LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 16

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions in this book and this is Activity 16. The book is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, booklets and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 16 – Communication: I See, Do You See?

Purpose of activity

  • To understand how words can be used in different ways
  • To think about how our identity influences the way we see and understand

Life skills: Communication & interpersonal relationships, self-awareness, critical thinking

Important points
Each new message we receive is affected by who we are (our identity our beliefs and so on). This is why different people understand the same message differently. The children understand that when people see things in a different way from us, it does not mean that they are wrong. It is important to respect others people’s points of view.

Materials

  • Pictures of houses, fashionable teenagers, a soldier, a child sleeping on the pavement.

Steps

  1. Write up the following sentence for everyone to see. Juma wants to take me dancing
  2. Ask children to think of as many different ways of saying this sentence as possible:
    • stress different words
    • express different emotions e.g. sarcasm, excitement, no interest, surprise etc.
  3. Tell the story of Eshu the Confuser (this is a traditional story from Nigeria):

Eshu walked between two farmers. He was wearing green on his left side and red on his right side. So, one farmer saw he was wearing green and the other saw he was wearing red. After he passed, one farmer asked the other, ‘Did you see that man wearing green walk past?’ The other replied, ‘He was wearing red.’ They had a big argument about the issue until they nearly started fighting. Finally, they decided to continue working.

Then Eshu walked back between the farmers again. Because he was coming the other way, the farmer who saw green now saw red, and the one who saw red now saw green. After Eshu had passed, the first farmer said, ‘I’m sorry, you were right. He was wearing red.’ The other replied ‘No, you were right; he was wearing green.’ This time they had an even bigger argument because each farmer was convinced that he was right.

  1. Explain that each farmer was right, but he was looking from a different position. Each of us is different and that is why we all look at things differently.
  2. Divide children into groups of three and ask them to look at the pictures. For each picture discuss:
    • What each child sees
    • What each child feels about what they see
    • How other people might see it differently
  3. Groups present their ideas.

You can have a break here.

  1. Explain that we are going to be visited by a person from another culture. In this culture:
    • It is rude to answer questions by saying more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’
    • Therefore, it is also rude to ask questions to which the answer is not ‘yes’ or ‘no’
    • There is another rule that decides how the person will answer. It is the task of the children to find out what this rule is.
  2. Ask for a volunteer and explain to them outside the room that the rule is:
    • If the person asking the question is a boy, the answer is no.
    • If the person is a girl, the answer is yes.
  3. The volunteer returns. People ask as many questions as they like until they find out the rule.
  4. Repeat the game with a different volunteer. This time the rule could be that if the person asking the question is smiling, the answer is yes; if not the answer is no.

Final discussion:

  • How difficult was it to find out what the rule of the culture was? Was it frustrating?
  • If this had happened in real life, what problem might have occurred?
  • Can you think of any real examples of cultural misunderstandings?

When the children have given their examples, you can add some of these:

  • If you say thank you when someone offers you something, in some cultures this means yes while in other cultures it means no;
  • in some cultures, you kiss people when you meet them, even if they are strangers;
  • in some places, men hold hands as they walk down the street to show friendship, in others it is a sign of sexual orientation;
  • in some cultures, to nod the head means to disagree and in others it means to agree!
  • What can we learn from this game about how we react to people from different cultures? (Make sure the children understand the importance of respecting different ways of behaving and different beliefs.)

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