Students are asked to put themselves in someone else's position and pick who they want to live with, reasoning their ideas with concrete facts.
- to understand the power of prejudice
- to discuss implicit values and preferences
- to compare ideas and come to a common conclusion
Distribute the lists "possible tenants for the house" (one for each student).
Step by step description
Prepare a drawing of a house on the (paper-)board. Tell the story of family Miller:
In this house live Mr. and Mrs. Miller with their 20 year old son David. The family lives quite happily together in this house. One day a bad accident happens and father and mother Miller lose their lives. David inherits the house of his family and lives a single and satisfied life, until one day David loses his job. David is no longer able to afford the living in the big house by himself. With his last money he decides to split the house into 6 apartments and puts them up "for rent" in the newspaper.
Now, imagine you are David and that you have to choose five tenants from the list of people applying to your ad, in order to be able to keep the house.
Task for the participants:
- Choose 5 tenants from the list – individually (approx. 10 minutes).
- Go together in groups of five to six persons. Now, as a group choose five tenants that your group agrees on (approx. 20 minutes)
Reflection with the students / questions for debriefing
Attention! The debriefing is the most important part of the exercise, allocate enough time for it (minimum 20 minutes). Take care of possible emotions in the group!
- Has the group found five common tenants? Yes? No? Why (not)?
- How did the group work together to find those common tenants? What was difficult, what was easy?
- Discuss the reasons why you chose these persons.
Background: This exercise shows very well the impact of prejudices and different pre-conceptions we have about other people. To have no prejudices is almost impossible, the most important is to understand that these are prejudices, and that discussions about differences and getting to know people better can change opinions.
Suggestion for variation
The characters/situations could be changed to suit student's backgrounds.
Reference / original source of the method
This activity was originally published in the SALTO Toolbox for Training & Youth Work. Gertraud Steininger facilitated the method during her workshop "The Methodical Roundabout of Intercultural Dialogue" at the aces Kick-Off Meeting 2008 in Salzburg.