MATERIALS FOR TRAINERS
Group size: from 15 to 20 participants – the game is played in groups of three or four. Therefore, the number of participants can be divided in order to have as many groups as to fit the existing number of participants.
Time: for the implementation of this group activity 20 minutes are needed, while another 5 minutes for reflection is also necessary to be counted while planning the lesson.
Materials required: the needed materials for this group activity are half sheet note cards, pens or pencils.
OBJECTIVES: The aims of this exercise are putting oneself in the position of another individual and empathizing with that individual and the problem this person is facing.
- Putting oneself in the position of another individual
- Empathizing with the individual
- Practicing empathy, perspective taking
WHEN TO USE?
This group activity could be better used before introducing the Ways to be an empathetic leader, as after completing this exercise, learners are already closer to how they could act in the other persons’ shoes/problems/situation. It would ease the perceiving phase of the new theoretical aspects which are planned to be introduced.
Trainer asks participants to form groups of three or four. After the groups are formed, each group member is given half sheet of paper/note card on which they write an issue he/she is currently facing, dealing with. The trainer collects the cards of each group and puts them in a pile from where each member of the three/four persons group, randomly picks one card. Taking turns, each group member reads out the content of the card he/she has picked. It is really important that prior the activity, group members are informed that no matter what the content of the picked card is, if it is their own or not, they should be acting as the problem was their own. After that, other group members should be giving advice and feedback, including also the person whose problem is talked about. It is really important that the person speaking (presenting the issue from his/her card) is acting like the problem would be his/her throughout the whole activity. In this way, group members are able to put themselves in the shoes of the other trying to find solutions for the problem. Moreover, participants can look at their own problems from different perspectives and perceive it differently.
After the activity is finished, every group member had his/her turn with reading out their cards and the problems/issues had been discussed the big group should reunite for reflection and debrief. Trainer should ask participants the following questions and discussions should lead to the presentation of the Ways of being an empathetic leader.
- How did it feel to take on someone else’s problem as your own?
- How did it feel to hear someone else living your problem?
- What was it like giving advice on your own problem?
VARIATIONS OF THE GAME:
This activity would be best to be implemented with a number of participants which can give groups of at least three, but not more than four group members. In this way, one can make sure that each group members’ problem can be discussed in the given time frame. In case there’s still time left for the group, they could start to talk about the questions which are to be discussed later within the big group. In this way, they are already reflecting on their actions, while not disturbing the others. They will anyway need the reflection ideas to contribute to the bigger group discussion.