I LOVE this idea! Simple, quick, and easy to set up, but what a powerful tool!!!
Stereotyping Roles by Barbara Gruener
If you want to elevate empathy in your students for those who get stuck in a stereotype, why not try this role-play game.
You will need six student volunteers and a role card
(like those pictured below) for each one.
Glue your role cards with instructions to a plastic visor so that students can't see what role they're playing but the other participants in the semi-circle can. Use roles like:
The ESL Student (speak loudly and slowly to me)
The Popular Student (agree with me and follow my lead)
The Nerd (put down everything I say)
The Class Clown (laugh at everything I say & do)
The New Student (ignore me)
The Troublemaker (shush me or tell me to be quiet).
Tell students that they're going to have a discussion with one another to plan their group's next service project. Whom do they want to help and why? During the activity, they are to treat one another according to the directions that they see on each other's visors as they talk and plan. Randomly call on one of your group members to start the discussion. Expect some laughter, some confusion, and possibly some hurt feelings. Stop the conversation after a few minutes, then see if participants can guess who they are by how others reacted to them. Let them process how it felt to be treated like that.
When I first participated in this one, I was assigned the ESL student and it was really frustrating when the other group members acted like I couldn't comprehend anything they were saying as they repeated things slowly and loudly.
Once students run through this exercise and thoroughly reflect about it, find out what other stereotype cards they might add. Then change discussion topics and try it again. Or take it on the road and lead it with a buddy class or for the faculty at your next faculty meeting.
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