Sizabantwana Strengths-based Workshop

As part of their community psychology project, five masters students from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg campus) had an opportunity to host a two-day strengths based workshop for educators who are members of the Sizabantwana Project. The workshop was held on 3-4th July 2017 at the Anglican Cathedral Church of the Holy Nativity. The focus of the workshop was on building the existing strengths of educators with the aim of refueling their reserves for the coming school term and beyond. The emphasis of the workshop was on positive psychology as opposed to focusing on weaknesses to avoid the subsequent negative attitude thereof.

The two day workshop offered interactive sessions coupled with activities relating to each day’s topic as well as informative feedback sessions from participants. Day one of the workshop focused on topics such as burnout and engagements, relaxation techniques that incorporated breathing exercises, hand massage and positive thinking. The educators took away practical and relevant learning from these topics.

Following the tune of day one, the second day was equally filled with interactive discussions and fun filled activities that facilitated dynamic learning amongst participants. The topics covered included: Possible ways to achieve work-life balance and techniques to improve their self-confidence to meet their work and personal life demands. Highlights of the workshop included an all-encompassing motivational talk by guest speaker Dr Lulu Nkonzo-Fasheun. In her inspiring talk, amongst other topics she spoke to the educators about the importance of sharpening the saw, continuous learning and development, good preparation for their work, and self-care.

The success of the workshop was evident from the good turnout by the educators. They endured the winter’s cold for two days and gave of their time during their June/July school holidays. The workshop provided personal development and a worthwhile networking opportunity. Commenting on the experience, the overall sentiment from the educators was that their efforts in attending the workshop were greatly rewarded and their expectations exceeded. A comment on the experience by one of the educators summed it up thus, “a mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimension. (The workshop) has changed my thinking for the better”. A sentiment equally shared by the students, as this was a good learning experience for them as well.

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