I was working with high school students for a project regarding the so called “alternanza scuola lavoro”. Basically the States provided some students with the opportunity to take off some hours from school in exchange for some type of internship. The project was about the “school of the future,” thinking about what would happen after covid in terms mainly of integrating online and offline education. A teacher took also part in the project in the role of supervisor.
I have decided to use the Niko Niko calendar since our first meeting online as it enables students to see a clear picture of their emotional states regardless of my work with them. During this period students were asked to accomplish both individual and group tasks.
I have given them a qualitative scale that allowed them to associate a color to a particular emotional state as following:
- green: awsome
- orange: good state
- yellow: so and so
- red: bad day
Everyday each student has to pick their color and write it on the shared calendar. At the beginning of our sessions we spent about thirty minutes to reflect on “how the group was emotionally functioning” trying to deeper understand if and how their emotional states were affecting their team work.
This is what the Niko Niko calendar made them realize:
- During the first week of the project, the calendar showed mostly “green” and “orange” colors. But interestingly, the more students get to know each other and develop reciprocal trust, the more they felt more confident in telling others how they “really felt.” This insight made them realize how important the stage of forming for a group is and how important it is to be authentic.
- The period of time colored in red and yellow were those where the majority of people felt some sort of supervisor’s interference. Having a chance to realize this made the students more confident in asking the supervisor only for needed help. Thus they decided along with her to have a weekly meeting during which they would have expressed their honest needs.
- As expected the “green time” corresponded to the high performing period. This second thought foster more enthusiasm in searching a way to be “all green”
- Last but not least, as I expected, sharing different personal emotional states fosters empathy and collaboration between students. In my opinion this is one of the most important benefit of having used the Niko Niko calendar with these students. In other words this simple but very effective tool put them more in contact with their inner emotional states and make them realize the numerous connection that emotional states have with our life, on a personal and professional level. I remember that in one occasion the fact that the students came to realize that one of them have had lately three consecutive “red days” triggered many empathetic and prosocial behaviors.
As I have already mentioned, I believe that emotions, sensations, along with perception have a strong impact on our decisions, thoughts, behaviors whether we are in a school, at home or at work.
It was really interesting for me to discover how a very simple tool can really make a difference. As a trainer and a professional coach I am used to look at new and different tools that can be of some help in my work. To be honest, at first, I didn’t think Niko Niko Calendar could be so useful. It “looks so simple”. This made me think also about how frequently we get caught in preconceptions. It occurs with people as much as with many other things!
Looking forward to using Niko Niko Calendar with a group of managers!