Groups, whether in a classroom or work environment, are made up of diverse individuals, which can prevent extensive interaction. Team-building cultural activities help members become familiar with other members of the group and more comfortable with diversity.
Understanding Diverse Groups
An activity called "I Want to Know You" begins by dividing a group into their related ethnic categories. If one member cannot relate to any of the groups, the instructor can ask him to join any group he chooses. Each group must answer three questions: What do you want people to know about your ethnic group? What does your group never want to experience, see, or hear again in regards to the group's ethnicity? What would you like your ethnic group's allies to do? When the group is finished compiling its answers, the members will present the information to the other groups. This activity enhances cultural awareness and informs ethnic groups of appropriate and respectful ways to treat other ethnic groups.
The "What's in a Name" activity assists members of a group in getting to know each other in pairs. Each person in a group of two will interview the other person and ask where the name originated, what does the name mean, how others have reacted to the name, and what inferences have been made because of the name? After the interviews are completed, the instructor will ask the group what they learned and if there were any surprises as a result of the interview. This activity helps the group members become aware of their snap judgments that result in hearing a name and helps them realize that they should meet someone before making assumptions based on a name.
"Group Membership" is an activity that helps members of a group understand various minority groups and positive attributes related to that group. The game begins by having the entire group form a large circle. The instructor, who stands outside of the circle, starts by calling out a physically identifying trait such as blond hair color. Each member who has blond hair moves to the middle and one-by-one, the group members in the middle state one reason why they like having blond hair. After each person has made their statement, they move back out to the larger circle. The game progresses by the instructor calling out groups that are often discriminated against such as Asians, African Americans and homosexuals. When an identifying group member reaches the middle, he states why he is proud to identify with that group. The activity closes after the instructor holds a discussion asking the entire group about how it felt to be in the middle of the circle and identifying with a group, and outside of the circle looking in at a particular group.
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