Students reflect upon their own experiences of discrimination in different roles – as victims, perpetrators or witnesses – and discuss strategies to act up against discrimination and show Civil Courage.

Aims/objectives

  • to open space to reflect on one’s personal experience of discrimination or any form of unfair treatment
  • to enable students to share different experiences
  • to illustrate that we can experience discriminatory actions in different roles: as victim, perpetrator or witness
  • to discuss on strategies to act up against discrimination

Material needed

  • working sheets (one for each student)
  • 4 tables with chairs (for the working groups)
  • flipchart

Preparation

Copy the working sheets (one for each student) and prepare flipcharts with your ideas about what to discuss within the working groups and, optionally, with your input.

Step by step description

1. Students are divided into four groups. Explain that each group will work on ONE situation of discrimination and assign the groups to the following situations (write the situations on the blackboard or, optionally, distribute four paper sheets, one for each group):

  • Situations, in which you were discriminated against/treated unfair by another person.
  • Situations, in which you were discriminating someone else.
  • Situations in which you witnessed an act of discrimination and didn´t do anything against it.
  • Situations in which you witnessed an act of discrimination and did act against it.

2. Firstly, the students reflect individually: What is my personal experience of discrimination in relation to the specific situation described above (either victim, perpetrator or passive/active observer)? The students take notes on the working sheet (only the part that corresponds to the role of their group). (approx. 5 – 7 min.)

3. Secondly, the students share their experiences with the colleagues of their working group. This part is carried out in two steps: Everyone tells his/her story (1) and afterwards she/he asks other participants of the group: What do you think, what I could have done differently in this situation? (approx. 25 min.)

4. The outcome of the individual stories is discussed with regard to the following question: What are important strategies to act up against discrimination and to show Civil Courage? Each group should come up with at least 3–4 ideas and write them on cards. (approx. 8 min.)

5. Plenary: Delegates of the groups present their ideas. Collect the cards, pin them on a poster (title: “Act up against discrimination – Civil Courage”) and cluster them according to their content, similarities and differences. (10 – 15 min.).

Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing

  • What did we learn about strategies against discrimination and about Civil Courage?
  • What do you guess, which strategies that we have collected, are the most relevant or effective ones to act up against discrimination? How would you rank them?
  • In your opinion, which role was the most difficult one sharing it with your colleagues: victim/perpetrator/passive or active observer? What was surprising to you?
  • Reviewing your personal experience of discrimination or unfair treatment: Would you act differently today? And, if yes, why and how?

Suggestions for adaptations and variations

The different student groups present their outcome by means of performing arts (e.g. pantomime).

Reference / original source of the method

This method is a variation of the original activity „Four-Positions-Activity“ from Karin Bischof’s workshop „Act up against discriminiation!“ which took place at the aces Academy 2014 in Senec, Slovak Republic.

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