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The Protagonist and Antagonist Meet at a Bar
Ella Ben Emanuel
Students explore key scenes in texts by recreating encounters between the main characters and looking at different viewpoints. Students learn and implement key concepts of conflict negotiation in simulating these encounters.
Students learn skills of active and empathetic listening, reframing, problem solving and exploring other viewpoints (without necessarily changing their position).
Students will review, reflect upon text learned, and explore the in depth motivations of characters within a text and the nature of the character conflicts in the text learned.
Lead-in / Preparation
- Students need to have read and understood the key scenes in the text that are to be discussed, if not the text in its entirety
- If students are diplomacy major students, they will already be familiar with the concepts of active listening.
- Those who are new to these ideas will need a pre-lesson where they learn a simplified version of concepts learned in the pathways institute seminar. This includes concepts of
- inquiry and curiosity
- empathy and reframing
- acknowledging and advocating
- problem solving.
Students can practice their newly acquired skills simulating simple everyday concepts. Teacher can give scenario that students can role play in pairs-example: student vs. parent/teacher and conflicts with friends.
Estimated Class-Time Required
3 x 45 minute lessons minimum.
- Teaching skills preparatory lesson- 45 mins
- Pre-dialogue worksheet - 30 mins
- Preparing dialogue in pairs - 20 mins
- Performance and fishbowl activity - 20 mins
- Debriefing and feedback- 10 mins
Description of Activities
The activity is conducted in the following way:
- Teacher makes sure that students are familiar with the events and themes of the text being taught.
- Teacher makes sure that students have internalized concepts of how to conduct a difficult dialogue. If necessary, phrases are available to students in the form of laminated cards.
- Class is divided into two groups - antagonists and protagonists (of the text being learned)
- In pairs, students fill in an encounter preparation card and consider questions they need to ask their counterpart, and possible reactions to questions they will ask.
- Students conduct/perform the dialogue in pairs while the class observes. For classes of 20 kids and more, 2 fishbowl dialogues are conducted simultaneously. When the dialogue reaches a stopping point, the students switch (antagonists switch with antagonists and protagonists switch with protagonists). Students who are observing have to complete observation cards on at least 2 students who have participated in the dialogue. Filling in observation cards is part of their final grade.
- Debriefing. Students sit in their circles and discuss the following: How did the activity go? What new insights did students gain of the text? How could the activity have gone better?
- Reflection. Students write a short reflection of up to 100-120 words on the following for homework: ‘Has my opinion on the characters changed as a result of this simulation? How will the tools I have learned help me in my everyday life?’
- The ideal outcome of my meeting with X would be……………………..
- What is my main concern?...................................
- What do I think the main concern of my partner is?...............................
- What information do I need in order to get the best outcome?.....................
- What information does the antagonist/protagonist need to get the best outcome…………?
- What is the driving force of the protagonist/ antagonist?.........................
- What is my driving force?........................
- Who are my allies and how could they help me?............................
- Who are the allies of the protagonist/antagonist and how could they help him?.......................
- Do I have any other concerns? Explain……………………………………………..
Observation cards for fishbowl activity
Name of person I am observing: ____________________________
Asks open ended questions
Asks leading questions
Shows signs of not listening
Key Vocabulary / Phrases
Students will need to learn phrases that are helpful during difficult dialogues. Depending on the level of the students they will need dialogue cues such as those in the phrases below (teacher can cut out and distribute):
|‘I’d like to learn a little bit more about…’ (clarifying)
|‘I’m curious as to how you…..’ (clarifying)
|‘Could you please clarify something for me…’
|‘Could you explain why…..’ (clarifying)
|“There’s one thing you said that I didn’t quite understand…when you said “XX”, what did you mean?”
|‘I understand that you must be feeling ……’(empathizing)
|‘I sense a lot of (emotion) here’ (empathizing)
|‘If I could just summarize; It seems to me that….’ (Summarizing)
|‘From the way/how I see it,.....’ (summarizing/reframing)
|‘How can we move forward with this?’ (problem solving)
A grade can be given according to a comprehensive rubric created according to the following criteria:
- Student has used the skills learned
- Students has reflected an understanding of the text in the dialogue
- Student has appropriately used vocabulary of negotiation.
- Student has used active listening skills.
- Fluency in speaking
This type of activity involves teaching students to conduct dialogue in a way which is different from what they are used to. Giving them time to practice using the skills they have learned in important, along with practicing patience. The emphasis on the language teacher should be more on the effective implementation of tools learned, alongside a process of reflection on the characters studied, rather than accuracy in language.
|The Protogonist and Antagonist Meet at a Bar.pdf