman, who comes often at your events and is very polite and happy, is cranky and surly. What are your thoughts? How do you interpret this change? How would other people you know interpret this behaviour?

 

 

 

Supposing you have a team that you train and two members start to wrangle but you cannot understand why. How do you react?

 

 

 

Debriefing: sharing thoughts after activities

The value of a team building exercise is unveiled during the discussion that takes place afterwards. During the debriefing process, participants share opinions, discuss ideas, create action plans and begin the process of personal growth. Although debriefing is a common teambuilding practice, debriefing is a great way to teach valuable lessons about sportsmanship, sharing, compassion, and many other teachable moments (Ultimate camp resource, 2021).

Empty
Roses and Thorns
ObjectivesTo foster open discussion after the session.
Materials / SpaceOpen and safe space for participants in the activity (seminar room, training ground, sport hall, etc.)
Duration20-30 minutes
InstructionsTell the participants that they should come up with Roses and Thorns for the day or the activity they just completed. A Thorn is a part of the day or activity that they did not enjoy, something they disapproved, or an experience they did not particularly like. A Rose is a positive experience, such as something they liked about the day, a specific act of teamwork they observed, a compliment for someone else, or other positive comments. It’s a good idea to start the debrief with the Thorns, and to finish with the Roses so each participant can end on a positive note.
Adaptation (if any)

You can also change the two categories. Here are some examples:

  • Lemons and Apples;
  • Spikes and Flowers;
  • Charcoal and Diamonds.

 

Provoking cards
ObjectivesTo foster open discussion after the session thought-provoking series of cards to inspire engagement among participants
Materials / SpaceOpen and safe space for participants in the activity (seminar room, training ground, sport hall, etc.)
Duration20-30 minutes
InstructionsLay a set of Pixie’s Cards image-side up on a table.

Invite your group to browse all of the images.

Pose a question/statement to your group to reflect on as:

·         How do you feel?

·         What is one value that guides your life?

·         Do you like the session?

Ask one person at a time to select an image and share the story of how it represents their response to your question/statement.

Continue sharing.

Adaptation (if any)You can also use different types of illustrated cards as:

·      Sleeping Queens Board Game;

·      Tarot Cards;

·      Matching Cards.

Emoji Cards
ObjectivesTo foster open discussion after the session thought Emoji Cards. One of the most powerful benefits of these cards, when used in a conversation, is that the focus is on the cards, and not necessarily on the people. For some people, this makes sharing a lot more comfortable.
Materials / SpaceOpen and safe space for participants in the activity (seminar room, training ground, sport hall, etc.
Duration20-30 minutes
InstructionsLay all of the cards randomly on a table or the ground.

Gather your group around the cards, allowing them a few moments to become familiar with them.

In pairs, ask each person to pick one or two cards that reflect a feeling they experienced during the activity.

Encourage people to share why they picked the card and why it was so significant to them.

Allow two minutes for sharing.

If time permits, re-gather your group and invite volunteers to share anything that they learned which they believed was significant.

Adaptation (if any)Beware – these cards clearly focus on emotions and feelings, hence this topic can make people quite vulnerable. To this end, consider your sequence, and the environment you have created to foster a safe place to share. When in doubt, always invite sharing in pairs or groups of three or four people.

 

Grab the Feeling
ObjectivesTo foster open discussion after the session thought funny and open activity.
Materials / SpaceOpen and safe space for participants in the activity (seminar room, training ground, sport hall, etc.
Duration20-30 minutes
InstructionsHave the participants sit in a circle and tell them to take off something that belongs to them (clothing, shoes, equipment, etc.). Have them throw their belongings in a pile in the middle.

Tell them on the count of three, to go in the middle and grab something that does not belong to them.

Each participant now has something of someone else in the group. Now, go around the circle and each participant has to say something nice about the owner of the grabbed things.

Or, use another prompt, such as:

·         How did this person support the group?

·         How did this person demonstrate leadership?

Adaptation (if any)You can adapt the question regarding the sage/size of the group.
Thumbs Up, Down, Middle
ObjectivesEncouraging participation in the debriefing part of the session – allows participants to see how opinions of a particular experience vary greatly in the group and provide the facilitator with an opportunity to focus the group discussion on a particular topic.
Materials / SpaceOpen and safe space for participants in the activity (seminar room, training ground, sport hall, etc.
Duration20-30 minutes
InstructionsHave the group stand in a circle, facing each other.

Instruct them to place one hand behind their backs.

On the count of three, they will make either a “Thumbs Up”, “Thumbs Down”, or “Thumb in the Middle” sign with their hand.

Let’s take for example “How the group worked together as a whole.”

Thumbs up means the group functioned perfectly: took time planning, listened to everyone’s ideas, no one argued, everyone participated in a positive fashion, etc.

Thumbs down means that the group did not function well as a team at all: there were lots of arguments, no planning, inappropriate communication, etc.

Thumbs in the Middle means that the group did well, but there is room for improvement.

Once you explain the “thumbs” scale, count to three, and have everyone present their thumbs and keep them in front of their bodies.

Ask the group to go around the circle and discuss one specific example of why they chose the way they did.

Adaptation (if any)You can adapt the question regarding the sage/size of the group.

 

Modules

1

ORIENTEERING, THE BASICS
AND THE OPPORTUNITIES

2

BUILDING INCLUSIVE
ENVIRONMENTS

3

MAPPING FOR INCLUSION,
FROM LOCATION TO ACTION

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3