Supporting your participants to get the most out of their DofE journeys in 2023

Amiee on cliff overlooking gorgeous mountains in the distance and a body of water

As we kick of another New Year, DofE Scotland Operations Officer Amiee has pulled together some of her top tips and ideas to help support your participants to get the most out of their DofE journeys in 2023.

1. Choosing meaningful activities

Whether it’s learning how to ride a bike, raising community awareness, or mastering a piece on the piano – it is important that participants are supported to create their own bespoke DofE programmes, full of activities that are meaningful and important to them.

If your participants need some inspiration, why not direct them towards these DofE Programme Ideas and DofE with a Difference Opportunities?

You could also:
  • Create a list of local opportunities to help raise awareness of what’s on offer in your community – this could be a great research activity for you and your participants.
  • Attend local or national events to help create connections and links with other organisations and groups that may be able to support your participants and offer relevant DofE activities.
  • Encourage your participants to think outside the box – is there a cause or issue that really matters to them? If so, how could they be supported to create their own opportunities or take individual action?
  • Learn from other participants’ DofE journeys – what opportunities exist for your participants to share their own top tips and experiences with others?

2. Setting effective goals

Effective goal setting will help to provide your participants with a clear focus and direction throughout their DofE programmes – it is also a great life skill to develop for the future.

The clearer a goal is, the easier it will be for your participants to take steps towards achieving it. The SMART framework is a great acronym to help guide your participants in setting clearly defined and meaningful goals.

Other ideas to support effective goal setting include:
  • Breaking goals down into smaller, more achievable milestones that can be celebrated along the way – what skills or steps do your participants need to work towards their overall goal?
  • Putting goals down in writing – this should be somewhere that participants will regularly see them and be reminded of them.
  • Getting a goal buddy – alongside keeping in touch with their DofE leader and assessor, this could be a friend or a family member. Either way, it is much easier to keep on track when you have someone else on board supporting you along the way.

3. Encouraging reflection

Reflection is a vital part of learning. Supporting your participants to reflect throughout their DofE journeys is an important step in helping them to give greater meaning to their experiences, track their progress, and increase knowledge and self-awareness.

People learn in different ways, and it is important to support your participants to figure out what works best for them.

Ideas to help you support meaningful reflection include:
  • Providing participants with regular opportunities to discuss their experiences and receive support – this could be with their DofE Leader, assessor, or goal buddy.
  • Encouraging the use of reflective writing – Support your participants to regularly think about their experiences and write them down. What went well? Was there anything that they found challenging? What have they learned? This could be in a personal notebook, or even uploaded as part of their evidence in the DofE App
  • Getting creative – why not encourage your participants to create a blog or video to document their DofE journeys. This could be private or a great way to help share their experiences with others.

If you are a DofE Leader or Coordinator, please get in touch with your area’s DofE Operations Officer or contact [email protected] if you require any support or resources to help run the DofE in your centre.

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