This role play lesson plan was developed by M.S. in Conflict Analysis and Resolution students at George Mason University for Dr. Arthur Romano’s Pedagogy course and was piloted in that class.
In the last few years there has been a rise of real and alleged incidents of bias and hate speech on college campuses which have sparked vigorous and much needed debate over these events, what happened at them, and what the proper response ought to be. Often times the complexity of those events and of the identities, beliefs, policies, and intentions wrapped up in them get swept aside by one-sided rhetoric that simplifies incidents as revolving solely around questions of race, privilege, or free speech. In order to encourage students to critically explore the complexity of these issues and the spectrum of experiences, bias, identities, intentions, and policies this lesson plan lays out a role playing scenario around such an incident. Specifically this scenario is loosely based on a real-life incident at a college around a “Tequila party” that caused much debate which highlights the difficulty of reducing any such case into a clear-cut understanding of what happened or what answers ought to be sought. Please note that the scenario and roles used in this role play are fictional and have no relation to actual faculty, staff, or students at that college.
The goal of this lesson is to have students engage in a lively discussion about the complexity of bias incidents by taking on two different identities, or roles, of fictional actors on a college campus. Ideally the discussion and the diversity of roles whose views and priorities might not align with every student’s own views will stimulate a better understanding of how such a conflict plays out in all its complexity. Additionally students will should gain some empathy and ability to understand, if not necessarily agree, with other points of view and see how this could be useful in dealing with these incidents. Rather than having the students looking at the conflict from the outside with the intent of fixing the problem, they will instead experience it from the inside and will confront differing view points on the incident and proposed college policy.
Schedule and Time: About 45 minutes
The lesson would be broken down into roughly the following schedule:
Activity and prompt read out loud and explained to the class. A copy of both should be available either on a projector or on printed copies for each participant.
|2 Minutes||Groups and Role Assignment
Class divided into groups of no more than eight (including facilitators) and are given their randomized roles. Note there should be one facilitator per group.
|15 Minutes||First Discussion
The facilitators help begin a group discussion with each role player introducing themselves and given time to speak. The facilitators should take an active role not to shape the group’s opinion but rather to help get everyone into the mood of role playing, to ensure everyone has a chance to talk, and to keep the discussion civil and on topic.
|15 Minutes||Second Discussion
The facilitators have all students pass their roles to the person across from them or to the right. Then the facilitators lead the groups in restarting the discussions again but this time with everyone’s new roles. The facilitators should guide the discussion the same way as the first one; with everyone introducing themselves and the facilitators both being involved in their role and acting as moderator when needed.
The facilitators will announce when the time for the second discussion is up and they will gather everyone back into a larger circle. At this point they will ask the debrief questions to check-in on the dynamic of each group and of the individual students’ thoughts and feelings on the experience of the exercise.
A projector and computer with which to display the scenario and discussion prompt for reference during the activity. The facilitators may also instead opt to print out copies of the scenario and prompt for every participant.
Printed and individually cut packets of role strips to be handed out to each group of eight students. The slips should may be given to each participant randomly or else may be folded and pull randomly out of a container. Regardless, it is important for each group to have it’s own separate packet of roles to choose from to avoid double roles.
Students of a dorm at Miskatonic University have advertised publicly on social media and with fliers around campus that they would be having a “Tequila Party,” which some of them also referred to as a “Fiesta.” The party went forward and involved drinking tequila wearing sombreros, pictures of which surfaced on Facebook after the event. In the days following the emergence of those pictures, some students began to protest against the event on the grounds it was a form of racial and ethnic stereotyping. Students and college groups on both sides began to be involved in protests and writing opinion pieces in the college paper over the event and the administration’s subsequent condemnation of any stereotyping as against the Honor Code and the University’s values. The administration has asked for respectful dialogue and has gathered everyone here today who is interested in a townhall to hear student feedback on how to move forward and address any concerns.
Prompt for Discussion:
The University’s Student Life and Multi-Cultural Committee has proposed that for the duration of the academic year (approximately three months) all non-academic events must be approved at least a week in advance by a newly created Event Review Board that will screen for and prevent potential violations of the Social Code and College Values. Please note that this is a proposal and that such a Board has not been set up yet.
President of the University
President of Latin American Student Association
Professor of Cultural Studies
Senior Class Representative
How did everyone’s group discussion goal? Did your groups seem to coalesce around one particular view or were there more disagreements?
