Identity Negotiation Fishbowl

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  • Create Date January 5, 2020
  • Last Updated January 6, 2020

Identity Negotiation Fishbowl

Created by

Manal Arar



This is an activity for enhancing students’ speaking skills and learning negotiation principles, which does not need a lot of time planning or preparation to implement in the classroom. The activity is good for small classes. Large classes can do it, but it would take time for all students, possibly making students bored and repeating the same ideas. To apply it, we need to students to form two groups representing roles from the short story Rules of the Game: one team to express the mother’s point of view and the second pair to express the point of view of the girl.


Learning Objectives

  • To encourage students expressing their opinion
  • To enhance negotiation of different perspectives among students
  • To improve students’ cooperative work
  • To implement debate discussion in the class
  • To teach the students to connect between concepts


Lead-in / Preparation

First, ask students to read Rules of the Game, by Amy Tan. Then lead a discussion in the class among the students, drawing student’s attention to the cultural issues and differences between the two nations and cultures (Chinese and American).

Next, set up the students in a circle. Finally, choose a couple of students to be

with mom’s opinion and two students against her as the girl. Ask them to engage in discussion.


Estimated Class-Time Required

This activity needs two lessons to apply. I prefer to implement it in the classroom when a teacher has two lessons in the schedule. This activity is good in cases where the teacher teaches between 15 to 20 students and can give each group of four students ten minutes. The first lesson is used to introduce the material and to draw students' attention to the case, then to give them the instructions, to divide them into pairs with or against the topic


Description of Activities

Write the title of the lesson on the board, and make a glossary of negotiation words and any new words that students are not familiar with.

Read the instructions aloud and make sure your students understand it well.

Divide the students into two teams: one with the motion and one against it.

Divide your students into groups of four students, with two pairs of different perspectives.

Seat the students in a circle and ask two pairs to sit down in front of each other.

Ask the first pair to advocate the mother’s perspectives and the second pair to advocate Amy’s perspectives.

Ask the students to act in front of the classroom. If one of the students needs help with the meaning of a word, or forgets something, students can ask the other students but he / she will lose points.

The next group will take the second negotiation role.


Key Vocabulary / Phrases

Motion, argue, advocate, for the motion, against it, agree with, partially agree, invisible strength, yanking, scolded



In order to have objective evaluation among students - to treat them the same, and to evaluate them according to shared criteria - we should use a rubric for evaluation. I recommend to use a rubric that considers how well students (a) define the problem or issue, (b) identify proposal motivation, (c) identify leverage strategies, and (d) communicate the proposal.

Following is the link of the rubric:

For homework, ask students to write a persuasive text, then to rewrite short dialogue between the mother and her daughter. Finally, students should draw a picture of Chinese or American food, characters or clothes or anything related to those cultures.



Interactive strategies give students ample room for cooperation, engagement, connection, pleasure, learning by doing (experiential learning), to acquire skills like speaking writing, understanding of the material, and listening in addition to thinking skills like critical thinking skills, and sub-skills. Students become active learners which leads to achieving the objectives of the activity.



In order to have more and more student engagement, make sure that the fish bowl negotiation activity takes less time for the second and other groups, and more time to the first one, to allow the students understand the point.



Rules of the Game, by Amy Tan

Negotiation Scoring Rubric

Attached Files

Identity Negotiation Fishbowl.pdfDownload