Marco Polo Handbook

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MARCO P O L O MARCO PROJECT P O L O PROJECT

A recipe book of activities for cross-cultural facilitators.

a recipe book of activities for cross-cultural facilitators


MARCO P O L O PROJECT What is the Marco Polo Project Handbook? This manual offers a set of activities for teachers, facilitators, community leaders and event organisers working with groups of people from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The world we live in is more connected than ever before, as people move across the globe as tourists, expats, refugees, economic migrants or international students. As a result, cultural and linguistic diversity has become the norm in the workplace, at forums and conferences, in schools and universities, in local communities, and even families. However, systems and expectations have not yet caught up, and many people will experience this diversity not as an opportunity for mutual support or joyful discovery, but as a problem to deal with. Unfortunately, the result is often mistrust, fear, isolation, conflict, or broken communities. Inspired by the rich multicultural fabric of Melbourne, Marco Polo Project exists in order to prevent this descent into chaos. We do this by designing programs and activities that can equip participants with the skills and mindsets to thrive in today’s increasingly diverse environment and support environments cultural and linguistic diversity i as a source of happiness and opportunity. This manual presents a set of activities that Marco Polo Project has developed and tested over our seven years of existence. Some were originally created within our organization, others were adapted from other sources (all acknowledged in the manual). These activities form the basis of our two main impact programs – Design for Diversity, for international students in senior high school, and Out of the Box, for international students at university. They can also be run independently or in combination, and are designed to support better cross-cultural team-building, peer-learning and networking events. This manual is published under a creative commons license. You are free to copy and distribute the text, as well as develop derivative versions, and run all activities described here, as long as you give credits to Marco Polo Project. If you would like support to develop a customized program, or develop a partnership to design new types of activity, you can contact us at info@marcopoloproject. This manual was developed with support from the Victorian Multicultural Commission.


The five c’s Marco Polo Project’s activities are designed so that culturally and linguistically diverse environments will trigger happiness instead of fear, both in participants and among other people sharing those environments. For this, all our activities nurture what we call ‘the 5 C’s’: Curiosity, Competence, Confidence, Culture and Community. Culturally and linguistically diverse environments offer endless new situations, and a great source of joy for the curious. However, differences in language or culture often limit our capacity to make sense of unexpected statements or behaviors – and leave curious people either overwhelmed or frustrated. Our activities therefore train curiosity both as a skill and a mindset: we stimulate appetite for new experiences, and we nurture the capacity to observe, interpret and derive knowledge from new situations. Thriving in diverse environments largely depends on our ability to speak and behave adequately in ambiguous and unfamiliar contexts – which is what we understand by competence. Our activities are designed to help participants develop self-awareness – therefore reducing perceived and actual risk of social blunder or offence – and to develop lateral strategies to better apply all their linguistic and cultural skills in chaotic real-world settings. When interacting across cultures or languages, it is often difficult to know whether a statement or behaviour is OK or not. At best, the result is excessive caution and wasted opportunities. At worst, it is a breakdown of relationships, where both parties believe that the other is out to get them. Our activities therefore aim to develop greater confidence both in participants’ own capacity to deal with the unknown, and their capacity to gain trust and support from others. Each of us holds a set of norms, values, knowledge and skills, inherited or acquired, and shared with others: they form our culture, and hold together groups and communities. Culture, however, is neither static nor exactly similar among all the members of a nation, profession or even family: it varies based on age, experience, and under the influence of the other cultures that an individual is exposed to and chooses to embrace. Our activities encourage participants to develop a reflective relationship to their own traditions and those of others in order to better navigate the world around them and enrich the various cultures that they belong to. Isolation is a danger for migrants. The people with whom, by birth, they share language, values, narratives and a sense of emotional connection, are typically far away. However, developing a new community with people of different background can open endless creative possibilities. To support this, our activities aim to create a sense of intimacy among participants, offering them a positive experience of shared belonging in an unfamiliar setting, and helping them acquire the skills that will help them become the champions and hosts of new communities around them.


cONTENT Opening Activities Five-finger warm up Who are you?

Cultural Awareness Activities 2 3

Sorting Activities Distance line up Four types of leadership Body-dynamic preference Four corner competency Four season (Qi Gong)

5 6 8 9 10

Map your childhood neighbourhood Map your surroundings Map your belongings What is a conversation? The origin of values Reframing values Sensory connection Comfort zone Reflecting on seasons

27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 36

Exploration Activities Expression Activities Impeded story-telling What’s the moral of this Safe public speaking Caption competition 5-minute editing

12 13 14 15 16

Awareness & Listening Activities Three modes of listening The art of asking questions Personal space testing Body movement awareness during conversation Unexpected body language

18 19 20

38 39 40 41

Reflective Activities A note on debrief sessions Four-corner paper feedback Three stars and a wish What did you learn / love / hate Physical resolution Reflective circle

43 44 45 46 47 48

Acknowledgements

49

21 22

Coordination Activities Collaborative Translation 5-minute Translation

Supermarket safari Local selfies Food testing Wild safari

24 25


Activities to “break the ice” in a group and prepare participants for learning.

OPENING ACTIVITIES

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Five-finger Warm Up Short description: In pairs, participants answer a series of five questions related to the topic of the day. Before each question, participants are asked to lift one finger and make pairs. The pair will then take turns answering the questions corresponding to that finger. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership

WHAT? Duration: 15 minutes + 5 minutes of reflection Participants: 10+ Layout: Open room – participants stand up Activity breakdown Participants lift 5 fingers in turn: • Little finger – question related to ‘the last time I…’ • Ring finger – question related to ‘my favourite…’ • Middle finger – question related to ‘something that angers me…’ • Index finger – question related to ‘hopes/goals …’ • Thumb – question related to ‘one thing I am really good at’ Facilitator concludes with an open question to participants: “What did you notice during this activity?” Ask 3 people. You can also share what you noticed – including various ways that people walk and move.

FACILITATION TIPS Give participants no more than 2 minutes per “finger” – be strict with timing. Participants giggle at lifting the middle finger – you can invite them to lift their whole hand and think about their middle finger. When it comes to the index finger, you can invite them to point to somebody across the room and walk to that person (to break up groups and better ‘churn’ the group). 2

WHY? Design need At the beginning of a new workshop, • participants need a transition from their everyday mode to learning mode • participants are isolated Purpose • Create a sense of interconnectedness in the group • Help participants get in to a learning headspace Key takeaway • Participants are ready to learn • Participants are ready to connect at a deeper level After the activity, participants will feel: • Heard • Connected • Empowered • Free • Excited After the activity, participants are aware • They can learn • The group is diverse Through the activity, participants learn • Other people share the same challenges • People react differently to similar directions (e.g. when asked to form pairs with ‘the same finger’, some spend a long time looking, others just jump into the question; some form groups of 3 or 4 and don’t move, others are exploratory) Group outcome • Participants become aware that the group is diverse • The group is connected - participants have spoken with at least five other people in the room


Who Are You? Short description: Participants answer two successive questions about ‘who they are’ as a way to appreciate the various ways that their identity can be expressed in a group. Inspired by: Switch-On WHAT? Duration: 15 minutes + 5 minutes of reflection Participants: 4+ Layout: Open room – participants stand up Activity breakdown Round 1: Facilitator asks participants one of the following questions, and invites them to think for 30 seconds: • “Who are you: where do you work or study; what is your role?” Facilitator asks participants to form pairs and introduce themselves in turn. 1 minute for each person. Facilitator then invites participants to introduce the person they just heard from to the whole group. Round 2: Facilitator asks participants a question (such as the example given below), and invites them to think about it for 30 seconds: • “Who are you: what’s your cultural and family background?” Facilitator asks participants to form pairs and respond to this question. 1 minute for each person. Facilitator invites participants to share the other person’s response to the whole group.

