An opportunity for participants to work through how they would handle particular situations regarding gender, sexuality and LGBTQ issues.
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Materials

  • Scenario handouts for participants

Setup

  • Cut the scenarios up and have at least one for each small group

Facilitator Framing

  • Scenario are an opportunity for your group to practice putting some of the concepts and understandings they learned earlier in the workshop into practice.
  • We recommend coming up with 2-3 scenarios that you believe would most benefit your group to work through. This benefit might be determined by a scenario the group is most likely to encounter, the group is most likely to struggle with, or another criteria.
  • We’ve included the participant handout and facilitator guide for each scenario with suggested bullets for guidance.

Goals & objectives

  • To provide real world situations that participants may encounter in the future and for participants to think through and game plan the different ways to handle the situation
  • To empower participants to feel more comfortable applying the knowledge that they have gained during the course of the training in real-world situations
  • To provide a framework for participants to use when working through scenarios and when considering scenarios for multiple periods in time.

Process Steps

  1. Introduce the activity to the participants. For example, “Now that we’re nearing the end of our training, we are going to focus on some scenarios related to these concepts that you may encounter in your daily lives.”
  2. Split your participants up into small groups of 3 – 4.
  3. Provide each group with a scenario to work through. Let the groups know they’re going to have a few minutes to discuss solutions before sharing their thoughts with the larger group.
  4. If any group finishes remarkably quickly, use the scenario learning cycle to prompt additional questions (ex. “What could you do to prevent the scenario from happening? What might you do immediately afterward or following up later in the week after the scenario?”) to elicit further conversation.
  5. Bring the groups back together and review the scenarios.
  6. Ask an individual from each group to read out their scenario and then ask the whole group to discuss what they thought the best way to handle the scenario would be. Ask for feedback from the larger group, add your own, and then move onto the next group repeating the process.
  7. If the group is struggling to work through a scenario, particularly if they don’t understand the concern, them through these steps:

Group Work Stages:

  • Clarify the problem:  At this stage you really want to identify what the problem is and make sure everyone in the group agrees on what the issue is before moving to the next step.
  • Identify options: Have the group brainstorm a number of different options that are available to address the problem at hand.  These options may be more or less feasible but you don’t need to address that at this stage, just get the options out there.
  • Weigh outcomes: Now that you’ve identified options, talk through some of the options presented and what the possible outcomes of going that direction could be.  Weigh pros and cons.
  • Do it. Listen. Reassess:  Talk through implementing the decided upon direction with the group.  If it would be helpful talk about some possible future barriers/complications after taking that path and talk through those as well as possible scenarios.   

The instructions above provide some clarity for the facilitator on how to debrief scenarios with the group.  If the group’s answers are all focused on the “in the moment” response to the scenario prompt additional thoughts by using the scenarios learning cycle:  

During is “in the moment” that the scenario is taking place. After is immediately after where as follow-up maybe later in the day or a week or two later. Before is focusing in on how to prevent that moment from happening again.

Wrap-up

One of the key things that we want y’all to get out of this exercises relates to the “Platinum rule” (szp.guide/platinumrule). The idea behind the platinum rule is that while the golden rule (treat others as you would want to be treated) is a good start, it leads us to believe (and treat) people as we wanted to be treated and not necessarily how they want to be treated. In discussing these scenarios hopefully we’ve teased out a bit that there are often different ways to address an issue or a sticking point and that the most important thing in order to support someone is to find out how they want to be supported.  

Make it your own

You can do this activity a number of different ways. Here are a few:

Process the scenarios as one large group having an all-group discussion, rather than having people break into small groups (one scenario at a time).

Put a spectrum on a wall with three signs labeled “very confident”, “somewhat confident”, and “not at all confident”. Read out a scenario and ask people to place themselves on the spectrum of how confident they would be in handling this situation you just described. From here, you can have individuals from one of the groups (e.g., the “very confident”) share their thoughts, or you can split people into smaller groups — taking people from all parts of the spectrum and putting them together.

Cut up the scenarios sheet and hang different scenarios around the room. Ask people to stand by the one they would most like to answer or work through, then follow the same process steps above (make sure no group gets too big; it’s preferable to break a big group into two smaller ones, even if they’re working on the same scenario).

Unlock the Magic

The more relevant the scenario, the most powerful this activity. Some of the best scenarios present themselves earlier in the training in the form of a prescient, complicated question from a participant. If you get a question that sounds like a scenario (e.g., “What do you do when…?” or “My coworker/classmate said…?), write it down and tell the group you’ll cover it later, and use it as a scenario during this activity.

Notes

We provide scenarios on the next few pages as examples. However, we recommend limiting the total number of scenarios you provide your group to 2-3, and choosing the scenarios that are most likely to help your participants.

Submitted by

Hey there! I’m one of the co-creators of The Safe Zone Project. I’m a social justice facilitator and co-author of Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation. In addition to SZP I’ve had a hand in creating other free online resources, one focusing on facilitation and other on social justice education. I live in Seattle, WA where I admire mountains and constantly hunt for a good cup of tea.