The intelligence of the hands

16. Name of activity:                    The intelligence of the hands
Organization presenting this method:                                                               Kamaleonte
A Number of

people reflecting:

x   Solo (1 person) x  Small group

(< 20 people)


 Large group

(> 20 people)


B The way(s) of sharing:
Verbal: x




Non-verbal:   Pictures /


  Text   Em­bodied  sculpture


x  Other forms of expression


Digital:   Padlet


  Social media   Digital diary


C Place of reflection (where) x  Indoors


  Out of doors   On-line


D The connection with guidelines:

What guidelines are you taking into consideration, while organizing your reflection?


Don´t direct content, direct process in order to co-create the reflective process.


Develop relationships based on trust, openness, empathy, honesty, dialogue and feed-back


Facilitate growth in awareness in learners, help them to “own” their learning,

In a personal and meaningful way.

X Try to manage the paradox, involved in steering of an intrinsic learning process, ie to create a heightened reflective attention of learners.


Slow down and value moments of not-knowing, while progressively deepening your reflection questions.
x Recall that reflection can never be imposed, only kindly invited.


X Be careful of how you assess reflection – if you assess it at all.


Always consider reflection as a broad and deepening process, that should be holistic.







Goal of activity:


The goal is to develop a better reflective competence, to look at one owns’ emotions, to dare sharing them with the other group members and to create a trustful environment among the students of the same classroom







The method has been used during 3 or 4 days experiential learning school camps addressed to teenagers (17-18 years old). The method is preferably to be used in later stages of group development (from the second day onwards) after the group has had joint experiences of working together on tasks or group activities.

The group is asked to sit in a circle. Participants are blindfolded and are asked to think of their experience during the day and to express their emotions and insights by molding a piece of clay. During the activity slow instrumental evocative music plays in the background.

After having molded their piece of clay, participants are invited to remove the blindfold, to look at their creation in silence and when ready, to share with the rest of the group what their creation represents and what emotions and insights are related to it.

The activity can take place indoors or outdoors (in this case it’s very important to choose an isolated and comfortable place, where participants can listen to the natural sounds of nature instead of the music) in a place where participants can sit in a circle without being disturbed for the entire duration of the process. This activity has been carried out with a group of 15-20 pax (an entire classroom). To make the sharing process more effective and deep it would be better to have no more than 10-12 participants, however in this case the aim was also to create the group and to facilitate communication and respect among teenagers. For this reason the group has not been divided. Since the group is so numerous and since participants are teenagers, the facilitator takes care that everyone has the chance to speak and that interventions last no more than 5 minutes each, or group members could loose attention and start getting distracted.


Setting the reflective practice:

1.     Group members are asked to sit in the circle and in silence start thinking of what happened during the day (in the case of teenagers, facilitator can also narrate in an evocative way the major events of the day)

2.     Participants are given a piece of clay each and are blindfolded.

3.     If indoors, the facilitator puts some music on (see above), if outdoors the facilitator invite participants to stay in silence and listen to the sounds of nature.

4.     Group members are invited to mold their piece of clay according to the emotions and insights of what they experienced during the day. This activity lasts 20/30 minutes.

5.     Participants are asked to stop molding, to take their blindfolds off and to look in silence at their creation (1/2 minutes).

6.     The facilitator invites group members to share with the others what their creation represents and what emotions and insights it’s linked to.

7.     The facilitator takes care that everyone has a proper space and time to speak and ensures that no reactions or comments disturb the person who is sharing.



Story from practice:

We have noticed that being blindfolded and using the hands for molding creates a very intimate atmosphere and participants are very concentrated and engaged at an emotional level. Very rarely they are busy with impressing the others with some special and meaningful artifact. It’s a deep experience that taps into the bodily kinesthetic and intra personal intelligence of participants.



Timeframe: 1 ½ – 2 hours depending on group size