FACILITATION TIPS Be strict with time keeping: 30 seconds to think, 2 minutes for introductions. If there are more than 10 participants, rather than introductions to the whole group, invite pairs to come together, and conduct introductions in groups of four. Debrief questions: What did you want to hear / be heard? Was that heard? When the person repeated back what you said, was that faithful? Were you surprised by what they said when describing you?

WHY? Design need • Participants feel a need to learn who else is in the room • Participants have a desire to introduce themselves to others • Participants spontaneously understand ‘who are you’ in different ways – such as personal and professional identities Purpose • Allow participants to introduce themselves and learn who else is in the room • Open a reflection on the different ways that we think about identities Key takeaway • Participants are reassured and excited to know who else is in the room • Participants feel that people know who they are • Participants are ready to think about identity in different ways After the activity, participants will feel: • Seen, heard, connected, interested, curious After the activity, participants are aware • that everyone in the room has multiple identities • that there are multiple ways they can connect with others Through the activity, participants learn • that other people will interpret the way they introduce themselves differently • that it is possible to present themselves and interact with each other on multiple levels, based on different types of shared experience and identity Group outcome • Participants become aware that the group is diverse • The group is connected -Participants have introduced each other, and heard about each other 3


Activities to reveal the diversity in a group, and help participants to use non-judgmental and nonhierarchical language to describe their experience.

SORTING ACTIVITIES

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Distance Line Up Short description: Participants form two lines. The first line is based on distance they travelled that morning to get to the workshop. The second line is based on the distance between their place of birth and the place of the workshop. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership WHY? WHAT? Duration 5-10 minutes Participants 5+ Layout Open room – participants move around Activity breakdown Invite participants to make a line based on how far they travelled on the day to come to the workshop. Share this with the group. Then, invite participants to form a line or curve on the basis of the place they were born – the closest on the right, the farthest on the left. Let them sort out details. Ask people to share this with the group.

Design need • Participants are not aware of the ways that geography and culture intertwine • Participants are isolated Purpose • Prompt a personal reflection on the correlation between cultural difference and geographic location • Create new connections between participants on the basis of geography Key takeaway • Participants appreciate the journey from their place of birth to the place they are now • Participants are connected to others on the basis of geography • Participants appreciate the diversity of the group After the activity, participants will feel: • Heard, affirmed, connected

FACILITATION TIPS • Let participants sort out distance themselves – hurry them up when necessary • Invite participants to exchange with the person next to them • Depending on the group, ask them to find ‘articulations’ in the line – or describe them (e.g. same city, same country, same continent…) • Ask reflective questions – what did they learn from this activity?

After the activity, participants are aware • Of their own change over time • Of the diversity in the group • Of the fact that everybody is mobile, and carries cultures from other places Through the activity, participants learn • Where other participants are from Group outcome • The group is better structured, participants see and hear about each other

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Four Types of Leadership Short description: Participants are introduced to four types of leader figures - warrior, architect, healer, chief - and invited to identify which they most or least align with. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership

FOUR TYPES OF LEADERS

There are various ways to embody leadership. The table below describes four archetypes that represent various forms of being a leader. We tend to naturally gravitate towards one or two – though all great leaders are able to take on many of those roles, depending on what the circumstances demand. None is better than the other, all have strengths and weaknesses - and more importantly, great teams thrive when those various archetypes are present and working well together.

THE CHIEF

• Considers all aspects of a problem • Provides resources and builds relationships • Gives the group direction and a sense of purpose

THE WARRIOR

• Takes initiative without fear • Starts before they clearly know the plan • Brings energy and dynamism to the group

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THE HEALER

• Understands emotions and makes everyone feel connected and good • Mediates and resolves conflicts • Brings a group together and creates harmony

THE ARCHITECT

• Pays attention to details • Is practical and risk-aware • Plans and develop systems for the group


Four Types of Leadership (Continued)

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 20 minutes

Design need • Participants tend to think about skills hierarchically, rather than as complementary • Participants lack a neutral way to describe their favourite position in a group

Participants 4-50 Layout Open room – possibility to move to ‘four corners’ Supporting material Powerpoint or papers describing the four leadership figures, with an image and a diagram Activity breakdown Participants are introduced to 4 types of leadership – warrior (triangle), architect (square), healer (circle), chief (star). They are invited to move to the corner they feel they most belong to – and discuss with others: a) what this figure brings (then share with group) b) the shortcomings of that figure (then share with group).

FACILITATION TIPS • Insist that there is no hierarchy between those four, but all four are required for a group to succeed, and a good leader can be all four – but typically has a preference • If done at the beginning of a set of activities, this can be referred back to in case of tensions • Participants can, alternatively, be invited to rank these four, from the one that they find easiest to the one they find least natural

Purpose • To help participants identify their strengths and preferred attitude in a group in a neutral manner • To create a joint, non-judgmental language to negotiate emerging tensions in group activities Key takeaway • Participants are able to describe their own position and role in a group in a complementary manner After the activity, participants will feel: • Heard, seen, connected, affirmed After the activity, participants are aware • Of their own preferences and those of others • That not everyone has the same preference • That complementarity is required for good team work Through the activity, participants learn • About four core dimensions of leadership Group outcome • Participants become aware that the group is diverse

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Body-dynamic Preference Short description: In a circle, participants balance their arms and look for their centre of gravity. They rock backwards, forward and laterally, and identify the most comfortable direction. They form groups based on preferences, and reflect on their meaning. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration: 10-15 minutes

Design need • People have difficulties describing their dynamic preference in a nonjudgmental manner • People are ‘in their heads’ during a workshop

Participants: 3-30 Layout: Participants form a circle Activity breakdown • The facilitator gently starts swinging both arms in parallel, forward and backward, keeping arms straight, up to about 20 degrees, and invites participants to join • Participants do this without moving, and try to feel their own weight and identify their centre of gravity, in order to be maximally centered and solidly anchored on the floor. • After about a minute, when everybody in the circle feels centered, the facilitator, without moving their feet and while still gently rocking their arms back and forth, starts moving the top of their body by shifting their centre of gravity - first forward, then backward, then sideways. As they do so, they are invited to identify which direction is most comfortable. Participants group on the basis of preference, and are invited to discuss: a) what do ‘forward’ / ‘backward’ / ‘lateral’ / ‘centred’ people bring to a team b) what is the shortcoming?

FACILITATION TIPS • People can be uncomfortable – smile and reassure them – a slightly goofy approach can work • Observe the way various people move their body differently, and notice in a non-judgmental (but possibly comic) manner • A possible add-on would be to invite people to discuss what cultural stereotypes they associate with their preference OR what elements of their culture it most resonates with (family, ‘culture’, education, etc)

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Purpose • Reveal differences in character / preferences as expressed by the body • Form connections across a group on a non-verbal basis • Connect participants to their body Key takeaway • Participants appreciate their own possibility to contribute to a group • Participants acquire a neutral language to talk about various roles and preferences After the activity, participants will feel: • Embodied, sharp, active, connected After the activity, participants are aware • They have a ‘dynamic preference’ • Their bodies can reveal things about them • Preferences may not be ‘cultural’ Through the activity, participants learn • About themselves and others Group outcome • The group is exposed as diverse (Participants become aware that the group is diverse)


Four Corner Competency Short description: Participants form groups in four corners of the room based on their best/worst competency in their first / second language (reading, speaking, listening, reading). Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership WHY?

WHAT? Duration 20 minutes Participants 8+ Layout A room with four corners Activity breakdown • Round 1: Participants are invited to go to one of four corners depending on their main competency in their second language: reading, listening, speaking, writing. They discuss with others in their corner. • Round 2: they go to a corner based on their weakest competency in their second language. • Round 3: they go to a corner with their strongest competency in their first language. Debrief in corners, then general debrief (see page 43 for more information on how to run a debrief session).

FACILITATION TIPS • Can do 1 to 4 rounds (weakest / strongest competence in first / second language) • Can do an extra round: who had the same weakest / strongest in first / second language; who had a different one. Reflect on what it means.

