For developing communication skills, noticing how we communicate.
[img_assist|nid=154|title=CUE power and democracy line 2001|desc=|link=popup|align=left|width=450|height=318]
This is a chart recording the results of a democracy and power line Mike Orrfelt and I did with members and officers of the Coalition of University Employees in 2001. (See also the Mosh Pit activity in Chapter 5.)
I have always liked the "seed poem" device that this introductory activity uses. I learned it from Emily Schnee in a course we co-taught at the old ILGWU Worker-Family Education Program. We did it as a writing activity. I don't know where she got it. This activity answers several needs at once: it is a good speaking, listening, writing activity; it is creative and uses the whole body; it combines pair and whole group work; it works across levels; it is a good way to begin identifying generative themes.
Not a new idea, but a particular use of it that has worked very well. The activity revolves around a close reading of a poem by Langston Hughes, using an eraser…
In this activity participants memorize/study the following short poem by Langston Hughes.
The night is beautiful.
So the faces of my people.
The stars are beautiful.
So the eyes of my people.
Beautiful, also, is the sun.
Beautiful, also, are the souls of my people.
- write the poem on a blackboard
- ask everyone to read it silently
A circle game adapted from "Se Murio Chicho" in Tecnicas Participativas Para La Education Social Vol 1. (The sentence is from a scene in the John Sayles film "Passion Fish" http://youtu.be/hkcIBvJU8Uk)
Good for: fun, expression, loosening up, paying attention to details.
Setup: people sitting in a circle
Number of people: at least three
Time: 30 mins.
The idea of this game is to help people develop their ability to make a range of expressions by magnifying and reducing motions and emotions made by others.
Good for: breaking down barriers to expression, observing degrees of expression, developing registers of speech and motion, learning culturally specific forms
Setup: empty space, standing in a circle
Number of people: three at least
Time: 30 mins or so
- Participants form a circle, standing, and count off.
I learned this from working with the Coalition of University Employees, and the mediator, ------, they brought in to help with their internal communications and group dynamics.
It matters because it names disagreements openly. It identifies them as problems or issue to be addressed. It recognizes their importance and their "hotness" and keeps them on the table, without obstructing other work.