(#5) Western Justice Center’s Peer Mediation Invitational (February 25, 2014) – Part 5 (Feedback Talks & Tour Of Courthouse)

Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Aurora De Lucia posing as a judge at the courthouse

Judge Aurora De Lucia will see you now

Picking up from yesterday

So, I had a fun leading a little focus group of the high schoolers. You could tell they were tired after a long day and that lunch. I threatened that I was going to make them do more improv warm-ups such as that one where they had to stand up, be silly, and pretend to mush and eat bananas (that had been done earlier in the day).

It took a little effort to get the energy of the group up. (I did not ask them to do any theater warm-ups of any type.) But, I found that two things helped. 1) When I called people out by name, and looked them in the eye, specifically asking of her or his engagement, people obviously responded more because they can’t fade into the crowd.

(Of course, I called on every high schooler in my group at least once so no one felt left out.)

Another thing that helped was when I sort of riffed a little on the questions. I kept it all right in the vein of what was being asked. But for instance, if the question on the paper (that I then asked) was “what do other social media networks do that keep you coming back”… and then no one said anything, I’d say something like, “Let’s start with instagram. What makes you need to open instagram on your phone?” And then we went from there and covered other social media networks. So, specifics helped a bit.

After that talk was over, everyone who’d led a mini-focus group went into the hall so we could all talk about the ideas (and complaints and such) we’d just heard (which the high schoolers got certificates for their participation in the day).

And that was the end of our day. But then, they let us stick around for a tour of the courthouse, which was really cool.

The extremely nice Judge Paez took us all around, talking about our legal system, the history of the building, his career (and becoming a federal judge appointed by President Clinton), and everything in between.

When we were in the biggest courtroom, I thought about how fun it would be to go sit on the judge’s bench (there were 11 spots behind the bench in that courtroom). But I didn’t say anything, because I don’t want to be the crazy person disrupting a tour flow and asking to play pretend…

But! As if he could read our minds, he said we should all go sit up there. The 3 adult chaperones did not go up, but I was all about it! (By that point, everyone but 10 high schoolers had left, so there was a place for me!)

After the tour, the women of the Western Justice Center were very inviting and we hung out and talked at a table for a bit. The conversation went to pets and of course I have nothing at all to add to that due to my fear of basically practically every animal on our planet.

But nonetheless, it was a fun and riveting day. And I’m glad so many high schoolers were interested in learning techniques to bring about peaceful conflict resolutions.

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?