Design need • People don’t realise the connection between competency in their first and second language • People don’t have a neutral / positive model to think about their strengths and weaknesses as language learners Purpose • Makes participants aware of continuities / distinctions between first and second language competence • Gives participants a model and language (‘4 competencies’) to identify their strengths and weaknesses Key takeaway • Participants are aware of preferred language-related activity • Participants connect their first and second language competencies • Participants articulate the way that the systems educating them impacted the way they learnt a language After the activity, participants will feel: • Confident, self-efficient After the activity, participants are aware • Of their language preference • That other people have different preferences Through the activity, participants learn • How to describe their skills and strength in language learning Group outcome • Participants become aware that the group is diverse • Participants connect with others who share competencies 9


Four Season (Qi Gong) Short description: Participants go through a Qi Gong activity connected to the four seasons, and identify which they are most / least comfortable in. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership / Andra Perrin

WHAT? Duration 10-15 minutes Participants 2-50 Layout Participants stand in a circle Activity breakdown Participants form a circle. The facilitator starts by swinging their arms and invites participants to follow. In turn, the facilitator adopts four positions and describes them: • hands up, on both side of the body – spring, the beginning, when things rise up • hands over the head, fingers towards the inside – summer – when everything is there at the same time, maximal energy • hand in front of the chest, palm facing inwards, fingers open – autumn, when it is about disintguishing what is inside and outside • hands on either side of the hips, palm down – winter, when it is about letting go and finding the essential

FACILITATION TIPS • Notice and underline how various people do different things for different positions – celebrate this difference (there is no ‘right way’ of doing it) • Observe discomforts or joys – in body and face – among different participants for different seasons and gestures • Open a time to reflect on the connection between creative and natural cycles

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WHY? Design need • People experience creativity as a mysterious thing that they can or cannot do, rather than distinguishing various phases in a creative process • Participants are isolated Purpose • Help participants understand the various phases of a creative process • Help participants identify their strength • Help participants think of each other as complementary Key takeaway • It is possible to divide the creative process into four phases • Various people are better connected to various phases of the creative process • Our bodies can tell us things about our preferences • Participants develop a joint language to talk about the creative process After the activity, participants will feel: • Embodied, connected After the activity, participants are aware • that they are more comfortable in certain phases of a creative process • that others are more comfortable in different phases • that the creative process is not one big thing, but has phases Through the activity, participants learn • that we can break the creative process in four stages • connect creative process & natural cycles Group outcome • Participants learn that the group is diverse and complementary


Activities to create a space for participants to share a personal story and / or increase their capacity to share their perspectives and points of views with others.

EXPRESSION ACTIVITIES

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Impeded Story-telling Short description: Participants are invited to tell a story whilst putting on “false teeth lollies” or or another small lolly in their mouth. Inspired by: Peer-lab

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 15-30 minutes

Design need • Participants are afraid to be emotionally / socially vulnerable in public

Participants 2-10 Layout Circle of people standing Supporting material “False teeth lollies”, regular lollies Activity breakdown Participants, in turn, share a short story about their week or work, putting on something that alters their face and speech. Then, facilitators lead a debrief about the experience (see page 43 for more information on how to run a debrief session).

Purpose • Overcome the fear of public speaking by bringing a visible obstacle Key takeaway • Participants can overcome shyness and share a personal story • Participants move from ‘being laughed at’ to ‘laughing with’ After the activity, participants will feel: • Confident, amused After the activity, participants are aware • That they can actually speak publically Through the activity, participants learn • To share stories

FACILITATION TIPS • This can be very liberating for shy people – celebrate this • It is comic – encourage laughter (with, not ‘at’)

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Group outcome • By embracing comedy through a ridiculous prop, and showing themselves in a ridiculous way, participants become closer as a group.


What’s the Moral of This Short description: In a small group, participants share a story about something that happened to them in the past week, and explore the cultural values implicit in the story. Inspired by: MPP WHY? WHAT? Duration 1-2 hours Participants 3-16 Layout In a circle Activity breakdown Participants are, in turn, invited to share a story about something that happened to them during the week. After the stories, others comment the implicit judgements contained in the story.

FACILITATION TIPS • Participants will feel vulnerable – create a sense of shared trust and vulnerability. • Don’t have judgement, but interesting noticeables, when debriefing the morale • Insist on stories from a real event rather than made up • Insist on the fact that it is remarkable for others to figure out what people notice

Design need • Participants don’t know how to talk about their personal experience in a way that builds connection • Participants are unaware of the implicit moral judgements in their stories Purpose • To create a space for exploring moral implicits, as they relate to what we observe and how we frame events • To create an awareness of the types of stories that people notice and choose to comment on • To develop story-telling skills Key takeaway • Participants notice different things depending on our background and interests • That sharing stories creates a sense of intimacy • That stories contain an implicit morality After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected, trustful After the activity, participants are aware • Of their own storytelling preferences • That various people have different ways of judging the world Through the activity, participants learn • How to tell stories more convincingly • To generate stories from every day events Group outcome • The group is connected and trusting

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Safe Public Speaking Short description: Participants prepare an oral rendering of a text in their second language and receive feedback on how they came across. Inspired by: MPP / Translation Club

WHAT? Duration 1 hour Participants 4+ (of different languages) Layout Small tables & one stage (area to perform their speech) Supporting material Participants receive two texts (in English and the other language) in advance Activity breakdown • First, participants read the text in their second language, and can consult with native speakers. • Second, they stand up and recite the text. At tables, people note what they see, hear and feel on paper. Debrief at tables about the performance – and feedback on key elements to note. Each person performs in turn. See page 43 for more information on how to run a debrief session.

FACILITATION TIPS • This requires vulnerability, therefore, create a sense of trust • Choose culturally significant but not too hard and short texts • The focus needs to be not on ‘judging’ whether the performance was ‘good’ or ‘bad’, nor how to ‘improve’ it – but discussing how it came across, and whether this connected with the intention

WHY? Design need • Participants struggle to speak in their foreign language – part of it is cognitive (what to say), part of it is performative (how to say it) • Participants don’t know how variations in accent, body language, etc, come across to foreigners Purpose • To create a non-judgmental space for participants to practice public speaking, focusing on the ‘how’ • To create a space to reflect on the potential errors of interpretation between a person’s performance and their character or intention Key takeaway • A person’s way of speaking or body language can sometimes not reflect their competence – yet we believe in it, so we must be careful • Greater confidence in public speaking and speaking in general After the activity, participants will feel: • Warm, connected, self-aware After the activity, participants are aware • Of the ways that they come across to others • That the same gesture or tone can mean different things in different cultures Through the activity, participants learn • To perform better in public • To doubt their immediate perception of somebody Group outcome • The group has a sense of confidence and trust through joint vulnerability

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Caption Competition Short description: Participants are shown an image and are invited to find the ideal caption. Inspired by: MKW / The New Yorker

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 10-30 minutes

Design need • Participants don’t appreciate humor in a foreign language • Participants have difficulties switching from image to text

Participants 3+ (divide into groups of 3) Layout At tables – with a projector (or paper) Supporting material A series of images Activity breakdown Participants are given an image, and are invited to make a caption based on that image (they are given examples). 5 minutes to do on their own, share at the table, and then each table shares the best caption. Then, participants discuss about general ideas of humor and assumption.

FACILITATION TIPS • This is about revealing humor – check what participants do and don’t find funny • Open a conversation about funny things • One potential closure is to share the funniest thing they know in their culture – and offer to decode the humor for others

Purpose • To allow participants to be funny • To reveal the diversity of humor Key takeaway • That humor is diverse After the activity, participants will feel: • Amused After the activity, participants are aware • Of diversity in ways of appreciating humor Through the activity, participants learn • To associate words and images • About humor Group outcome • The group is in a good mood

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5-minute Editing Short description: Participants receive a standard but slightly long email or text. After a short presentation on good communication, they are given 5 minutes to edit it down the text, then share their editing choices with somebody. Inspired by: MPP WHY?

