Group dynamics exercises develop group cohesiveness and problem-solving skills, and encourage collaboration and creativity. These activities generally begin with an introduction by the facilitator who sets up a problem or challenge for the group to solve. Some are physical and active, while others are brain teasers. The exercises should be fun while providing experience of using teamwork to solve specific problems. A few ideas of some group dynamic exercises that have been used successfully are described below.
10.1 Wayward whispers
Objective: To raise awareness about communication processes, especially about how messages can become distorted and to demonstrate how communication can be made more effective.
Duration: 10 mins
a) The participants form two groups by in turn calling out the numbers 1 and 2 b) Each group (e.g. 1 and 2) lines up
c) One representative from each group goes to quietly receive a message from the facilitator (the facilitator is allowed to say the message only once) d) The representative returns to their group and whispers the message they got from the facilitator to their immediate neighbour in the line they have formed. They may say it only once. That individual then whispers the message to the next person in the line and so on, until the message reaches the last person in the line. e) When the message has reached the last person in the line, that persons delivers the message back to the facilitator. When both groups have finished, the facilitator asks the last people in both the lines to reveal the messages they heard and then the facilitator tells the whole group the original message.
Discussion: How does the message change when it is conveyed from one person to another? What were the weaknesses of the message itself hampering correct transfer? What were the weaknesses of the people transferring the message? How can we communicate in a better, more effective way?
Source: Collection of Games and Group Dynamics Simulations, Indonesia National IPM Program
10.2 Counting 10 strides between stool and start position
Objective: To raise awareness about working together and communicating with each other. Materials: Cloth to tie over the eyes
a) Tie a cloth over the eyes so the participant can’t see. Ask the participant to walk from a set starting position to a stool and hit it with a stick.
b) Let all participants have a go.
Discussion: Why can’t we do simple things with our eyes covered? How could we have managed to do this task? What are the lessons we learn from this.
10.3 Leading the blind
• To have the participants experience how it feels to be ‘blind’, or to lack knowledge of some aspects of what is happening
• To raise awareness about the feelings and needs of people who may need assistance • To enhance understanding about the requirements for being a good facilitator Materials: Cloths to tie across the eyes, preferably dark coloured so light doesn’t pass through.
Duration: 15 minutes
a) Ask the participants to get themselves into pairs, and then to tie the cloth around the eyes of one person in each pair, so that they cannot see anything. b) The person who is not blindfolded then leads the blindfolded person around for ~5 mins.
How did the blindfolded people feel when they could not see? How did you feel about the person who was leading you around? Did you trust him/her? Why or why not? Did you feel that your guide cared for you or that s/he made a fool of you? Why? How did the ‘guides’ feel leading a blind person? What special efforts did they make to lead their partner? Did they search for easy or difficult things for their partner to experience? Did they give him/her their full attention? Did you supervise him/ her tightly or let him/her act freely? Did you explain each situation beforehand?
From the answers given during the discussion above, some general conclusions can be drawn regarding...