Diversity Training Exercises for Groups

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Diversity is not just linked to race or ethnic origin. Differences can extend to religion, sexual orientation or region of birth. Diversity training exercises can help develop the understanding of different cultures among program participants. The best exercises help members grow as well as get to know each other better as individuals.

Hidden Rules of Class

  • This exercise teaches group members what it takes to survive in the different social classes: poverty, middle class and wealthy. The activity leader begins the program by reading information from the Generational vs. Situational Poverty fact sheet. Next, she provides each member with a copy of the "Hidden Rules of Class" worksheet and asks group members to answer the questions. These might be things like, "Could you survive without a car for transportation?" The leader then asks everyone to stand and starts with a certain social class, for example, "everyone who had five "no" answers under poverty, please sit down." The last ones standing could survive in that class. The leader repeats this for the other two classes.

Two Truths and a Lie

  • Two truths and a lie allows team members to uncover interesting information about each others' backgrounds. The leader instructs group members to think of one interesting fact about their lives. Next, they must create two lies about their lives that sound like they could be true. The leader picks one individual to state her three "facts." The remaining group members have one guess to choose which of the three is the actual truth. The first member to uncover the true fact chooses the next individual to share. This activity also serves as an icebreaker and helps individuals in the group get to know and feel comfortable with each other.

Group Membership

  • Group membership teaches the participants how individuals can be members of many different groups at the same time. To begin, instruct the group to stand in a large circle. The activity leader then calls out specific groups, such as all individuals born outside the United States. Every member of the group who fits that description then moves to the center of the circle. Those group members stay there until a group is called in which they are not a member. At this point they return to their place in the circle while other members might move to the center. As group members continue to move in and out of the circle, it becomes obvious how various things affect group members' lives and how much they also have in common.

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