WHAT? Duration 20-30 minutes Participants 2+ Layout At a table, with computers Supporting material • An email (slightly verbose) • A presentation on ‘good writing’ Activity breakdown Participants receive the email, and have 5 minutes to edit it down and make it personal. Participants share their results with the people sitting next to them. They discuss what they notice. General conversation about choices and difficulties led by facilitator.

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Design need • Participants from different cultures have different implicit rhetorical models, but those are not fully clear to them • Participants think of writing as good or bad, not connected to a culture, a code, or an intention Purpose • To reveal implicit rhetorical preferences • To empower participants as writers (fast writers) Key takeaway • Participants reflect on the various elements of written conversation – building rapport, sharing information, delegating tasks, seeking closure / keeping channels open • Participants are able to identify their rhetorical preferences, and discuss them with others After the activity, participants will feel: • Empowered, thrilled, clear, intelligent

FACILITATION TIPS

After the activity, participants are aware • That it is possible to do things fast • That rhetorical expectations differ

• Insist on personal variation • Keep a strict time limit • Hold two goals: diversity in expectation, and the capacity to do things fast and OK

Through the activity, participants learn • That a written message has various goals Group outcome • Participants are aware of their diversity • The group is revealed as a place to learn


Activities to help participants become aware of listening as an act, and how they can create the conditions for a better reception of other people’s contributions.

AWARENESs & LISTENING ACTIVITIES

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Three Modes of Listening Short description: Participants form pairs or groups of three, and are invited to trial three different modes of listening - silent compassion; supporting questions; challenging assumptions. Inspired by: Liberating Structures

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 15-25 minutes

Design need • People are not aware that listening is an action • Participants don’t consciously know how to listen in different ways

Participants 3+ Layout Participants stand or sit in groups of 3 Activity breakdown One participant is the speaker, one listens, one observes. The speaker shares a professional/study/life problem they face. Three rounds. • In the first, the listener hears with attention and doesn’t say anything. • In the second round, the listener asks clarifying questions. • In the third round, the listener challenges assumptions. Roles can change or not. • After, the observer describes what they observed; listener and speaker describe what they observed.

FACILITATION TIPS • Variations are possible – e.g. change roles or not • After the activity, invite people to try out various modes of listening • Give prominence to the observer – give them time to describe what they saw in a neutral manner

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Purpose • Reframes listening as an active process, which can be conducted in different manners, and introduces distinct strategies for listening differently Key takeaway • Participants are more able to build rapport through listening • Participants are able to adapt their listening mode to the situation After the activity, participants will feel: • Empowered, curious, loved After the activity, participants are aware • That listening is an action • That they can listen in different ways • That the mode of listening has an impact on the speaker Through the activity, participants learn • How to become better listeners Group outcome • The group is more ready to listen to each other


The Art of Asking Questions Short description: Participants are introduced to and practice different forms of questions - open/closed; headbased/heart-based. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 15-25 minutes

Design need • Participants are not aware of the impact that questions have on answers • Participants think of conversations as ‘saying things’ rather than a series of questions and answers

Participants 6+ Layout In groups of 2 Supporting material Powerpoint Activity breakdown Participants are introduced to various question types through a short lecture. They then practice in pairs, with guidance. A) only closed questions - questions that call for a yes/no answer - for instance: ‘did you enjoy it?’ ‘Would you do it again?’ B) only open questions - questions starting with WH- words that open a range of possible answers - for instance: ‘what did you do then? Who else contributed? How did it feel? Why did you choose this? C) head questions - questions that tap into the rational side of the brain - for instance ‘What did you think at time? What do you believe the reason was? Why do you think this happened?’ D) heart questions - questions that tap into the emotional side of the brain - for instance ‘How did it make you feel?’, ‘What was the most enjoyable thing about it?’ ‘What drove you to do this?’ Debrief – what worked, what was hard.

Purpose • Equip participants with a toolkit on how to ask questions that will prompt better answers Key takeaway • Participants are able to build rapport through questions After the activity, participants will feel: • Powerful, ready-to-go After the activity, participants are aware • That the type of question determines the types of answer • That there are different types of questions • That the form of the question is important Through the activity, participants learn • How to formulate questions differently Group outcome • The group develops internal curiosity

FACILITATION TIPS • Participants may find it hard to have the right heart questions – you can demonstrate with somebody • Explore cultural expectations – what is a good question in their culture? When is it supposed to be asked? At what rhythm? 19


Personal Space Testing Short description: Taking turns, in pairs, participants position themselves at the most comfortable physical distance from the other person. Inspired by: Peer-Lab

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 10 minutes

Design need • Participants have different preferences for personal space / distance. These are not fully conscious, but affect the way they relate

Participants 4+ Layout Participants stand in different locations Activity breakdown • Participants form pairs • One person is asked to stand, then the other places themselves at the optimal personal distance. • That person freezes, and the other moves to the optimal distance for them • Afterwards, debrief on experience

FACILITATION TIPS • Moving too far or too close could both be perceived as aggression by some – underline that: ‘you’re invading my space’, vs ‘you’re feeling me’. • Invite participants to describe what they associate closeness or distance with in their culture and share stories / derive meaning

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Purpose • Reveals diversity in preferences for personal space Key takeaway • Participants appreciate the role that personal space plays in building connection • Participants understand their personal preference in personal space • Participants discuss the way that their culture values personal space • Participants develop a language to express their preference for relative distance or proximity After the activity, participants will feel: • Empowered, safe, connected, amused After the activity, participants are aware • Of their own preference for closeness or distance • That their preference is not universal Through the activity, participants learn • How to describe their preference for personal space Group outcome • The group is more respectful, violence is reduced


Body Movement Awareness During Conversation Short description: In pairs, participants are invited to move their bodies forward when speaking, and backwards when listening. Inspired by: Peer-Lab

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 10 minutes

Design need • People tense up fast when operating in other languages • People don’t know how to relax in a second language • People are not aware of listening as an active process

Participants 6+ Layout Tables / chairs Activity breakdown Participants form pairs and have a conversation (either in their first or second language), with one observer. The facilitator instructs them to: move forward when they speak, move back when they listen. Change roles after 2 minutes, 3 rounds, then debrief (see page 43 for more information on how to run a debrief session).

FACILITATION TIPS • Explore whether there are different patterns (the most common is that people lean forward both to listen and speak) • Ask observers what they saw, whether there was an evolution or not. Did people seem tense at any moment? • After the debrief, try to have a round where people intentionally stay back, or change patterns (one forward, one back, without moving) and see the results

Purpose • Develop a greater awareness of body movements and tensions when listening or speaking • Teach participants to more actively relax (sit back) Key takeaway • Participants develop body-awareness in conversations • Participants learn to relax by sitting back After the activity, participants will feel: • Calm, connected to their bodies After the activity, participants are aware • That they tend to tense up in a conversation • That their body tension affects them and others Through the activity, participants learn • To relax in a conversation Group outcome • The group is more aware of each other’s bodies

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Unexpected Body Language Short description: In pairs, participants interact with somebody while deliberately looking away or sideways. Inspired by: Peer-Lab

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 15-20 minutes

Design need • People don’t appreciate non-verbal elements of communication

Participants 6+ Layout Chairs / tables Activity breakdown • Participants form groups of 3, with one speaker, one listener and one observer. The speaker talks about a problem that they face or something that recently happened to them • Round 1: The listener deliberately turns their back to the speaker. • Round 2: Participants speak while facing sideways • Round 3: Participants face each other • Debrief (see page 43 for more information)

FACILITATION TIPS • Start debrief with the observers – invite them to try to describe neutrally rather than passing judgement. • There may be different preferences in the group – explore those

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Purpose • Participants understand the respective role of words and facial connection for communication Key takeaway • Participants learn to connect through facial expression, body language, tone of voice and listening • Participants explore and discuss cultural expectations of non-verbal forms of communication After the activity, participants will feel: • Slightly tense / dissatisfied (this is on purpose) After the activity, participants are aware • That non-verbal elements have a strong impact • Of their own preferences regarding nonverbal attitude Through the activity, participants learn • How others participants’ non-verbal attitude affects them Group outcome • The group becomes more respectful


Activities to help participants work better together with other people who are different, and coordinate activities that require diversity to be forefront.

