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Adopting Different Perspectives by an Adapted Version of "Five Chairs"
In this adapted and simplified version of “Five Chairs,” students practice active listening and empathy.
- To actively listen
- To convey their insights regarding something from different points of view
- Role play different positions
- To observe in a critical and effective way
- Every student will have the chance to take part in the process
Lead-in / Preparation
- Five chairs, three pictures (Jackal, hedgehog, giraffe)
- Role-play scenario for two characters having a difficult conversation on a conflict.
- Three leading scenarios for three different perspectives approaching the same situation:
- Jackal Scenario: blaming and attacking others.
- Hedgehog Scenario: self-blaming.
- Giraffe Scenario: empathetic approach.
- Feedback list on how the activity affects their judgement
Estimated Class-Time Required
- 5 minutes for handing out situations to be role-played, and to explain the activity.
- 15 minutes: group work, practicing roles and preparing scenarios from different three points of views.
- 20 minutes: presentation. Each group presents its case by role-play it.
- 5 minutes: reflection. Filling the feedback sheet.
Description of Activities
Divide the students into groups of five. Give each group a case of difficult conversation. Two students are going to act it out. The other three students will play the intra-personal conversation of three different approaches:
The jackal (who blames and attacks the other person on everything, not taking any part of responsibility for the misunderstanding).
The hedgehog (who blames itself for the conflict and takes all the responsibility in a dramatic way).
The giraffe (the logical and empathetic sound that takes into consideration the motives and the drives, and digs for the good reason behind any bad conduct).
Presentation: First, the two students deliver their part of acting out the situation (encourage improvising). The other three students are seated each in a chair with a picture that identify their perspective with the animal picture that they represent.
After presentations, hand out the feedback sheet to be filled by the students, (how listening to these different approaches affects their judgement regarding difficult conversations and what conclusions they can draw.)
Key Vocabulary / Phrases
The thing as I can see it… / My point of view… / Regarding this… / approaching the conflict…/ as a matter of fact… / according to… / taking into consideration… / due to… / apart from that… / on one hand… on the other hand…/ however…/ nevertheless… / no matter what… / to be logical… / ……etc.
It can be a peer-assessment: each group gives part of the mark to the performing group according to a check list that the teacher hands out along with the scenarios, so that each group is aware how to perform and how it is going to be assessed.
Students fill a feedback sheet. It can be in numbers, how the activity affects their judgements and points of view on a scale 1-5. Or it can be filled using their own words, even in their mother tongue if that helps.
To make your students more familiar with what they have to do demonstrate what you want them to do in the class.
Remember, it is not a simple activity on the first time. Second time always works better, and the minute your students get familiar with what to do, they would love it and wait for it.