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It’s time to take a public stand about your opinions concerning diversity. In this activity you will hear statements read aloud and decide if you “Agree,” “Disagree” or are “Unsure”. As a group, you will defend your responses in under a minute. After the activity, consider the following questions:
- Was it difficult to take a stand that expressed your true feelings?
- If you stood alone, how did that feel?
- Were you surprised by a stand you took?
- If you changed your stand, what was the reason?
Preparation: You will need three signs posted around the room: “Agree,” “Disagree,” and “Unsure.”
The activity: Ask interns to stand up so they are ready to move around the room in response to the statements you will read. The statements are meant to make students aware of their opinions and assumptions about various aspects of diversity. Read each one slowly, and ask interns to move to the spot under one of the three signs they feel best describes their reaction to the statement (i.e. if interns agree with the statement, they stand under “Agree,” and so on).
After the statement has been read and all have moved to their chosen areas, turn to the largest group. Read the statement again and ask each intern, or volunteers, to say one sentence in response to the statement. Students are only allowed to respond to the statement; they are not allowed to respond to anything other people say. Be strict about the one sentence rule, or the exercise can turn into a lengthy debate. If an intern doesn’t wish to respond, he or she can say “pass” or “it’s been said.”
If interns change their minds about their stance on an issue in the midst of the exercise, they can move to another area (for instance, move from “Agree” to “Unsure”).
Then move to the next to largest group and ask the students to respond, then the smallest group. Beginning with the largest group insures that the smallest group has the final say and its members will not be overwhelmed by the opinions of the largest group. If there is a response with no one standing there, you should state some of the arguments that someone might make. Explain that you are playing the “devil’s advocate” so that the interns can be aware of what some people think.
On the next page are some suggested statements, but you can make up your own, choosing issues that will be relevant for your students. To make the exercise interesting and interactive, choose controversial issues
Suggested statements to elicit opinions on diversity:
- If you hear someone tell a racist joke, it is important to tell that person that you disapprove.
- There are some jobs men do better than women and some jobs women do better than men.
- Businesses and schools should go out of their way to recruit people of different cultures.
- It is acceptable to judge people by their appearance.
- A diverse work force can make things more difficult for supervisors (or employees).
- Our country is a better place to live because of our multicultural population.
- Strict immigration laws are important to keep America safe.
- The world would be a better place if we were all the same.
- Every business should encourage workers to get to know each other and celebrate each other’s culture.
Responses to post-activity questions
This activity introduces students to multilingual skills and cultural knowledge and the practice of workplace diversity skills.
This activity gives students an opportunity to reflect on their internship experiences and the key takeaways from related lessons, such as what skills, techniques, and concepts can be applied to college and future work.