The students read a story dealing with issues in a divided community/society. They discuss these topics in groups and then come up with ideas on how to solve them.

Aims/objectives

  • to identify problematic issues in a divided community
  • to prioritise these issues
  • to propose actions to solve them
  • to analyse prejudices, discrimination and human rights in divided communities/societies

Material needed

  • Copies of the story (see Annex)
  • Assignments for the group work (see step by step description)
  • Paper, pens
  • Flipchart, markers

Preparation

Depending on the number of students prepare two to four tables and chairs for the group work. Arrange the tables far apart from each other.

Optionally prepare a power point presentation to illustrate the story.

Step by step description

1. Split the class in two or four groups – depending on the number of students.
2. Start with presenting the story either by reading it out (optionally using a power point presentation) or hand over a copy of the story to each student and ask them to read it by themselves.
3. Give the groups the following instructions (write them down separately for each group):

DUCK’S GROUP

As a group of ducks, can you identify what your issues are with the swans? Spend some time discussing the story and then list in terms of priorities the issues that affect you as ducks. During your discussion focus solely on the ducks/swans story.

SWAN’S GROUP

As a group of swans, can you identify what your issues are with the ducks? Spend some time discussing the story and then list in terms of priorities the issues that affect you as swans. During your discussion focus solely on the ducks/swans story.

4. Ask the students to come back to the plenary and form a circle with their chairs. Each group shortly presents their considerations. Then start a discussion:

  • What needs do the ducks have?
  • What needs do the swans have?
  • How did the ducks respond to the swans individually?
  • What perceptions do the swans and ducks communities have of each other?
  • Does either community hold legitimate or reasonable views?

Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing

  • Did you enjoy the activity? Why or why not?
  • Was it difficult to identify special issues of your group?
  • How did you feel when you learned about the considerations of the other group?
  • Does the activity reflect our society? If yes, how?
  • Do you have any ideas on how we could overcome prejudices and discrimination?

Suggestions for adaptations and variations

You will probably need a second lesson for discussion, especially if the students brought up many issues that relate to the actual situation in your country. Being in the role of ducks and swans might trigger them to reflect upon different communities in your country and discuss how these communities should be treated.

Reference / original source of the method

This activity was facilitated by Siniša Stanivuk in his workshop „Volunteering in divided societies“ during the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2011 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Further tips and resources

Community Development: http://www.infed.org/community/b-comwrk.htm

Annex: The Ducks and Swans Story

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