This is a Citizen’s Theatre session plan that can be used with upper primary school children to introduce theme of discrimination.
Warm Up Game Clap Heads
This is a focusing exercise that requires the participants to listen and be aware. You are encouraging the group to work as a team. It is very satisfying when completed successfully!
Organise pupils in a standing circle, feet touching feet either side of you, legs not too far apart: clap twice, touch the heads of the people on either side, clap twice, touch their shoulders, clap twice, touch their elbows (not elbow to elbow but hand to elbow, much harder to do, but more fun to organise!) clap twice; touch their knees, clap twice, touch their toes, stand tall and everyone then claps five times. Aim to end the fifth clap in perfect unison.
Sides of the Room
Yes/No/Don’t know Statements:
Encourage pupils to move to either end of the room in response to the following statements, then tease them out through discussion:
• I have been to more than 4 countries in the world
• Scotland is the best country to live in the world
• I can speak more than one language very well
• I’ve got friends who live outside of Scotland
• I believe everyone should be treated fairly
Noughts and Crosses
The following team game is to be played with the drama workshop leader subverting the rules so that some participants will end up getting treated unfairly. The purpose of this is to help the participants understand what discrimination is and have an understanding, however simplified, of what it feels like to be treated unjustly. It should be a level of unfairness which makes it possible for the children to work out what is happening as the game progresses.
Ask the class to form two teams, the noughts and the crosses, with each team in a line facing a group of 9 chairs. The chairs represent the noughts and crosses grid usually drawn when the game is played. The leader calls out for either a nought or cross to move, one at a
time. This child can sit on any of the chairs on the grid, with their hands above their head in the shape of a cross or a nought. Then the leader calls for a member of the next team to move and so on, until either the noughts or crosses win by forming a complete line on the grid. At the end of each round players return to the end of their line and the game resumes.
Leader can cheat by favouring either the noughts or the crosses, for example, always letting the crosses go first, thus getting the prime, central position on the grid; not letting the noughts change their mind and move position on the grid, whilst allowing/encouraging the crosses to do so; putting noughts out for cheating when they clearly haven’t done so; allowing crosses to cheat and get away with it; advising the crosses and giving no support to the noughts.
The leader/teacher should use his or her judgement in how far this should be taken. Some groups will understand what is happening and play along, however other groups may be a little more sensitive or even defensive. In these instances, a little hint can be given as to what is happening.
Discussion about Noughts and Crosses
Following the game above, the participants will hopefully be keen to talk about how it made them feel. The following questions can be used to get the discussion going and lead it in to a more general examination of discrimination:
• What was going on in that game?
• How does it feel to be treated unfairly? How does it feel to get away with cheating?
• Why did no-one challenge the leader/teacher? Why did it go on for so long?
• If you let someone get away with unfair behaviour, are you as bad as them?
• What do we call it when people are treated unfairly?
A helpful definition of discrimination is: ‘the unjust or unfair treatment of different categories of people, especially on the grounds of race, age, religion or sex’.
Here is one useful definition of prejudice: ‘an adverse judgment or opinion formed without knowledge or examination of the facts’.
Creating a still image/tableaux to show discrimination
Ask the pupils, what kinds of groups of people get treated unfairly/discriminated against in our society? Flipchart their responses.
In groups of ideally 5, ask participants to make a still image to show someone being discriminated against. The image must show:
• who is being discriminated against and how?
• who all the people are in the still image
• how do they feel about what is going on?
Look at each image. Ask questions such as: if you’re part of a group that always gets treated unfairly, what effect does that have on you, over time? If you’re allowed to go on treating another group of people unfairly, what kind of effect do you think that might have on you, over time?
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