COPE Debrief/Reflection

How to do a Debrief/Reflection

Reflections are the most useful part of the COPE process, but do not have to be done after every element—use your judgment based on how the group is doing. Look for teachable moments (when participants are most receptive) to do debriefing/reflections. The moments or reflection are when all the goals of the COPE course come together for participants. The reflection is the first step to the next event. For these reasons, the reflection process must be done with as much purpose and forethought as the game or event itself.

Open-ended questions from the facilitators rather than those that can be answered with a simple yes or no will help the group express their own ideas. If participants are shy about responding, the facilitator may encourage sharing ideas by telling participants, “This is what I saw and heard, and these are some of my impressions of your group doing a COPE activity…”

The process is as follows:

  • Stand (or sit) in a circle. This makes everyone equal.
  • Open-ended questions. Ask questions that require the participants to think and to answer with more than one word.
  • Time. Allow the group to discuss the issues and objectives of the element. Keep it upbeat and do not allow put-downs. Keep the discussion moving, and do not dwell on small issues.
  • Objectives. Make sure that the objectives are the game are met.

Examples of reflection questions:

  1. How did it go?
  2. How do you feel you worked as a group?
  3. Who were the leaders? What makes a good leader?
  4. Who were the followers? What makes a good follower? What is difficult about being a follower?
  5. Why is it important to have both leaders and followers?
  6. Did you have a plan? If not, why not? How well did it work?
  7. What would you do differently next time?
  8. How did you contribute to the success of the group?
  9. What specific instances did being different help or hinder the group from reaching its objectives?
  10. How can you increase your ability to respect and utilize personal differences?
  11. What did you learn about other group members?
  12. What did you learn about yourself?
  13. How can you use what you learned today in other situations?
  14. Describe in one word how you felt during the game.
  15. Did you have fun?

Debriefing following each event can help participants and groups reinforce what they have learned and apply that knowledge to future performance. A COPE instructor can facilitate debriefing with questions such as these:

  1. What was your goal for this activity?
  2. Who set the goal (an individual, leader, part or all of the group)?
  3. How realistic was your goal?
  4. What was your plan for accomplishing the activity?
  5. How did you come up with the plan?
  6. Did everyone participate actively? Why or why not?
  7. What did you learn from this activity?
  8. What would you do differently next time?
  9. How does what you learned in this activity apply to what you do in school or work, in your group, or in your community?