The students imagine that they have to colonize another planet and draft the rules of social, economic and cultural life in this new world. The simulation offers a funny, educational and participatory method of presenting the relationship between human values and human rights in a youth-friendly way. It promotes cognitive and affective learning, enhanced learners` motivation and increased self-awareness.
- to introduce the concept of value-based human rights and human rights education in a student-friendly language
- to introduce the concept of solidarity between humans, particularly from the perspective of youth reality in Central and South Eastern Europe
- to provide an interactive platform for a creative team-learning about the interdependence between human rights and solidarity
- to motivate participants to analyze the opportunities to link solidarity with citizenship education (or – as called in some countries in the region – education for human rights and democratic citizenship)
- to promote human rights education in school settings
- 1 Flipchart & several sheets of flipchart paper
- post-its in different colours and preferably different shapes
- A4 papers in different colours
- copies of the handout in annex 1 (for the debriefing)
As every other simulation, the exercise "A Brave New World" requires from participants to perform a task in a (semi-)realistic situation, simulating "real life" and practicing a set of skills in order to enable participants to experience hitherto unfamiliar situations, learn from the experience and reflect on it.
The following scenario is presented in advance:
"Imagine we are in the year 2020. After a horrible catastrophe on the Planet Earth, a group of survivors make it to an unknown planet that offers similar resources for life and development as on earth before the disaster. It is the task of the first colonizers to create the new rules of social, economic and cultural life of the new planet on which they just landed. They have to choose if they want to have a state, what kind of state regime and what kind of legislation. A key point is that it all has to be based on the new colonizers` (shared) values. They have to strive to achieve a consensus, so all drafted rules/legislation have to be negotiated within the group. The first colonizers understand that lots of new people will keep coming to their planet shortly after them and that it is now their responsibility to create the rules of the Brave New World that they all have to build together."
Step by step description
Participants choose roles of different decision-making positions varying from president, ministers, members of the parliament, legislation experts, civil society representatives and common citizens etc. The roles are open and participants are the ones who name them and give them real meaning according to their values and ideas about how the Brave New World should work. During the exercise, no one is allowed to leave his or her chosen role for any reason. This method is particularly valuable for sensitizing participants to the feelings and perspectives of other groups and to the importance of certain issues, in our case: policy-making and legislation-drafting, based on common values and (eventually) shared culture of human rights.
The working process as such is divided in three phases:
- Discussing the suggestions for a new world order.
- Achieving consensus on the essential values on which the Brave News World`s rules/legislation/constitution would be based.
- Drafting a final document with rules. The type of document depends on the type of state regime that participants have chosen.
Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing
The debriefing of the simulation exercise is structured as follows:
- De-roling exercise: Make sure that participants are no longer into the roles they had during the simulation exercise. This can be facilitated by symbolically taking off the allocated role like a coat.
- Emotional feedback and reflection on the emotional dimension of the learning process:
Q1: How did you feel being part of the simulation?
Q2: What was frustrating about being in the shoes of your personage?
Q3: What was exciting about being in the shoes of your personage?
Q4: What was most challenging when you had to interact with the others?
Q5: What was the biggest obstacle to consensus building?
Q6: Did you feel that the others understood and shared your values?
Q7: Did you feel the solidarity of the other participants? Did it feel as if you all thought about your (eventual) solidarity with the people that would arrive to the planet after you?
Q8: This question is only to the monitoring person(s): How did you observe the emotional flow during the simulation? What was most impressive? How did you feel observing that?
- Educational feedback and reflection on the dynamics of acquiring knowledge and developing/changing attitudes:
Q1: Do you believe that it is easy to be … (your role)? What did you learn from the responsibilities you had to undertake?
Q2: Which common values did you observe to have with your fellow-participants in the simulation exercise?
Q3: Was it helpful to share the same values when drafting the rules/legislation/constitution of your state/society?
Q4: How important was the notion of solidarity in the process of discussion and drafting?
Q5: Was it hard to achieve a consensus? Why (not)?
Q6: Did the process of drafting challenge/change any of your ideas and attitudes towards policy-making and decision-making, based on values?
Q7: Can you name the three most important learning outcomes from the discussion and drafting process?
- Discussing values-based human rights:
- Reviewing the outcome of the group work: Compare the drafted rules/constitution with the abbreviated version of the UDHR (Universal Declaration of Human Rights) (used as a handout, see annex 1)
- Discussing to which extent and why the document, drafted by the learners, corresponds with the UDHR. Making links between shared human values and human rights.
Suggestions for adaptations and variations
With a larger group of participants, one or several monitoring person(s) can be appointed to observe the working process and give feedback during the debriefing. In the case of a smaller group, the teacher can take the role of the monitoring person.
The simulation exercise “A Brave New World” could be easily adapted to different age groups, groups` sizes and participants with various cultural and educational backgrounds.
It is not recommended to do this activity (without adaptations) with participants younger than 14 years, as it requires some initial knowledge on civic participation and democracy. For younger participants (8-13 years old), the exercise can be adopted by providing a more detailed explanation and additional supervision by introducing an adult "president". This "president" could suggest laws to the members of parliament before they vote on them, based on their values. The discussion on solidarity has to be carefully facilitated to reflect the every-day reality of the students, in order to avoid introducing abstract concepts that they cannot relate to.
The activity "Sailing to a New Land" is based on a similar scenario for the simulation like "A Brave New World" but uses another approach for deciding about what is needed to settle in the new habitat.
Reference / original source of the method
The method is an original creation of Borislava Daskalova who facilitated it during her workshop "Human values, human rights and solidarity between humans" at the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2015 in Sarajevo.
Annex 1: Abbreviated Version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (needed as handout during the debriefing)
Annex 2: Building a Human Rights Culture: Understanding Human Rights (background information)