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The Village

The Village

Props/Prep: No
Time: 20-30 min
Audience: Any
Physical: Yes

This game should be played with at least 10 or more participants. This group game requires participants to communicate using alternative methods of communication, to be creative, and to problem solve. The goal of this game is to have all participants experience another person’s culture. It encourages a tremendous amount of innovation!

Time Requirements: 20-30 minutes

Materials needed: None

Procedure: Divide your participants into ‘villages’. There should be no more then 8-10 people in each village. If you have a small group, make 2 villages, a larger group of students may have 4 or 5 villages. Once all students are arranged in their village area of the room, give instructions. 

Villagers are to come up with the following ‘significant village cultural traditions’; a greeting, a farewell, an action, a behaviour, and a valued object. Villagers must develop a language known only in their village (they may not borrow from actual foreign languages). Once each village has developed the 5 required criteria; tell the villagers that they must now go find someone else from another village and teach them the unique greeting, farewell, action, behaviour, and valued object. They must also learn the same ‘village skills’ from one other villager from another village. They must do this using only the language skills specific to their village (no actual language). They can communicate verbally or non-verbally to reach a common understanding across their ‘cultures’.

Debriefing: Once the villagers have had time to interact, have everyone go back to their own village and sit in a circle. Give them 3-4 minutes to try and figure out the different village words and actions for each of the other villages. Then have each village describe one other village’s words and actions. Each village can correctly indentify their words and actions as the debriefing continues.

Once this is over, have each village discuss what factors hindered or facilitated the process of learning about other villages, and what applications this may have to student life at Humber. Debrief back to entire room. 

Function in Class: A powerful way to discuss (experience) different cultures! This can be used at the beginning of a class time when you wish to explore the complexities of cultural differences. It is also applicable to exploration of the differences in beliefs, philosophies, etc. It is a powerful and sometimes frustrating live experience in the limitations of cultural difference. It can also be used to demonstrate the negative aspects of assumption (when there is little common language in use).

  • For those students in the cultural majority, this experience may be a bit of a shock.
  • For those students who are immigrants or in the cultural minority, it will resonate as a potential reality they have had in North America.