COORDINATION ACTIVITIES

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Collaborative Translation Short description: In groups of 3-5, participants are invited to translate a text together and reflect on the most difficult passages. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project WHAT? Duration 1-2 hours

Participants

WHY? Design need • Participants are not deeply aware of the way that language frames culture • Participants lack opportunities for deep meaningful conversations in their second language

Small bilingual groups of 2+, ideally 3-5 people per group

Layout Cabaret style Supporting mateiral One text to translate: bring prints, one per person

Activity breakdown Sit people in linguistically diverse groups, and explain the goal. Insist that: • The goal is not to finish the text, but learn • The goal is not to produce a ‘best translation’, but reflect • Participants should shift languages when discussing, and reflect on what happens when they shift • The goal is to reveal differences in languages and cultures through translation • There is no ‘right way’ to work as a group, they need to figure it out Teams translate for 1 hour or so, then stop and in the last 15 minutes discuss learnings and translation difficulties.

Purpose • Participants develop their language and translation skills • Participants discover cultural differences as expressed in language • Participants learn to negotiate meaning with others • Participants’ competence is revealed to each other

Key takeaway

• Participants develop a sense of camaraderie by taking part in a joint project • Participants understand cultural implicits and values as they are reflected in language • Participants appreciate that results emerge from a group rather than being attributable to an individual

After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected, thrilled, intelligent

FACILITATION TIPS • This is a ‘self-facilitating’ event - minimal facilitation is required • Encourage people to speak two languages • Promote a positive approach to difficulty – if the text is hard, it is an opportunity to learn • Note, if it emerges, that a text may be ‘badly written’. Acknowledge this, and invite participants to reflect on what makes a text ‘well written’ • Celebrate good translations, and acknowledge them as emerging from a group NOTE: This is the basis of the Marco Polo Translation Club, happening every week in Melbourne. Check out meetup.com/ Marco-Polo-Translation-Club/ to learn more. 24

After the activity, participants are aware

• Of how language frames culture • That they can bridge language difference • That others typically have the same level of reflectivity as they do

Through the activity, participants learn • To respect each other • Their strengths and limits

Group outcome

• Increased respect for each other


5-Minute Translation Short description: In groups, participants are given 5 minutes to translate a text into a language that at least one of them knows. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 20 minutes

Design need • People don’t feel capable of doing tasks at an extreme speed • People carry a range of cultural assumptions as to what is permissible, and do not question them

Participants Bilingual groups of 3+ Layout Small tables Supporting material A text to translate and computers Activity breakdown Participants are given a text and asked to translate it into a foreign language that at least one of them knows in 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, stop and ask how it went. Unpack assumptions (e.g. why not use automatic translators? Why should everybody be involved?). Give participants another text and do the same task. Ask what was different the second time. FACILITATION TIPS • Participants should have a sense of speed and urgency • Mark surprise at the rules that people impose on themselves – try to figure where they come from

Purpose • Reveals tacit assumptions when doing a task Key takeaway • Participants learn how to describe and assign tasks in a diverse group • Participants are aware of their implicit constraints After the activity, participants will feel: • Thrilled, empowered After the activity, participants are aware • That they carry assumptions about tasks • That sometimes, they can break their own rules Through the activity, participants learn • How to coordinate a task in extreme speed • To fight perfectionism Group outcome • A sense of fun and ‘breaking taboos’

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Activities that allow participants to increase the visibility and awareness of their own cultural background, and acknowledge how it impacts on their actions and ways of relating to others. They help participants to better appreciate the context that others operate in.

CULTURAL AWARENESS ACTIVITIES

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Map Your Childhood Neighbourhood Short description: Participants are invited to draw a map of their childhood neighbourhood and use words to describe key landmarks. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 30 minutes

Design need • People struggle to reflect on the unique elements of their personal childhood

Participants 3-25 Layout In small groups of 3-5 Supporting material Paper and pens Activity breakdown Participants, alone, are invited to draw a map of their childhood. On the map, they are invited to write words in their own language, corresponding to elements that were important at the time - the park, the shop, the school, the house with the old woman, etc. Then, they share the map at their table and, in turn, describe it and go through the words, looking for equivalents. Followed by general debrief (see page 43).

FACILITATION TIPS • This may be a space of vulnerability – create a sense of trust and softness • Acknowledge the generosity of participants for sharing their experience openly

Purpose • Give participants an opportunity to derive culturally informative stories from their childhood experience • Create a sense of joint vulnerability around the description of childhood, while maintaining a safe environment Key takeaway • Participants understand the language-specific nature of certain elements • Participants understand the culturally unique elements of their childhood • Participants learn to share their personal experience with others After the activity, participants will feel: • Moved, connected After the activity, participants are aware • That their childhood is interesting • How they have been informed by their childhood • That others had different childhood Through the activity, participants learn • To share their personal stories • About other childhood experiments Group outcome • The group is bonded by shared vulnerability

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Map Your Surroundings Short description: Participants walk around the area in groups, come back and, together, draw a map of the neighbourhood. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 1 hour

Design need • Participants are not trained to be observant of their environment • Participants are unaware of the various potential beauties of an urban environment

Participants At least 6 Layout Teams Supporting material Pens and paper Activity breakdown Participants form teams of 3. They are invited to walk around the neighbourhood for 20-30 minutes, come back and draw a map of the surroundings. What the map needs to be is their decision. Finally, they present their map to the group.

FACILITATION TIPS • The sharing of the maps is important – ask participants why they chose to draw their map the way they did? • It is possible to give pointers before participants leave the room if they seem perplexed – inviting them to look at buildings, streets, commercial activities, people, or showing examples of very different maps.

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Purpose • Nurture awareness for the urban environment, and reveal the different ways that different people notice what is around Key takeaway • Participants are exposed to various ways of noticing an urban landscape • Participants learn to share their observations in a nonverbal way After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected • Capable After the activity, participants are aware • Of their urban surroundings Through the activity, participants learn • To draw maps of their surroundings Group outcome • The group develops a joint connection to the environment


Map Your Belongings Short description: Participants are invited to represent three personal spaces - their room, their bag, their office and map how much of it is furniture, how much is empty, and how much is ‘stuff’. Inspired by: Karen Melzack / Minimalist me

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 20 minutes

Design need • People are not aware of the role that their belongings play in their life

Participants Any number Layout On a table Supporting material Participants receive a blank sheet with three circles Activity breakdown Participants are invited to imagine the three circles on the sheet as representing their room, their office and their bag - thinking of them as a volume. Participants are invited to think about the amount of ‘free space’, ‘fixed things’ (e.g. furniture) and ‘movable things’ (e.g. cups, paper, etc) in each of those spaces, and mark fixed things and movable things with two different colours, colouring part of the circle in proportion to the space they occupy Participants then compare their drawings and reflect.

Purpose • Reflect on the role of objects in our culture, and the various objects that define who we are Key takeaway • Create a conversation starter by talking about the various ways that people relate to space. Connect to space more deeply. • Participants reflect on the role of culture in perceptions of ‘fullness’ and ‘emptiness’, and the role of objects in daily life. After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected to space After the activity, participants are aware • Of the role of culture in thinking about fullness • Of their objects and how they define culture Through the activity, participants learn • To describe their objects • To derive cultural stories from objects

FACILITATION TIPS • The activity is inspired by the principles of minimalism – it is about relishing what we have or getting rid of it • Reflect on how various cultures value open space or fixed objects as a need • Possible to invite reflection on objects that they relate to their ‘culture’

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What is a Conversation? Short description: In small groups, participants are given a set of images and need to identify which one(s) best represent what they think a conversation is. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project WHY?

