Monday, 20 June 2016

Artist Toolbox: Activities for your final class


It's the end of the year and your classes have been together for a whole bucket of time. They know each other well by now and all that rapport you built up among them in the early days has paid off. But it's coming to an end. Next year will be a new cohort, a new dynamic to build all over again.

So here's a nice little class to sum things up with a couple of simple activities. The first, I found on and is an Augusto Boal exercise called There Is Only One Liar:

A psychological but fun group dynamics game from Augusto Boal. There should be no talking until the exercise is over. The group sits or stands in a circle and closes their eyes. The leader tells them that one person will be selected by a tap on the shoulder. The leader walks around the whole circle, then asks the group to open their eyes. The group members must look around and try to guess who was chosen. They are asked to remember who they decided upon but not to reveal it at this point.
The game is repeated. When everybody has finished looking round, the leader asks them, on the count of three, without talking, to point at the person they thought was chosen the first time. Everybody points. Now, they do the same again for the second time.
Afterwards, members are asked what it was that led them to choose a particular person, for example, the facial expression that person had. Then, on a signal, they are asked to put up their hands if they were touched the first time. They discover that no one was touched the first time. They are asked to do the same for the second time. The group discover that they were all touched the second time. There is only one liar – the workshop leader!
It's a great activity for challenging assumptions, even (or especially) after a year of working together.
Following this, give each student two small pieces of paper. Ask them to write a fact about themselves on each piece. The facts could be things they think many classmates would know, or something they'd be less aware of. Fold the paper, stick it in a bowl and then one-by-one the leader reads out facts. The class must then vote for who they think the fact is about by pointing their finger. If the fact is about you then you can bluff by pointing elsewhere. Anyone who gets it right is awarded a point, which they keep track of by counting on their fingers.
It tests students' knowledge of each other and reminds them that there is much they still don't know. It's both a way to summarise the year and teach them a valuable lesson. In your last few lessons before the holiday, why not give this a try?!


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