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Protocol Toolkit Item: 3b


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Conocimiento is an inclusion and self-reflection activity most often used at the opening of a meeting. Participants use the time to reflect and share experiences with one another setting the tone for the meeting and building relationships.


Materials will vary depending on the topic and Conocimiento activity.


15-30 Minutes


Conocimiento originates from Community Learning Theory by Dr. Roberto Vargas. It is connected to his work with Restorative Justice Circles. Conocimiento, a Spanish term, means to have shared awareness and understanding of each other. This continuous opportunity to “know” each other creates a stronger connection between group members.  Conocimiento and similar practices that develop a sense of inclusion have been proven to be effective in building positive relationships and helping groups prepare to work collaboratively toward a common goal. Robert Garmston and Bruce Wellman, as part of their Adaptive Schools research and training, use inclusion activities to create healthy teams and impactful meetings. Many specific activities can serve as a Conocimiento. In making a decision, facilitators should consider the needs of the group; for example, does the group need to take time to get to know each other better, or are members coming with a lot of stress and outside distractions? Time allotted to a Conocimiento can also be varied based on the meeting length, desired outcomes, and group needs. Some Conocimiento activities can be done as a whole group if groups are small. Most Conocimiento activities have participants talking or working with one other person or in a small group so that all participants are engaged. More than just an icebreaker, Conocimiento should occur each time a group meets to build strong positive relationships, which will serve as a foundation for collaboration, conversations, and decision-making. While many of the Relationship Building Protocols can also be used as a Conocimiento, below are other activities that might be used.


Step 1:

Sample Conocimiento Activities
  1. Reflection Questions: Group members share in pairs or in small groups. Facilitators can also include a whole group sharing opportunity (all or select volunteers). Sample questions that can be used include:
    1. What is one personal or professional goal you have for this year?
    2. How does the following quote relate to the work that we are doing?
      • “If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail.” -Proverb
    3. What do you want to bring forward from the past year, and what do you want to accomplish in the upcoming year?
      • Great for meetings at the beginning of a school or calendar year.
    4. What strategy/mindset/action has helped you to overcome some of the challenges you have encountered?
    5. What is one team accomplishment we’ve experienced that you are proud of and would like to celebrate?
    6. Share something that might be distracting you from full attention during our time today.
  1. Hopes, Fears, Talk on the Street: When participants might have varying feelings about the session.
    1. One poster of Hopes: Participants place post-it notes on this poster stating what they hope for from the meeting or session.
    2. One poster of Dreams: Participants place post-it notes that share fears they might have about the meeting or session.
    3. One poster for Talk on the Street: Participants place post-its notes that share things they’ve heard about the meeting or group from others.
    4. Review responses on each poster, group similar post-its together on each poster
    5. At the end of the meeting or session, return to the poster to see how many hopes were realized during the meeting/session, how many fears were addressed, and what the participants now might share with others about the meeting or session.
  1. I Feel Like… Because…: Post images (examples might be well-known toys, famous movie posters, kitchen gadgets) around the room. You will need more images for larger groups so that groups will be small. Ask participants to go and stand by the image they most feel like. Small groups around each image should then share by finishing the statement, “I feel like (the image they selected) because …..”
  1. Quote Analysis: Facilitators display a relevant quote for the group. Then ask participants to discuss the quote in pairs or table groups. Possible questions include:
    1. “What part of this quote resonates with you?”
    2. “How might we use the ideas in this quote today during our time together?”
    3. “Why might you agree or disagree with this quote?”
    4. “How does this statement relate to our outcomes today?”
  Virtual Implementation
  • Breakout rooms will be needed when people share in pairs or small groups.
  • With small groups or when only a short time is available for the Conocimiento, participants can use a chatbox to share their responses.

Resources & Further Reading

Examples of Use

Conocimiento activities can vary greatly and should be based on the relationship-building needs of your group. They can be short or can take a longer time. When planning an effective Conocimiento, it is important to reflect on the relationship-building needs and tone-setting needs of participants.
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