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Facilitating the Difficult Dialogue: Role Plays
This activity requires 60-90 minutes.
Teachers often are hesitant to raise topics such as racism, sexism, economic injustice, and heterosexism in the classroom because their training has not prepared them to handle the issues and exchanges that may result. This activity provides participants an opportunity to share stories about when discussions about these topics took an unexpected turn they were unprepared to handle, then to share ideas about how to address these circumstances in the future.
Divide participants into groups of four or five. Prepare enough space in the room for small groups to perform skits.
This activity will be most effective if you already have engaged in a discussion about the importance of dealing with issues of social justice in the classroom.
It is always important when activities call for participants to share their own stories and make themselves vulnerable to remind the group about active listening. Consider starting the activity by sharing a story from your own experience to ease the tension.
You might also consider following this activity with one in which participants are encouraged to take turns facilitating conversations about issues of oppression for the other participants. Consider using "plants" who are prepared to introduce difficult situations into the experience.
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