toolbox world wide web

 

Name of the tool

Game about stereotypes   

Links to the keystones
attitudes, awareness, knowledge

Aim of tool/ Brief overall description
The tool raises awareness about the participants’ own stereotypes on different nations, minorities and about the inevitability of mental schemes.

To make visible our stereotypes (the stereotypes of the students), and at the same time to make them relative, questionable, using irony and humor.

Students divided in groups or individually, having small flags (with names of nations, ethnic or minority groups) in their hand, see expressions on the board or on slides: “As [a characteristic] as…” and have to finish the sentence raising one of the small flags. In this way they express to which nation, ethnic group they link the characteristic more. E. g.: As cheerful as: German or Italian or Hungarian (only one per characteristic) etc. 
After the game there is a common reflection on what happened.

 

Main methods

  • Game

  • Reflection

 

 

Description of the process and the possible stepping stones

1. The teacher prepares a slideshow with the simple phrase: As… as… He/she can use a board also. It is the teacher’s choice if he/she wants to make a list of attributes, with the students or before the class/meeting/training.
(2. optional): If they make the list together, the teacher asks the students (the participants) to say positive, negative and neutral attributes without telling them for which purpose. He/she writes the attributes in the slideshow or on the board but the students should not see yet what is written there (as… as…) so he/she should do it (later) while the students are working with another task.

3. The teacher asks the students to make a list of nations, ethnic and minority groups they know. He/she can help them in order to find as many as possible. They can work individually or in groups. If there are national or minority groups in the class it is the choice of the teacher to divide them into homogenous or heterogeneous groups.

4. The students prepare small flags with the names of the nations/groups and they glue them to sticks. If they will use the flags individually each of them has to have all the flags, so it is good that they prepare them for themselves. If they use them in groups: they need all the names of the nations/groups in every group. If there is less time, then the teacher can skip all this process, and can prepare the materials before. If there is more time students can prepare even colored flags or signs (symbols) of the nations/groups instead of their names simply written on papers.

5. The teacher presents one by one the phrases with the attributes: As … as… (e. g. : As cheerful as… ) and asks the student to raise a flag with the name of a nation/group to finish the phrase. If they do it in groups, they should have a little time to discuss (not too much anyway) before showing their choice. (It is important to show only one phrase for every choice, and the other following ones remaining hidden)

6. After each phrase the teacher can offer some time for short reactions, comments, questions. Why do you think x (nationality) people are z (attribute)? This is a very sensitive part; so the teacher should be very careful in controlling the situation so that no offending prejudices may poison the game. It is very good if we can laugh about our stereotypes maybe even about our own national/ethnic/minority group.

7. After the game it is necessary to lead a common reflection (feedback, discussion) about the game.

 

Reflection and evaluation

On one hand it is very important that students know the nations/groups in the game (at least they should have basic knowledge about them); on the other hand it is not necessary that everyone know them on the same level. It can be interesting to see that we know some groups better than other ones, and some of us can assume to know some groups better than others.

It is very important that the students consider this as a game, that we don’t take it too seriously. For that the teacher can prepare some introductory game, presentation, remark such as: (not offending!) jokes about nations, funny images, etc.
We introduced our game with some funny images of children linked to some national stereotypical characteristics. 

We played this game with our TICKLE group and it is worth to summarize that experience.
For the lack of time we had prepared as the attributes as the small flags (papers with sticks) before. We had all the names of the participant nations and of all the main minorities living in our countries. The attributes showed was as following:

As cheerful as…
As intelligent as…
As vain as…
As open as…
As greedy as…
As drunk as…
As cunning as…
As sparing as…
As noisy as…
As lazy as…
As pessimistic as…
As gourmand as…
As talkative as…
As calm as…
As sexy as…

We divided the whole group into national groups and they were allowed to discuss their choice. If in the group there were disagreements with some additional sticks, then those who were against the majority opinion, always could express their different choice by raising a different flag.

On one hand the game worked well, and the group laughed a lot during the game; but on the other hand we noticed that for some people (groups), it was very difficult to raise flags in case of negative attributes.

We think that it is important to face even our negative stereotypes (always in the context of a game!), with a certain irony, even if it is not PC, only because in that way we can handle them; but we acknowledge that the sensitivity of different groups can vary, and for some people it can be difficult or even unacceptable to express negative opinions (even just in a game with irony and humor) about another group.
In adapting this tool teachers should cautiously consider the social and cultural context of participants.

Impressions

Instruments

-

 

Equipment

Small flags with names of nations (or paper and sticks and maybe material for drawing)
Projector, PC (or other tool /like a board/ where the phrases can appear one after the other somehow)
20-25 participants, a room with mobile furniture

References

  • Peabody, Dean (1985): National characteristics. European monographs in social psychology. Cambridge University Press
  • Hall, Edward T.:  Understanding Cultural Differences - Germans, French and Americans (1993, Yarmouth, Maine)

 

 

Author
Mária Nagy, Zsolt Mogyorósi

 

Institution

Eszterházy Károly College, Eger, Hungary