I went to Helena Komasova’s series of lectures on communication that she was giving in a small South Bohemian village where the modern school building dominates. It is a place where Helena is a regular and welcome guest. The topic of communication caters for 8th grade pupils and is part of a broader program of ethical topics that Helena deals with in schools.
Although Helena spends only one hour in the class, she is able to make a lot of things happen. That is because they already know her from many of her previous lectures so they can keep developing their relationships and talk about what they already dealt with before.
First the children agree on the fact that relationships are essential to their lives but can be also very complicated. We feel the need to fit in; however, each of us is an individual, not a sheep in a herd. As the discussion proceeds, it makes the pupils realize how important communication is in our relationships. This is the part in which Helena divides them into pairs and they play a suspenseful game: She takes a group of people out of class, in which there is only one person from each pair, and tells them a story with a certain plot. When the children get back to their “partners”, they try to retell the story by drawing pictures. Nobody is allowed to speak, the only means of communication is gestures or the other person from the pair can ask questions to which their “partner” can give them only yes/no answers.
That is how the children learn the difficult communication skills. Shortly, it is obvious that everyone immersed themselves in the activity. Helena likes it when the class has an odd number of pupils because she enjoys being in the role of a “partner” for the one that does not have any. I like to play the game too. In both of the classes where I participated in the program, her “partners” eventually deciphered the stories. Everyone was working hard, laughing and found the game very amusing. Its purpose is to highlight how important communication is and how much effort we need to make to understand our partners. Helena has become light in the darkness in south Bohemia since this is are with little and small evangelical churches. She is used powerfully to touch the young generation here through school work and some good follow-up activities.
Petr Horacek, the Executive Director of INCZ