Speaker's Corner is a socio-pedagogical exercise that was developed by partners in KA2 project. The main goal is to encourage active listening, social inclusion, democratic participation, and critical thinking.
General goal of this exercise is to use non formal methods to develop an open discussion among participants, in a safe environment of simulation/role game that can generate reflections of their future actions.
By using this tool, the main emphasizes are on increasing the awarness of freedom of speecg, respect of the other's opinions, critical thinking, and "standing in the other's shoes".
The tool takes inspiration from various methodologies and resumes some important aspects:
role game/simulation: one of the most traditional tools to experiment empathy towards the others, and a great way to hide your own opinion and personality in a safe and mediated context (the game/the activity)
Experiential learning: the simulated experience of the Debate, the identification with the role, the active participation in group dynamics, the emotional component generated by the expression of opinions (real or mediated by the role)
Peer learning: observation of other participants' behaviour generates reflection upon your own, in the activity as well as in the different daily contexts.
Guided debriefing: the facilitation of the whole activity is one of the most relevant aspects in pedagogical terms. If there was no debriefing, there would be no occasion to evaluate in a shared and mediated space the generated reactions and to consider and reflect upon each own individual insertion in the activity context, in the group dynamics and in the society.
Speaker's Corner tool is organized in two versions of the game: Classic and Debate version. The activity must be prepared with the Speakers a few days before the exercise date. In Classis version, if the topic of the speech will not be too complicated, the facilitator can choose soembody of the participants to speak.
In the case of the Classic version of Speaker's Corner, they will have to prepare a short speech about a topic of their preference, including opinions and deepening the topic.
In the case of Speaker's Corner version "Debate", the activity of preparation must be managed between the two speakers, as in the exercise they will be in debate between each other, with divergent or completely opponent opinions.
The day of the exercise, the room will be set according to the chosen version of the exercise: in the case of Speaker's Corner "Classic", you will define a spot from which the Speaker can deliver the speech to the audience, whille in the "Debate" version, the activity will be run in circle and the speakers will be sitting with other participants.
The participants are introduced to the meaning of all cards (action cards, to express opinions without words or to ask to intervene; role cards, with which they can get into a role and react accordingly; "secret mission" cards, with an individual goal to reach during the activity) and to the interaction ways.
The Speakers are invited to join and the activity can begin. For the "Classic" version there can be up to 2-3 short sessions, in which the speaker talks to the audience, who can interact with action cards and the request to intervene. Each session can last up to 15 minutes, For the "Debate" version, there is one only session, set up by the two contestant speakers. The debate can last as much as the group wants, but we do suggest not to overcome 45-60 minutes, in particular with large groups.
After the speaking sessions, there is a moment of short break, in which collecting role cards and give the chance to participants to "get out" of the role.
A debriefing phase follows what the group just experienced, analysing the emotions and reflections that come out of the exercise. The debate continues as individuals, not anymore in the roles attributed/played in the excercise, but still maintaining the dynamics created of mutual respect of timing for speaking and the reaction to what has been expressed by other participants, through the maintaining of action cards' use. This phase can last up to 60 minutes, if the group is very large.
Completed kit produced during the Erasmus+ KA2 project (available in English, Croatian, Italian, French, Spanish, Flemish, Portuguese, Romenian, Slovenian, Norvegian)
3 speakers for the exercise in "Classic" version
2 speakers for the exercise in "Debate" version
The exercise has proven itself to be very useful to stimulate the reflection and debate on not so daily topics and/or topics usually faced in a very superficial way.
Debate dynamics, whenever conflicting, become more careful and respectful and you listen more carefully the opinion expressed by the other, even when you want to contrast it.The group reaches its own balance so that inside of the activity, but also when it comes to an end, participants continue to respect time of intervention of others and let them finish their speech. In frequent occasions of use during international youth mobility projects, the exercise allowed to set a behavioural precedent, enough to orient and influence the following sessions of reflection and sharing of ideas and opinions.
- encourages activation and participation within an already consolidated group
- facilitates interaction within a group not yet consolidated
- can mediate discussion of sensitive / personal subjects
- allows the emergence and formation of ideas and opinions by individuals
- allows active listening and avoids interruptions during the discussion
- if the participants do not interact, it loses its effectiveness
- in large groups the participation of individuals can be reduced
- those who have previous experience in debating activities can find the discussion rough or superficial.
- it is an activity that can be repeated with the same group over time
- themes and cards can be implemented and updated
- kit and methodology can be applied to other uses related to work with young people
- it is not an improvisable activity
- may require a certain interpretative ability (if you want to provoke a strong reaction in the participants)
- requires facilitation skills
- requires the use of the card kit
The exercise, in the different versions, can be adapted in function of the target group and of the specific educational goals. We suggest anyways to try and facilitate one of the proposed versions (you can find them in the facilitator's manual), before changing
DISCLAIMER: SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO-YOUTH EuroMed should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.