The name of this blog, Rainbow Juice, is intentional.
The rainbow signifies unity from diversity. It is holistic. The arch suggests the idea of looking at the over-arching concepts: the big picture. To create a rainbow requires air, fire (the sun) and water (raindrops) and us to see it from the earth.
Juice suggests an extract; hence rainbow juice is extracting the elements from the rainbow, translating them and making them accessible to us. Juice also refreshes us and here it symbolises our nutritional quest for understanding, compassion and enlightenment.

Monday 15 April 2013

Headband Game

Photo: Auberon (Creative Commons)
Community Development is often very close to Community Education in it’s objectives especially when it comes to helping communities to understand the influences and expectations placed upon them.  When we participate in groups – our family, a community organisation, our local neighbourhood, our nation or even at an international level we unconsciously (sometime consciously) assign roles to others in the group.  Here is a simulation game designed to help us explore and understand the dynamics of role expectations.  I first came across this game in the 1970s.

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.
  • HELPLESS.  Give me assistance.
  • FOOLISH.  Dismiss me.
  • BULLY.  Back down from me.
  • BOSS.  Obey me.
  • etc., etc.
The roles could be written for a specific setting.  For example, suppose you (the facilitator) are working with a group working with homeless people.  Then you might have: HOMELESS PERSON, ADMINISTRATOR, FUNDER, POLITICIAN, CLERGY, REPORTER etc., with appropriate brief explanations.

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?
Make sure that participants adequately debrief and do not take on the persona of the headband that they were assigned.


  1. If I can gather enough people interersted, this looks like a worthwhile exercise!

  2. This is a solid exercise! I definitely see this as a useful tool when teaching about poverty and how our personal viewpoints affect how we see others. Thanks muchly.

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