WHAT? Duration 20 minutes Participants At least 6 Layout At tables Supporting material Set of images (available on demand) Activity breakdown Participants are given print outs of a set of images. A) They are invited to identify which image best describes what they think a conversation is – then share at the table. B) At each table, identify one image that could capture the main way that the table thinks about a conversation, and share with the group.

FACILITATION TIPS • Underline the great variety in the way that people think about conversations • Possible 3rd round – take one or two of the models, and describe what types of skills and attitudes are required to have a good conversation in this model.

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Design need • We expect and are encouraged to engage in conversations, but don’t know clearly what a conversation is Purpose • Help participants understand that they simultaneously hold various definitions and assumptions of what a conversation is Key takeaway • Participants are better able to communicate with others by detecting and expressing their expectations of how the conversation should run, and appreciating that they may be different. • Participants are able to recognise different ‘micro-cultures’, and the role that their cultural experience and background plays in defining what a conversation is. After the activity, participants will feel: • Empowered, interested After the activity, participants are aware • People have different ideas of what a conversation is. • It is possible to approach a conversation differently. Through the activity, participants learn • Approach conversations in different manners. • Connect words to images. Group outcome • The group is exposed as diverse. • The group is more capable to have a conversation.


The Origin of Values Short description: Participants identify their core values in different domains, and whether are influenced by family or surroundings (nurture vs. nature). Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 15-20 minutes

Design need • Participants don’t know what values they hold or where those values come from.

Participants 3+ Layout Circle at a table or on the ground

Purpose • Identify core values • Identify how values reveal potential tension between family and surroundings

Supporting material Value cards (e.g. Qcards http://www. qcards.com.au/the-values-cards

Key takeaway • Participants are able to appreciate diversity of values and discuss values with others.

Activity breakdown Participants are given a set of value cards, and are invited to identify their 5 core values, individually. Participants are invited to identify the dominant value for them, and share it with others. Participants identify which of those values come from their family, and which come from their current surroundings (e.g. school, etc), and share this in their small groups. General debrief (see page 43 for more information).

After the activity, participants will feel: • A sense of space and position After the activity, participants are aware • Of where their values come from • Of their relationships with different groups as individuals Through the activity, participants learn • To describe their values and their origins Group outcome • Underlying traditions and inherited cultural frameworks are revealed, exposing the group as diverse.

FACILITATION TIPS • Invite participants to reflect on whether their main value is ‘their own’ or from their family • Invite participants to reflect on whether there may be a tension between values from their family and their setting.

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Reframing Values Short description: Participants identify the value most opposed to their own, and present themselves to an imaginary person holding this opposite value as the most important. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 15 minutes

Design need • People find it hard to think of themselves from others’ points of views

Participants 4+ Layout Working alone on the floor or at a table Supporting material Value cards (e.g. Qcards http://www.qcards.com.au/thevalues-cards) Activity breakdown Participants look at value cards and identify their core value. They then follow a 4-step process. 1. Participants are invited to imagine the value most opposed to their core value, and imagine a person who would hold this opposite as their core value: that is the enemy. 2. Participants are invited to think of that opposite value in a positive light - how could it be described if it was to be considered positively. Then, they are invited to imagine a person who holds this ‘positive’ opposite value: that is the contestant. 3. Participants are invited to think how they would appear to the contestant, and how the contestant would see their core value. 4. Participants think how they might present themselves to the contestant in order to make them into an ally. General debrief (see page 43 for more information).

Purpose • Enable participants to think from the perspective of another • Enable participants to remain authentic while diplomatically adapting Key takeaway • Participants learn to present their main value from the point of view of somebody who holds an opposing one • Participants develop ways of presenting themselves that are authentic and diplomatic After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected to themselves • Empowered • Open After the activity, participants are aware • That their value is not universal • That it is possible to relate to people who seem to be enemies Through the activity, participants learn • How to present themselves to people who don’t share values

FACILITATION TIPS • Possibility to do role play among participants • his may be confronting or enlightening for participants – keep a safe space • You might ask participants whether they have had a concrete experience of facing somebody with opposite values. 32


Sensory Connection Short description: Participants living in a new environment describe what they enjoy about their new location and what they miss from home, focusing on the senses. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 20 minutes

Design need • People’s perception of environment is highly influenced by sensory perceptions, but often not consciously

Participants 3-20 Layout In small groups Supporting material Two blank sheets with the words: I see, I hear, I smell, I taste, I feel, and three bullet points under each Activity breakdown Participants are invited to fill in the sheets they receive: one for their new environment, one for their home city / country. General debrief.

FACILITATION TIPS • Invite participants to describe their main sensory memory from home – choose a dominant sense • Invite participants to reflect on whether they relate to the new place with all five senses, or one? • Invite participants to reflect whether they experienced a ‘sensory shift’ through migration (e.g. from smell to sight, etc)

Purpose • Prompt reflection on migration as a sensory transformation • Support reflection on how to palliate what participants miss Key takeaway • Participants are able to describe the sensory experience that they have from home • Participants associate and describe positive sensory experiences in their new place After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected to place • Connected to their body After the activity, participants are aware • Of their senses and how they impact their perception Through the activity, participants learn • To describe the sensory experience of their home country and their new place Group outcome • The group is connected through a shared reflection on their sensory experience of a similar place

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Comfort Zone Short description: Participants identify what was in their comfort zone 10, 5 and 1 years ago. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 20 minutes

Design need • People are not aware of the changes they have gone through in their life; • When they arrive in a new setting, people don’t feel that change is possible – yet they have changed in the past.

Participants 3+ Layout At tables Supporting material Comfort zone diagrams (see next page) Activity breakdown Participants are given a sheet with comfort zone circles – describing what was in and out of their comfort zones, in terms of places, people and activities, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 year ago – then what it will be in a year. Participants fill in the diagrams, then debrief.

FACILITATION TIPS • This is a good activity for introverts – encourage silence for a while. • During the debrief, possibly get participants to articulate ‘turning points’ / identify transitions.

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Purpose • Increase the possibility of change in the future by opening reflection on change from the past Key takeaway • Participants appreciate their journey and the various major changes they have gone through After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected to their past and their future • Reassured and ready to change After the activity, participants are aware • That they have changed Through the activity, participants learn • To articulate what was their comfort zone Group outcome • The group becomes more bonded


Comfort Zone (Continued)

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Reflecting on Seasons Short description: Participants describe the way seasons are described and experienced in their culture. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 5-15 minutes

Design need • People from different cultures have different calendar cycles and understanding of natural rhythms that structure their thoughts, but they are not fully aware of their own and that of others.

Participants 6+ Layout In groups of 3 Activity breakdown Start by taking participants through the 4 season Qi Gong activity (see page 10), or simply reflect on the structure of the year. Invite participants, in silence, to draw the cycle of seasons they experienced in their home city (if they have lived in different cities, invite them to reflect on seasons in the place where they lived the longest). Participants share in small groups, reflecting on differences, and various ways of valuing different seasons. General debrief (see page 43 for more information on how to run a debrief session).

FACILITATION TIPS • The goal is to reveal two things: great variations (e.g. continental ‘4-season’ calendar vs tropical ‘wet/ dry-season’ vs equatorial ‘no season’), and minor variations (e.g. is autumn experienced as pleasant ‘indian summer’ or as rainy ‘grey autumn’). • Try to focus on transitions – what are they like (abrupt / clear). How do you move from one season to the other? What is it like? How does that relate to moving into different phases of something?

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Purpose • Reveal the way that various cultures connect to the cycles of nature Key takeaway • Appreciation for connection of their thinking and natural rhythms After the activity, participants will feel: • Interested, curious, knowledgeable After the activity, participants are aware • Of their own cultural assumptions about seasons, rhythms and structures • Of other people’s assumptions Through the activity, participants learn • How other cultures think about rhythms and seasons • To develop a language to talk about rhythms and cyclical patterns Group outcome • The group is revealed as diverse • The group is seen as a space for learning


These activities allow participants to engage with their surroundings as a space for experimentation.

