Hopes and Fears

Type of strategy: Brainstorming and DiscussionCollaborationEnergizers and State ChangersProcessingWriting and/or Reflection

To surface expectations and concerns—helps participants to see that their fears and hopes are shared by others and that they are out in the open and will be addressed.


Time allotted: 30 minutes.

Group format: Up to 25. If a larger group, have table-groups work together and then
report out. Supplies: Individual writing materials, newsprint and markers

The Steps:

  1. Ask participants to write down briefly for themselves their greatest fear for this initiative: “What do you think your worst experiences could be?” And then write your greatest hope, ie “What could you hope to be the most beneficial educational outcomes of one to one computing? (3-4 minutes)
  2. If time, ask participants to share their hopes and fears with a partner. (3 minutes)
  3. Have two newsprint sheets—one labeled “fears” and one “hopes” and list everything that folks call out. Ask that they avoid repeats.
  4. This activity transitions very well into policy and procedural discussions: In order to reach our hoped-for outcomes, what policies and practices will we need?

Reflection questions following the activity: Did you notice anything surprising/interesting while doing this activity? What is the impact of expressing negative thoughts? Why did we ask you to do this activity? What might it accomplish? How might you use this activity in your classroom?

Facilitation tips: Be sure that all fears and hopes are written down, as expressed, without comment or any sense of judgment, except perhaps, “That’s interesting.” Do not be fearful of having folks express their worst fears, it always makes things go better once expressed. Plus we want to know what to not do!

Variation: To integrate technology, create a google form, or any survey tool and have people record their hopes and their fears.  Share the results, so that they can see that others in the group have similar feelings.



Submitted by: Jennifer Arns