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.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

What is...?

Remember the child-hood game of saying the first thing that comes into mind in response to a word
provided by someone else?  Well, here is a technique that utilises that idea and takes it a bit further.  It can be used as an ice-breaker or an introduction game.  It can be used to tease out meanings and nuances of concepts and notions, or it can be used to explore some of our deeper beliefs and views.  I’ll outline the technique and then provide some examples for different settings.

Technique

Group members pair off with one of the pair designated A the other B.  Person A is the questioner, person B the responder.  Person A asks person B a question.  Person B responds with the first thing that comes to mind, in just a word or a few.  Person B is not answering with a whole story.  The response is simply the first brief thought or feeling that comes, without any restriction.  Person A then says “thank you” and proceeds to ask exactly the same question again.  Person B responds again with the first thing that comes to mind, again not elaborating or judging.  This proceeds for 2 or 3 minutes with Person A saying thank you and repeating the question.  If at any stage Person B does not respond immediately then both members of the pair should just sit in silence until a response from Person B does arise.  Person A offers no comment or appraisal at any stage in this interaction, although often some sort of empathetic response (a smile, a laugh, a nod) may naturally arise.

After the end of the 2 or 3 minutes, each member thanks the other and then the procedure is repeated, with Person B this time being the questioner and Person A the responder.

There may be a series of questions that are used in this technique, in which case allow a minute or twos reflection before moving to the next in the series.

Icebreaker or Introduction Examples

Some examples of questions for icebreaker or introductory games may be:
  • What is here?
  • What is funny?
  • What is a cat (dog, bird or some other animal)?
Concepts and Notions Examples

Some examples of questions to ask to tease out some of the concepts or notions amongst the group may include:
  • What is community?
  • What is fair?
  • What is equity?
  • What is justice?
  • What is power?
  • What is development?
Beliefs and Views Examples

When it comes to exploring some of our beliefs and views we start to go a bit deeper, so it is important that a level of trust has been built up in the group before asking these questions.
  • What is fear?
  • What is love?  (Often it can be useful to follow the question on fear with this one on love)
  • What is spirit?  What is soul? may elicit different responses.  Find out.
  • Who are you?  This last question can go deep within one’s sense of who they are, especially after the first few “surface” responses (e.g. “I am a man,” “I am a woman,” have been said.)
Following the series of questions return to the larger group and ask for reflections, insights, comments.  Did anyone discover something about themselves that they had not been aware of previously?  Did anyone gain an insight useful for the group as a whole to know about?

As you work with this technique you will discover questions that are useful in the group you are working with.  When using the technique to explore beliefs and views it can be useful to ask the participants to spend a minute or two in silence before the questions start.  This allows both members of the pair to become present to whatever may arise for them.  Following the responses from Person B to Person A’s questions it is worth spending another minute or two in silence, to allow for the responses to settle before the pair switch roles.

Remember to advise the questioner in each case to thank the other person before they repeat the question. 


Simple but very effective.

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