EXPLORATION ACTIVITIES

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Supermarket Safari Short description: In groups of 3-5, participants go to a supermarket or market, and take photos of ingredients/ products to make a meal combining their various traditions. They then present the meal to the group. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 1 hour

Design need • People bond easily through food, but may not know how to combine their food traditions • People are not fully aware that cooking ingredients from many different cultures are available nearby

Participants Groups of 3+ Activity breakdown In groups, participants are instructed to visit nearby markets / supermarkets, and take photos of diverse ingredients they could combine to make a meal that would best represent the traditions of their various countries / regions. Participants come back, and are invited to present the ‘menu’ of their meal, while showing photographs of the key ingredients.

FACILITATION TIPS • Invite participants to choose one of two ways of conducting the activity – photograph one key ingredient, or all the ingredients for one recipe • Try to have multiple supermarkets (or a big one) nearby – to avoid overcrowding • This can be organised as a competition – which team’s meal is the most appealing? They win biscuits or other types of food.

Purpose • To bond a group around food in a creative manner • To prompt new thinking on how to combine ingredients in one meal • To train an ethnographic mindset in the supermarket – reveal the shop as a place of cultural diversity Key takeaway • Participants appreciate markets and supermarkets as underpinning diversity • Participants are aware of each other’s food traditions • Participants are bonded through a joint activity After the activity, participants will feel: • Hungry, willing to share, enthusiastic After the activity, participants are aware • That shops hold a range of diverse products • That the same products are used in a range of countries Through the activity, participants learn • About the cooking traditions of others, and how other cultures think of a meal Group outcome • The group is ready for lunch • The group is bonded around a joint activity

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Local Selfies Short description: In pairs, participants take selfies with a local next to a local icon. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 1-4 hours - this activity fits well as ‘homework’ in programs delivered over multiple days.

Design need • Participants don’t know how to start conversations with locals • Participants are not aware of the meaning of things in their urban surroundings – and don’t have a sense of deep history

Participants In pairs – at least 3 pairs Supporting material List of ‘icons’ and maps Activity breakdown Participants, in pairs, have to take a selfie with a local next to a local icon – and ask the local about the significance of that icon.

Purpose • To create a memory associating a place, a person, a story, a conversation • To create a model for engaging with locals • To develop appreciation for local icons and architecture Key takeaway • Talking about place is a way to engage with locals • There is a correlation between space and culture After the activity, participants will feel: • Connected • Happy

FACILITATION TIPS • Depending on participants language levels, give them conversation starters • Create a hashtag or social media group to share pictures • Have a ‘best picture’ competition, or a ‘show and tell’ storytelling session about the activity.

After the activity, participants are aware • Of their spatial surroundings • That locals associate stories to space Through the activity, participants learn • About a local place • How to engage with locals Group outcome • Pairs are bonded by a new experience • The group is bonded by a sense of joint adventure

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Food Testing Short description: In pairs, participants go to a restaurant or shop selling an unfamiliar specialty. They order and try some, and ask the shopkeeper about it. Inspired by: Marco Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 2 - 4 hours

Design need • People do not spontaneously try new things – this limits their understanding of diversity in the city

Participants At least one pair Supporting material A local map with suggested locations to buy unusual food Activity breakdown In pairs, participants are directed to try one new dish from a multicultural shop / restaurant. They are invited to ask questions to the person in the shop about the dish. At the next session, debrief on the experience (see page 43 for more information on how to run a debrief).

FACILITATION TIPS • To debrief the experience, participants can be invited to use a storytelling model: ‘On XXX date, I went to XXX place with XXX person, and I tried XXX dish. • Participants can be encouraged to google the places and dishes suggested to find the most attractive or original.

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Purpose • To give an opportunity to try new things through clear guidance – generate stories and new experiences Key takeaway • Participants have an experience of one new dish • Participants are more ready to try new things After the activity, participants will feel: • Curious, happy, empowered After the activity, participants are aware • That there’s a broad world out there • That it is possible (and pleasant) to try new things Through the activity, participants learn • How to approach a place that sells things they do not know Group outcome • Pairs are bonded by a new experience • The group is bonded by a sense of joint adventure


Wild Safari Short description: Participants are invited to observe the ways that people in a particular setting behave, then describe it. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 30 minutes - 2 hours

Design need • People are not able to derive knowledge from observations – or observe

Participants In pairs – at least 2 groups Supporting material A notebook for observations Activity breakdown Participants are directed to a certain location (preferably with lots of passage) and invited to observe people’s of behaviour (body distance, rhythm, facial expression, size of groups). Notice and write down anything familiar and unfamiliar. Participants come back and debrief on their observations.

FACILITATION TIPS • This activity can be conducted as part of general ‘social observation’ or as part of a directed project. • One way to conduct the debrief is to invite each group to give an introduction to the place they observed, and the way people behave there, as if the other people in the room were from another planet.

Purpose • To train an ethnographic mindset and turn the city into a space for learning. • To create a space to discuss observations and hypotheses Key takeaway • Participants develop an appreciation for the city as a space of learning After the activity, participants will feel: • Curious, stimulated, intelligent After the activity, participants are aware • That various people behave differently Through the activity, participants learn • To observe their surroundings • what to observe when trying to understand their surroundings • To make hypotheses regarding behaviour Group outcome • The group is unified by a joint sense of purpose and learning

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These activities help participants gain closure after a workshop and reflect on the learning, opening the possibility for deeper transformation.

REFLECTIVE ACTIVITIES

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A Note on Debrief Sessions This section contains activities that can be used to close an entire workshop. Some of these can also be adapted as a debrief format for single activities described elsewhere in this manual. Running solid debrief sessions, both after an activity and at the end of a workshop, is of benefit to both participants and facilitators. For participants, it offers an opportunity to cement learning and insights developed through the workshop or activity by articulating them and sharing them with a peer or a group. It is an opportunity for participants to learn about the experience of others - both key takeaways and emotions - and therefore, it is an opportunity to create collective accountability and bring a group closer together. For facilitators, debrief sessions help to assess whether an activity had the intended results - or other unexpected ones. It offers an opportunity to reinforce learning by re-articulating key insights proposed by participants and aligning them explicitly to the goal of the workshop. When run halfway through a workshop, it is also a way to assess where participants are at, and reframe the next steps. Debrief sessions can be (and are generally) run in the form of an open forum, where the facilitator asks the group open questions, waiting for voluntary contributions. The following questions are particularly common and relevant: • A general open question: How was it? What happened? • A specific question focusing on aspects of the experience: How did it feel? What insights did you get? What was one particularly important moment during the workshop / activity? • A series of connected questions, whether successive (What happened, what does it mean, what will you do next?) or connected to different emotions (what did you love, what disturbed you, what surprised you?) Although open forum debriefs are often adequate, they can be replaced by the activities below, either to close an entire workshop, or even at the end of an activity, especially a relatively long one.

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Four-Corner Paper Feedback Short description: Participants are given a few minutes to give feedback by placing post-its on a paper or white boards with 4 corners – smiley face / sad face / exclamation mark / question mark. Inspired by: Melbourne Graduate School of Education

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 3 - 5 minutes

Design need • People like to give feedback but don’t always know how to share it

Participants All participants of workshop Layout Open room - invite participants to move Supporting material Post-it notes, butcher paper with four quadrants Activity breakdown Participants are given 3-5 minutes to write feedback on post its and place it on the four quadrants.

Purpose • To create a structure and a time for people to give feedback Key takeaway • In all activities, there are good and bad things • Various people have various experiences After the activity, participants will feel: • Heard / a sense of closure After the activity, participants are aware • Of each other’s feedback and experience Through the activity, participants learn • What they experienced (by reflecting)

FACILITATION TIPS • Insist on the fact that various people have different experiences • Underline this as another element of diversity – encourage participants to write at least one thing per quadrant • Encourage participants to look at others’ feedback, and how it differs from theirs.

