Starburst of empowerment!

Type of tool: 
90-120 min
Topics addressed: 
Personal development
Social inclusion

The tool empowers people with low self esteem in learning situations. It uses peer coaching as a way of raising group trust and activating the participants. It is based on personal development, peer-to-peer coaching and reflection.


empowerment of disadvantaged young people (especially with literacy issues)


peer learning, coaching

Step by step process: 

The tool is a synergic non-formal tool that consists of three phases that induce a process of learning from previous experiences, good (Phase II) and bad (Phase I). It exchanges them for evolution and growth, symbolized by the stars, introduces personal evolution through the peer-to peer coaching (Phase III) and reflection upon their own parcourse. It promotes basic learn to learn competences related to resource persons, way to involve oneself in the learning process.
The tool is thought with less empowered individuals in mind, so it has provisions for shyness, lack of confidence in sharing, lack of involvement.
Implementation details (might vary according to the needs of the target group):
Feel-good energizer: Offer a compliment to your neighbour.
Phase 1: Create group trust - common challenges The two facilitators have a drama session where they act an example of a disempowering situation specific to the target group. On literacy: interacting with a public body representative for paperwork issues. They ask the group to present themselves and to share a similar personal story. If the group is very reluctant, they start enumerating types of disempowering situation and actors they might have felt disempowered with. For every situation the participants experienced, they are required to place a symbol on a common board. After this process, they are asked again to share something about the situations they thought about.
Phase II Resources Be proud of yourself phase: remember a situation where you surpassed your expectations and a situation when you received unexpected help. They take a solution token for every positive situation they can think of. The ones who are confident enough can share.
Phase III Peer coaching - Solve your challenge! The group is separated into pairs, which will work in a coach/cochee dynamic. The coachee will solve his/her issue with the help of questions supplied by the coach. These questions will be directed towards the main questions presented on the star. The pairs will be presented with colour coded star with questions: why?, who?, when?, where?, what? - every group has to touch every corner of the coloured star. The colour code is especially important with people with literacy issues. One facilitator supervises the whole process. The other one has a question booth, where the participants can use their troubles and solutions tokens from the first and second phase to buy questions/answers from the star facilitator. Symbolically, they receive stars instead of what they give. If they ran out of tokens, they may buy using a get out of comfort zone token (they are presented with a personal challenge they must overcome) The pair changes roles between coach and coachee.
Phase IV Reflection: Did your troubles token help you? Did your solution tokens help you? Did you learn better alone? Did you learn better in a big group? Did you learn better in peer-to-peer learning? Everybody draws smiley faces in their own reflection sheet coded with symbols for troubles, solutions, alone, big group, peer-to-peer. Feel good moment: Motivational speech based on the positive results of the work of the group. The results of the experience are analyzed and reviewed, then conclusions are presented in a motivational format, in a way to bring out the experience, growth and empowerment of surpassing our personal challenges.
The tool requires two facilitators. Both me and the other creator, Ricardo Querido Marques from Portugal applied, but I suppose I could communicate with another Romanian facilitator that participates (if the list of selection is published) and ask for assistance if he is not selected. We can distribute method flyers to other facilitators if the presentation is made with the poster/fair organisation method or we can organize it like a mystery web quest. Also, we can adapt it to a facilitator group talking about difficulties - successes they faced while working as facilitators.

Materials and resources: 

"booths" - cardboard symbols, 2 tables
drama props, according to the dramatic scene
color coded starburst method stars for every pair of participants
reflection sheets


The tool exchanges past experiences, both good and bad, for evolution and growth (symbolized by the stars) introduces personal evolution through the peer-to peer coaching (Phase III) and reflection upon the participants' own parcourse. It promotes basic learn to learn competences related to resource persons, way to involve oneself in the learning process. It is designed to trigger internal change in participants, that is why a specific outcome is difficult to describe.


The tool is still growing. We had different results on different groups.

Tool Fair upload: 
Average: 3.3 (3 votes)
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DISCLAIMER: SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

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