The Role of Values in Collaborative Discussion
Submitted by Jack Byrd Jr.
This activity encourages participants to reflect upon and identify their personal values and to explore the role that values play in group discussions.
Identify different kinds of values that are commonly embedded in a discussion.
Better understand how personal values can inform contributions in discussions.
Set Up: Prepare for the Activity
Organize participants into small groups (5-6 ppl).
Begin by introducing the learning goals of this activity.
Step One: Craft Three Individual Value Statements (10 min)
Offer a few minutes for each participant to quietly craft their own value statements.
Share the following prompts:
What values are most important to you as a person? For example, maybe it is self-sufficiency, environmental sustainability, or justice. Write down your top values.
Take your top three values and craft value statements. For example, “I value personal responsibility. I believe that I, alone, am responsible for my actions.”
Step Two: Share Value Statements (10 min)
Within small groups, ask participants to share their value statements with at least one other person. Discussion partners can ask questions about value statements but they should not make comments or share judgments. For example, discussion partners might ask:
Where does this value come from? Was it taught to you or did you learn it some other way?
Can you share with me a time when you acted on this value?
Step Three: Practice Listening for Values in Discussions (30 min)
Craft a discussion prompt that is relevant for your group, or select one from the list of What IF… Scenarios.
In small groups, encourage participants to engage in honest discussion for about ten minutes. Allow enough time for everyone in the group to respond to the prompt.
Ask each group to pause the discussion and take a step back. Instruct participants to not worry about who was most convincing. Instead, as a group, ask them to identify which values informed their opinions. Prompts:
Which values informed the perspectives of people in your group?
How might someone else, not present in your group, respond to the prompt? What values would be informing their opinion?
Step Four: Debrief as a Full Group (10 min)
How does shifting the focus on values change the way you engage with others in discussion?
Which values seem most common and which seem to be outliers or less common? What does this tell us about our group?
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 can be used to support facilitation skills. See Sample Facilitation Certificate Program Design to illustrate sample sequencing.
This activity is suitable for professional or more formal learning environments.
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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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