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Three Stars and a Wish Short description: Participants are given a piece of paper, where they write three things they liked (three stars) and one think they wish for (a star). Inspired by: Philip Thiel

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 3 minutes

Design need • People like to give feedback but don’t always know how to think of it or share it

Participants Any number Supporting material 1 sheet of paper / participant. Optionally, preprint 3 normal stars and one shooting star for the wish. Activity breakdown Participants are given 3 minutes to write feedback on the sheet. They can either be invited to share it with a neighbour, in a group, give it to the facilitator, or keep it to themselves.

Purpose • To create a structure and a time for people to give feedback Key takeaway • Feedback is about what we like and what we wish for After the activity, participants will feel: • A sense of satisfaction After the activity, participants are aware • That there were elements they liked • That they still have desires after the activity Through the activity, participants learn • How to think of a wish

FACILITATION TIPS • Reflect on the various ways that people think of a wish (future / past) • Reflect on the creation of memories – what was nice is a way to focus on creating positive memories. • Option – have colours for the stars, and associate to different areas where things were good - e.g. positive emotion, new insight, new person they got ot know more.

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What Did You Learn / Love / Hate Short description: Participants are invited to reflect on their experience through three connected questions. Inspired by: Macro Polo Project

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 5 - 20 minutes

Design need • People like to share and reflect, but lack a structure for it

Participants Any number Layout Individually or in small groups Activity breakdown • Participants are asked three successive questions: What did you love? What did you hate? What did you learn? • After each question, participants are invited to think for a moment, then share either with a neighbour, with a small group, or with the whole group. • Possible variation: to further refine the question, it is possible to add ‘about yourself’, ‘about other people’, ‘about the topic’ to each of the three questions (sometimes reformulating, e.g. ‘what is a thing that somebody else did and that you loved?)

Purpose • To offer a structured model to allow people to share their experience Key takeaway • Participants will reflect on the impact of the activity or program on them After the activity, participants will feel: • Heard, connected, clear After the activity, participants are aware • Of the things that they learned • Of the things that other people learned Through the activity, participants learn • How to better structure their thought

FACILITATION TIPS • You can vary the questions depending on the group • If there is no time, you can leave participants with one question to take away and think about at home. A good one is: what did you learn about yourself?

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Physical Resolution Short description: Participants are invited to make one resolution on the basis of the workshop and share it with the group in the form of a gesture. Inspired by: Karen Melzack

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 5 - 15 minutes

Design need • People are more likely to make resolute change more if they make a public commitment

Participants 3+ Layout Participants stand and split across the room Activity breakdown Participants are invited to think of 1 thing they want to do differently as a result of the workshop or activity. They are invited to think of one word and one gesture that they associate with that thing they want to do differently. In turn, participants say the word and do the gesture, and others imitate them.

FACILITATION TIPS • Insist on the importance of making commitments • Celebrate gestures and words - make it fun and silly • Model a positive embrace – if the group is a bit slow, repeat the gesture, then invite everybody to repeat it.

Purpose • To create the conditions for ongoing change after the workshop Key takeaway • Participants will remember their one word and gesture - and possibly those of others After the activity, participants will feel: • Liberated • Committed • Connected • A sense of fun After the activity, participants are aware • Of the one thing they want to do after the workshop • That other people learned different things from the workshop Through the activity, participants learn • To associate words and gestures Group outcome • The group has a shared commitment and a sense of joint accountability.

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Reflective Circle Short description: Participants form a circle and sum up their experience in one word. Inspired by: THNK School of Creative Leadership

WHAT?

WHY?

Duration 3-6 minutes

Design need • People need closure to remember an activity or workshop and move on • People have a better experience if they can share their emotion with others

Participants 4+ Layout Participants stand or sit in a circle standing Activity breakdown Participants are invited to sum up the experience in one word. They are given a minute to think about it, then share the word one by one, clockwise.

FACILITATION TIPS • This should be relatively fast - encourage speed. • There should be something ‘ceremonial’ and ‘serious’ about this activity • Model the approach – maybe close your eyes. • The facilitator can initiate the sharing by saying the first word. • Make sure you use just one word. • At the end, acknowledge with a thank you, and break the circle.

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Purpose • To create a space and form to give closure and reflect on the change that occurred through an acitvity or workshop Key takeaway • Participants reflect on their feelings or impression • Participants learn that one word is sometimes enough After the activity, participants will feel: • A sense of calmness, peace and connection After the activity, participants are aware • Of the way that they reacted to the activity/ program • Of the way that others reacted Through the activity, participants learn • How various people react differently Group outcome • The group feels a sense of connection


Acknowledgements The activities contained in this manual have been inspired by a range of organisations, tested in a range of settings, and designed, supported and reviewed by a range of people. It is impossible to fully capture the extent of support that underlies the development of a manual such as this one, and a community organisation such as ours, but here is an attempt. We wish to thank the City of Melbourne, the City of Yarra and the Victorian Multicultural Commission for supporting our various activities. We wish to thank New Dream English, Level Up English, Language Connection, Henley Cub and the Foundation for Young Australians for hosting our activities - as well as Melbourne Knowledge Week, Chinese Writers Festival, Writers Victoria, and Doxa Foundation for featuring us on their program in the past years. We wish to thank pilot partners for our two key impact programs, Out of the Box and Design for Diversity, Melbourne University Faculty of Business and Economics, Monash College and Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar. We wish to thank contributors to the design of our programs and special events. This includes particularly the Switch-on Team Marco Polo Peer-lab 2015-16 team (Jack Greig, Lucy Lv, Sandy McLeod and Michael Zuo), the design for diversity team, particularly Lisa Toomey, with support from Philip Thiel and Bridget McPherson, the first Out of the Box team (Jennifer Liu, Michelle Pei, Linhua Wang) and the second Out of the Box team (Lucy Lv, Isabella Mory, Harry Zhang and Samuel Shlansky), the Switch-On team (Christopher Bell, Wesa Chau and Elizabeth Winkelman), the Translation Club team (particularly Kishan Arava, Xavier Brouwer, Allen Wang and Michael Broughton) as well as Karen Melzack (Minimalist Me), John Paul Grima, Thomas Richardson, Philip Thiel, the team from the School of Slow Media (Samuel Diaz, Akira Morita and Ai Vuong), and others who contributed their inspiration to our activity design. We wish to thank all the people on our board, our members, our volunteers past and present, attendees to our workshops, and the people who have believed in us over the years: without them, we would not be where we are now - they are too numerous to list, but a special shout out goes to people who have championed and supported us over the years- among them Esther Anatolitis, Hayley Bolding, Andrea Carlon, Charles Chin, Kenny Choi, Peter Collins, Gloria Davies, Lisa Dempster, Jean Dong, Gareth Durrant, Donna Fiegert, Julia Fraser, Leah Gerber, Jeremy Goldkorn, John-Paul Grima, Richard Hames, Zoe Hatten, Jack Jia, Sue Karzis, Kate Larsen, Tony Zixin Li, Philip Liu, Liu Yan, Brigid Maher, Andrea Myles, Deborah Peterson, Ewan Proctor, Ouyang Yu, Fergus Ryan, Jan Van Schaik, Rachel Walters, Hayley Ward, Julian Waters Lynch, Erin Watson and Aimee Zheng. We wish to thank the various organisations who have inspired the activities listed in this manual - particularly the THNK School of Creative Leadership and Design for Social Impact Leadership (DSIL), with a special shout out to Katy Grenier for introducing us to Henri Lipmanowica and Keith McCandless’ Liberating Structures. Finally, we wish to thank direct contributors to this manual, Bridie Allen for editing and project coordination, Kim Huang for graphic design, Lucy Lv and Samuel Shlansky for text review, Julien Leyre for writing, and Samuel Diaz from School of Slow Media for concept design.

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