Popular education tools: Non-verbal team drawing

Non-verbal Team Drawing Exercise

Overview: This is a multi-step exercise that, when given enough time, can really help a group to understand what it means to steward a public good (like community radio.) This exercise is done in four main parts: 1) Brainstorming themes affecting the community – Community Map from Community Mapping Exercise is great, 2) A team drawing exercise (where participants cannot speak), 3) group interpretation of the drawings, 4) reflections from specific people and the larger group.

This exercise can be really great for creating shared understanding in a diverse group.

Time: 30-45 minutes

Goal:  To acknowledge the different cultural contexts and values community members bring, and to explore radio as a public good.

Supplies: Large paper and markers, regular paper for each participant,

Facilitator instructions:

Part 1: Brainstorm Themes Affecting Community

Use Community Mapping & Issues Confronting the Community Generated in that Exercise Or if you want to generate a quick list, you can ask, “what issues are important to the community?” Gather responses on a list. (Important: mentally note who said what. I.e. If Maria said education; keep that in mind, because you will come back to her later.)

Part 2: Team Drawing Exercise
Break the group up into partners. Once people have found their partners, pass out paper and colored markers (giving each partner a different color) and give the following instructions.

"I will assign you one of the themes listed, and you will have two minutes to draw a picture of the theme assigned to you, but you CANNOT talk."

Ask for questions. Then assign each group a theme that neither partner had suggested in the initial brainstorm.
Give group two minutes of team drawing.

Part 3: Group Reflection of Drawings – Issue Pictionary
Invite Group #1 to stand in front of the group and hold their picture up. They still cannot talk for this part.
Ask the other participants to describe what they see and to interpret the drawing. 

Part 4: Reflections From Specific People
Ask the person who had suggested the theme in the first place to comment on the picture and ask them if it represents the vision that they had had when they first suggested the theme.
Ask the two artists to comment on how they felt about the process. Specifically, what did it feel like to have to work in silence?  Were there non-verbal ways that they communicated? How did it feel?

Repeat this process with each team.

Whole Group Reflection:  What did people learn in this process?  How does this exercise relate to working with a community radio project? 

Closing:  It is very hard to surrender our own personal desires and trust others to have understand the complexities of our issues and interpret them in a way that is meaningful. This exercise is a great example of the hard collective work, negotiation, interpretation that takes place when working on a collective project. The radio station belongs to no one person. And people's values and understandings will come into question as we work together. This exercise reminds us of that process.

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