Did you find playing the roles you were given to be difficult? Especially if the identity and view you were given was different from your own?
How did it feel to change identities half way through the discussion? Did you find that challenging and did you gain any insights into other view points as a result?
Have any of you experienced any incidents or townhalls such as the one we role played today? In what ways did you find the experiences different or similar?
What do you think you have learned from this scenario and how do you think it could be applied to incidents and discussions about the complexity of bias, identity, and policy in real life?
Skill Share Lesson – Conflict Resolution Pedagogy
By: Chelsie Kuhn and Jeff McGuire
The School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution
George Mason University
Introduction and Background: This lesson was conducted for a Conflict Resolution Pedagogy class at GMU’s School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. The goal of the skill share was to provide students with the social/emotional intelligence to affecting deal with anger, in the context of maintain nonviolent discipline while a participant in a nonviolent resistance movement.
1). Sample Introduction Script:
2). A Force More Powerful: Training for Nonviolent Action (James Lawson)
3). Facilitated Imagination Exercise: Handling anger in the face of violent oppression –> Nonviolence
4). Learning Outcomes:
This series of videos describes the practice of Liberation theology over the past two decades in a neighborhood on the outskirts of a Brazilian city in the Northeast. It is relevant to those who are interested in social movements in Brazil, their history, and also for those interested in Paulo Freire and critical pedagogy, as many of Freire’s ideas came out of Liberation theology as it was practiced in Brazil’s northeast.
Part 1 – In this first video, Bira takes us through the spiritual underpinnings of Liberation theology and the establishment by missionaries of a Basic Ecclesial Community. Many social-justice movements in Brazil were spawned in these communities, including some that turned into political parties, and others that turned into militant reform movements.
Part 2- In this second video, Bira describes the housing project, Cajazeiras – its creation, its exclusion, and the dynamic interaction between those in the apartments with basic sanitation, and those in the rapidly expanding favelas around them. He introduces the missionaries Padre Luis Lintner and Pina Rabbiosi, the founders of Casa do Sol, and describes his initial formative interactions with the priest, who brought Liberation theology to the neighborhood. Finally, he situates the Casa do Sol in the context of the community of Cajazeiras.
Part 3 – In this clip, Bira describes in more detail the programs of the Casa do Sol and its use of art in the social context. In the 1990s there was an “explosion” of NGOs in Brazil, which helped form the foundation of the quest for social justice there. Much of their work was done with youth, through art and sports.
Part 4 – Bira in this clip articulates the positionality of Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy with Liberation theology, the Casa do Sol Itself, the Movimento Sem Terra (Landless Movement), and a culture of peace, justice, and social struggle in Brazil. He also describes the tragedy that was visited upon the Casa do Sol a few years after its inauguration.
Part 5 – In this final clip, we wrap up the conversation. Bira speaks about the current political turmoil in Brazil, about corruption, and about the ongoing quest for social justice.
Interview of Bira Azevedo by Andrew Della Rocca
Translated and subtitled by Andrew Della Rocca
For Dr. Arthur Romano at George Mason’s School of Conflict Analysis and Resolution
Introduction and Background
The following lesson plan was used by a group of Conflict Analysis and Resolution Master’s and PhD Candidates for a two hour event on the George Mason University Fairfax Campus with approximately 15-20 undergraduate students. The students all came voluntarily, but most were studying Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Global Affairs, and Communications.
Enduring Understanding:The role of identity and how it works for or against us in the world
Essential Questions: How do our multiple identities impact our experiences in life?
Total: 2-3 hours
Intro and Identity Maps (1+ hour)
Nested Model Mapping Activity (1+hour)
Dry erase markers/board
1). Welcome everyone into the space
2). Explain the activity:
3). Break into discussion
4). Transition to box identities and nested model mapping
5). Have facilitator hold box, and have 3-4 participants choose an notecard without looking
6). One by one, have the participants with notecards go up to the board and have the audience help them place where the identity goes within the nested model. Discuss as the participant is placing the identity why it should go there.
7). Debrief Questions
8). Closing: Metta Meditation–send love/positive energy to appreciate everyone’s willingness to participate at whatever level of depth they decided today. Discussing identities can be difficult because it is such a vulnerable, and sometime painful, topic. To continue processing and moving forward in this work, we need to be willing to open up and discuss what certain identity experiences hold. Facilitators thank everyone for coming.
This lecture explores informal education and its importance in conflict resolution.