toolbox world wide web


Name of the tool

Can you trade values?       

Links to the keystones
attitudes, awareness, knowledge

Aim of tool/ Brief overall description
To raise awareness and empathy towards other peoples` cultures and values and to learn to appreciate other peoples` values helps us to understand them better

Brief overall description
It is important to understand and appreciate the role values play in intercultural learning. Values are very often seen as at the foundation of culture. They are so deeply rooted and acquired that most people find it is not possible to negotiate about them. How can we really live together inter-culturally then? Are there some common values everybody can agree on? How do we live together if we cannot agree on values? What kind of “working arrangements” could we make? These are questions we need to think about to live and to teach in intercultural society.

Main methods

Individual work
Group work
Pair work
Frontal discussion



Description of the process and the possible stepping stones

1. After explaining the exercise to the participants, randomly hand out the value cards to the participants, and make sure everybody receives 8 cards.
2. Participants are asked to exchange values they have on their cards with values they prefer. There is no obligation to trade 1:1. The only rule is that nobody should end up with less than 2 cards.
3. Once trading has stopped, participants are asked to get together in groups holding similar value-cards. They should discuss what it is they have in common.
If you like, you could also ask them to focus on where these values came from and why they hold similar values. Results of discussion will be presented to other groups later on, during summary making.
4. Then participants are asked to find somebody who holds values that are very different than theirs. These pairs should try to formulate values they can both agree on, on the basis of what they have on their cards. Although participants might be tempted to simply find compromises by finding more and more abstract or very broad and almost meaningless statements, motivate them to stay as concrete as possible.
5. Exercise can be finished when moderator feels that most of the pairs have come up with two or three compromise statements, which has written dawn also. Couples (or some of them, depending on group size) present their statements to other group members.

Reflection and evaluation
This method is particularly powerful in groups that had not been strongly confronted with intercultural learning before and worked as a good starting point for a reflection on values. Therefore it is usable in Estonia. The formulation of the values on the cards is very important – some of the values can be too broad (everybody could agree on them), some too specific. The best thing is to discuss in team about the values and see if it is possible to find a good variety of opinions on the values for the cards.


Prepared value-cards

It is critically important to make sure that value-cards contain values, deeply rooted beliefs about what is good and what is bad. The same important is to ensure that each value, noted down, could be actively supported by at least one of the participants.


Intercultural Learning T-kit (2000). Council of Europe Publishing: Strasbourg, Cedex.


Inge Timoštšuk
Mai Normak