Understanding Your Identity in Collaboration
Submitted by Shannon Wheatley Hartman
There are different ways of thinking about identity ranging from personal to social or perceived to ascribed. This activity encourages participants to reflect on the type of person or identity they bring (or would like to bring) to a discussion.
Recognize that all discussion participants bring and withhold parts of their identity.
Be more intentional about the identities we put forward (or hold back) in group discussion.
Set Up: Prepare for the Activity
Organize the participants into pairs or small groups (5-6 ppl).
Begin by introducing the learning goals of this activity.
Step One: Individually Design Identity Capsules (10 min)
Share the following prompt with participants:
Imagine that you have the opportunity to live on another planet with an alien population. The interview process requires that you pack 5 items into a capsule that best represent you as a person. You decide which 5 aspects of your identity are most important and how you might represent them as objects in the capsule. Write down your answers, being mindful that you will share this information in pairs or small groups. Do not write down something that you are uncomfortable sharing.
Step Two: Share Capsules (20 min)
In pairs or small groups, invite participants to share their capsule items. Discuss these prompts:
Why did you include this item? What part of your identity does it represent?
How might this part of your identity show up (or not show up) in larger group discussions?
When are these identity traits most present and when are they invisible or held back in reserve
Step Three: Debrief as a Full Group (20 min)
Reconvene as a large group and ask participants to take inventory of their identity capsule contents. Prompts:
What sort of items were in your identity capsules? Any similarities? Anything that stood out? Anything in possible tension?
How do we know which parts of our identity we want to put forth in a collaborative discussion with others? Can we be intentional about this?
Which parts of our identity do we hold back? What is the cost of holding back parts of ourselves? Under what circumstances do we feel safe to put forth a more authentic or whole self?
Introduction to Collaborative Discussion
This activity can be completed by any discussion group.
This activity can be used to build trust and interpersonal connection.
This activity is focused on developing or supporting listening skills. See Sample Listening Certificate Program Design to illustrate sample sequencing.
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October 3, 2023 at 5:00:05 PM
Have done this in the past, but today a group really blew me away. I did this as a Fishbowl with 7 students taking roles. Prior to the converstaion they could seek input from a few other students about what which decision they think the person in their role would support and why. I also asked them to come up with some things that were concerns for them. This 10 minute of prep time helped my role play participants really embody and feel confident in their roles. Great discussion about what deliberation looks like in practice and about how power can impact conversations and how a facilitator can try and minimize these power imbalances. I used the scenario above and assigned these roles (I was not sure my students woul be able to consider roles that would offer different perspectives): • Facilitator (non-voting) • Mayor • High school teacher • 17-year-old high school student • Transportation planner for the region • Local business owner • Economic development office for the region (your community and the surrounding communities served by the train) • 50-year-old who lost his job last year and who has been on unemployment
September 20, 2023 at 5:18:02 AM
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