|Photo: Auberon (Creative Commons)|
This works well with a group of around 12-15 participants. Ahead of time the facilitator prepares sufficient headbands made from cardboard. Each headband has printed upon it (felt pen is best) an unique role and brief explanation of how other participants should react to that role. For example, the headbands could be:
- EXPERT. Ask my advice.
- COMEDIAN. Laugh at me.
- V.I.P. Defer to me.
- INSIGNIFICANT PERSON. Ignore me.
- HELPLESS. Give me assistance.
- FOOLISH. Dismiss me.
- BULLY. Back down from me.
- BOSS. Obey me.
- etc., etc.
When everyone is assembled the facilitator places an headband upon each participant so that they cannot read it but so that others can easily do so. A topic for discussion is then introduced (e.g. providing lodgings for people on the street). Each person is told to interact with others naturally – i.e. not role-playing.
The other participants are to react to others according to what is on that persons headband. They are not to tell people what is on their headband though.
Allow the discussion to proceed for around 20 minutes and then stop the discussion. Participants are then asked to guess what is on each of their headbands and then take them off to read them.
Discussion can then take place around the experiences that participants had in the game. Some possible prompt questions include:
- What were some of the pressures experienced when trying to be yourself, yet subject to role expectation?
- How did it feel to be misinterpreted?
- Did the way you interacted change because of the role expectations of others?
- How significant is role expectation within society?