My coworkers and I used The Educator's Journey in the Popular Education and Activism Working Group we had in the mid 1990's. I found it helped me better understand my fellow teacher/activists and helped me place my current work as a teacher in the context of my experience. (The activity is universal in popular education. I first learned it from Joao Paulo and Eleanora Castano Ferreira in a workshop for teachers at the old ILGWU Worker-Family Education Program.)

Summary: Participants draw their journey as educators, starting wherever they like and ending in the present workshop, highlighting a few main experiences (positive or negative) that shaped them as educators.

Good for: Getting to know each other, sharing experiences and identifying issues.

Materials needed: Paper large enough to draw a series of simple pictures that people in the group can see easily. Markers (stay away from pens and pencils).

Number of people: Any, form groups if too many to share in one group.

Time: 15 minutes to draw, 3 to 5 minutes each to present drawings, 30 to 45 minutes for discussion.


Watch for: This needs a clear motivation and explanation. You may want to model it, but not too much as you want people to be free to find the best way to draw their experience.

Some people "hate drawing." You can stress that the drawing technique is not important. You can explain how drawing uses a different side of the brain and helps people communicate, or argue that we need to develop a wider range of tools for communicating, etc.

Variations: The basic technique here: drawing your journey, is versatile. Obviously, you can draw any journey: a worker's journey, an activist's journey, a parent's journey, a union's journey... You can also use this to create visuals to be used in presentations, using more advanced techniques and more involved images.


I'll use my own educator's journey as an example. See illustration and text.