Core Values

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The Core Values Exercise is designed to allow participants an opportunity to explore their personal values on a profound level.  By examining a list of values and ranking each them from “always valued” to “least valued,” participants will engage in serious self-reflection and evaluation.  By the end of the activity, participants will have a chart of core values (those falling in the “always valued” category) that define them.  Additionally, participants will be prompted to share their list of core values with the rest of the group and generate a list of shared values. Doing so will give participants the opportunity to observe others’ core values, and will promote dialogue about any differences present as well as any common values.

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Web of Connectedness

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In this activity, the class sits in a circle while the facilitator poses a discussion question or questions. A ball of yarn, twine, or string is passed to each person who speaks. After a participant speaks, they hold on to part of the string and pass or toss the ball to the next speaker. By the discussion’s end, the string will form a web between the students, showing who spoke. This can be used as an icebreaker activity with a low-stakes question like “what is your favorite hobby?” or to track the discussion of more course-centric topics.

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The Five Minute Poem

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This activity has students spend five minutes writing a brief four-stanza poem about where they are from. The poems can be shared in the large group as students introduce themselves to the class, in pairs or small groups, or could be posted to a class blog or forum. This activity can also be used as a prompt for a discussion about how where students come from impacts them in the classroom.

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The Spectrum Activity, Questions of Identity

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The Spectrum Activity Questions of Identity are questions for discussion or reflective writing that prompt students to critically consider their identities and the relationship between identity and context. These questions can be used in conjunction with the Social Identity Wheel and Personal Identity Wheel to prompt students in a discussion or reflective writing exercise about identity.

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Social Identity Wheel

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The Social Identity Wheel worksheet is an activity that encourages students to identify and reflect on the various ways they identify socially, how those identities become visible or more keenly felt at different times, and how those identities impact the ways others perceive or treat them. The worksheet prompts students to fill in various social identities (such as race, gender, sex, ability disability, sexual orientation, etc.) and further categorize those identities based on which matter most in their self-perception and which matter most in others’ perception of them. The Social Identity Wheel can be used in conjunction with the Personal Identity Wheel to encourage students to reflect on the relationships and dissonances between their personal and social identities. The wheels can be used as a prompt for small or large group discussion or reflective writing on identity by using the Spectrum Activity Questions on Identity.

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Personal Identity Wheel

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The Personal Identity Wheel is a worksheet activity that encourages students to reflect on how they identify outside of social identifiers. The worksheet prompts students to list adjectives they would use to describe themselves, skills they have, favorite books, hobbies, etc. Unlike the Social Identity Wheel, this worksheet doesn’t emphasize perception or context. It is best used as an icebreaker activity or in conjunction with the Social Identity Wheel in order to encourage students to reflect on the relationships and dissonances between their personal and social identities. The wheels can be used as a prompt for small or large group discussion or reflective writing on identity by using the Spectrum Activity Questions on Identity.

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Barnga

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BARNGA is a simulation game that encourages participants to critically consider normative assumptions and cross-cultural communication. It was created by Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan in 1980, while working for USAID in Gbarnga, Liberia. He and his colleagues were trying to play Euchre but all came away from the instructions with different interpretations. He had an ‘A-ha’ moment that conflict arises not (only) from major or obvious cultural differences but often from subtle, minor cues. He created the game to tease out these subtleties. In this activity, students play a card game silently, each operating with a different set of rules, unbeknownst to them.

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