My role in the Tinkering Studio includes offering professional development to the High School Explainers. Specifically in developing their skills as facilitators out in the workshop space. One of the things that Explainers have been practicing is body language–literally meeting people where they are at.
We have developed a set of guidelines called Facilitating Fundamentals that we often cite when giving feedback to explainers. Although they cover basic facilitating techniques, body language plays a big step in the role as a facilitator. So I was very excited seeing Explainers crouch, kneel, and make eye contact with visitors. Being in a new space can be intimidating, especially if you have someone hovering above you like this. In the past, explainers have spoken about how awkward they would feel approaching people. One of the ways of getting them to practice this was for me to invite them to co-facilitate with me as a way to encourage them to mimic whatever I was doing. Now as the new set of tinkering Explainers come in, they see their peers role modeling for them. It’s a great start to a new semester.