An inter-active activity to demonstrate cooperation and acceptance of difference. This is often the hidden aim. The introduction can state this or it can be billed as a warm-up activity or one on a completely different topic.
Ask people to form groups of three or four. Then ask them to demonstrate, by forming a human sculpture, something on the topic you give them. The topic can be:
• the benefit of cooperation
• accepting the difference of others
• how this group or class works
• nightlife in the area
(Clearly almost any topic can be chosen, depending on the group, situation and your aim).
The group are told they cannot talk at all during the exercise. They are given a set amount of time and told they will then present their sculpture to all the other groups. Only after this will talking be allowed.
One person in each group is given a ‚disability‘ by the leader. They must keep their hand behind their back or in their pocket. Alternatively they must stand on one leg or stay bent over. Other variations are possible. No reasons are given for this, however they must stay this way until the end of the presentations.
After each group has made their presentation, allow each group some time to talk about what they achieved, how they felt about it and what, if anything, they learnt from it.
Open this out to a general discussion. Some specific questions should also be posed:
- What did it feel like working without words?
- How well did the group work together?
- What helped or hindered this working together?
- How did the individual wish the imposed ‚disability‘ feel?
- How did the group react to this person and how did they feel about them?
- What did you learn about: human sculptures; the topic you were asked to sculpt; cooperation; difference?
(Many other questions could be posed depending on the group, the time and the nature of your work. For larger groups, or even for smaller ones, these questions could be raised with small groups first before the large group discussion).
Some difficult issues could arise during this exercise and time will need to be allowed to look at them properly. The leader will probably need to make choices about which questions to focus on.