This exercise clarifies different perspectives and diversity in an instructive, clear and undramatic way when all participants have to physically show their opinion on a given dilemma.
A. Some of the subjects may be based on typical stereotypes and assumptions of some groups of people; be prepared for discussions on these subjects.
B. Prepare the participants that it might be a challenge to respond to the question – but encourage them to be brave and not to judge each other.
C. This exercise works well with a group that does not necessarily know each other very well.
Required Material: depending on the number of participants, a big room
Invite the participants to the floor.
Prepare some dilemmas and four possible answers (one for each corner) which the participants should consider. Here are some examples of questions you can use:
Tell the participants that they now have to consider/relate to difficult questions that they may have different opinions of. Introduce the questions. Present the answers by pointing to each corner with the different options. Ask the participants to go around the room and place themselves in the corner they find the most suitable for themselves.
1. Your good Muslim/Christian/Hindu/Buddhist friend invites you to the mosque/church/temple to Friday prayer/church service/meditation. What would your answer be?
a. No, I will not attend.
b. Yes, if I can sit as an observer in the back of the room.
c. Yes, if I can pray/meditate in my own way.
d. Yes, I will attend, and I will pray like the others.
2. You have fallen in love with a Muslim/Christian/Hindu/Buddhist. How will you react?
a. This would never be possible; we are too different.
b. This is possible, as long as one of us converts and we both belong to the same religion.
c. This is ok, as long as we respect each other’s faith and traditions.
d. Love conquers everything.
When everyone has taken their place, the facilitator goes around to each corner and interviews some of the participants. Ask at least two from each corner, as the answers from each participant may vary among themselves.
Try to engage the corners in a dialogue, allowing the participants to ask each other questions. Make sure you tell the participants that they can change corners during the exercise if they find that it makes more sense to change option/answer. Make sure you interview people who change corners to understand why they did it.
Reflect in a plenary session on what the participants have learned about themselves and each other.
You might ask questions such as:
How was it to physically show your perspective / answer to the dilemma?
What do you bring with you from this exercise?
Summarize what was learned.
Points might be:
You cannot be neutral in a dialogue, and by physically standing in a corner everyone will be clear on their own perspectives.
The diversity in the group becomes clear as there are four corners, and there can be a lot of reasons to choose one corner instead of the other.
Hearing other’s perspective might make you reflect and maybe change your opinion.
Thank everyone for their participation.