Summary

The experience begins with participants recognizing the impact of their personal choices and actions through a simple, iterated prisoner’s dilemma. Following the challenge, participants reflect on the strategies they used and understand that acting in their own short-term self-interest can lead to poor collective outcomes and can influence how others are likely to treat them over time. Participants are introduced to a scoring framework designed to help them better understand the impact of their choices and encourage them to work towards having a positive impact. Through a small-group task, they apply the framework to a series of everyday actions that occur across three spheres of citizenship (i.e., friends & family, my community, and the bigger world) and identify how the actions can be celebrated or improved. Through a team competition that involves the application of interpersonal and problem-solving skills, participants appreciate the different ways they can collaborate with others to amplify their personal impact within a group. They also increase their understanding of the benefits of integrating multiple perspectives to help generate creative solutions. Individually, participants create a vision of their ‘better self’ that can serve as a goal for their own personal journey. They reflect on their path towards their better self, identifying areas where their actions match their vision and areas where they can continue to improve. They share their vision and reflections with others and collaborate to identify ways they can all get closer to being their better selves.

Outcomes

  • Participants recognize that all their actions do have an impact at different levels across society.
  • Participants appreciate that their personal development as active citizens is an on-going process of becoming more aware of how their actions impact others and of what they can do to act in the long-term, collective interest.
  • Participants draw upon a wide range of interpersonal skills to effectively collaborate with others when working towards common goals

Activity Details

The Chorenament

Participants realize the impact of their personal choices and actions through a simple, iterated prisoner’s dilemma. They engage in a scenario-based challenge with another participant, adopting the roles of siblings who have a list of chores to complete together. The chores are to be done during their free time, however, each sibling would prefer to use that time doing something much more fun than chores. Their objective is to accumulate as much free time as possible and they must decide if they will complete the chore with their sibling and have some free time or leave their sibling to do the chore alone and end up with the maximum amount of free time for themselves.

Following the challenge, participants reflect on the strategies they used, the outcomes they achieved, and how they might have done better next time, including examining Tit-for-Tat, the most successful strategy in the two-party prisoner’s dilemma. They come to understand how acting in their own short-term self-interest can lead to poor collective outcomes and how their individual actions matter – how they play does not just determine their own outcome, it also determines the outcome of the collective and how others are likely to treat them over time.

What’s the Score?

Participants consider how their choices and actions have an impact on others. Through the concrete example of littering, participants are introduced to a simple scoring framework for personal accountability. Working in small groups, participants identify actions that have a positive, neutral and negative impact across the three spheres of citizenship (i.e., friends & family, my community, and the bigger world). Each group receives another group’s list of actions and is tasked with analyzing the impact of each action and identifying how the actions can be celebrated or improved.

Guess What?

Participants compete in a small team challenge to collaboratively identify everyday objects with each person only seeing one piece of the object. Each participant has access to one piece of evidence for one minute before returning to their group to discuss their findings and piece together a conclusion. The activity progresses over three rounds of increasing difficulty and participants are coached throughout on how to enhance their ability to positively contribute to their group’s success and to integrate different ideas. Participants appreciate the different ways they can collaborate with others and the benefits of integrating multiple perspectives to help generate creative solutions and amplify their impact.

Personal Path

Participants create a vision of their ‘better self’ that can serve as a goal for their own individual journey. They reflect on their path towards their better self, identifying areas where their actions match their vision and areas where they can continue to improve. They share their vision and reflections with others and collaborate to identify ways they can all get closer to being their better selves. Participants recognize and appreciate that their personal development as an active citizen is an on-going process.

I Resolve To

Participants reflect on what they have learnt and make a commitment for future action. Individually, they complete an appreciative inquiry reflection using a traffic light concept whereby they record an action they will continue doing (orange), an action they need to stop (red) and an action they will begin to do (green) so that in time it becomes a new green. Each participant is given an “I Resolve To…” card, to record their commitment. Participants are encouraged to share their I Resolve To with another person and to hold each other accountable. They take the cards away with them and are encouraged to keep them somewhere they can see daily so that it acts as a further incentive for them to take action.

Classroom Requirements

  • Venue: large open space with room for approx. 60 participants to move around and work in both small and large groups (ideally a gym, library, drama room etc.)
  • AV: data projector and large screen, microphone (cordless is ideal), speakers to play videos and music
  • Chair for each participant
  • Pen/pencil per participant
  • Minimum of two staff members for active observation
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Some images from our Better Self workshops