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"Tools for Developing Student Emotional Resilience (Grit and Comfort with Ambiguity)" 24 posts Sort by created date Sort by defined ordering View as a grid View as a list

Got Grit?

This presentation was given at NAFSA Regional Conferences V, VI, and VII in Fall 2019.

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D-I-E

D-I-E stands for describe, interpret, and evaluate. The facilitator will show participants a picture and ask them to describe what they see. Many participants will automatically jump to interpreting or evaluating the picture, so the facilitator will have to guide them back to description. The lesson to be learned is that we should not begin evaluating people or situations based on our gut reactions. 

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By the Numbers

This activity asks users to quickly identify patterns in sets of numbers. Ultimately, the facilitator relates their automatic responses to stereotypes, beliefs, and perceptions. 

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Working in Unfamiliar Surroundings

Working in Unfamiliar Surroundings enables participants to understand what it's like to work in another culture, think in a second language, or start a new job where the rules are unfamiliar. Therefore, it ultimately creates awareness for co-workers as to what it is like to work in or learn a second language.

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Tribalism and Empathy

Using Purdue University President Mitch Daniel's 2018 commencement speech and NPR's "Should We Have Empathy for Those We Hate," this activity explains tribalism and empathy.

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Poker Face

In this activity, participants engage with and treat all others based on the face value of the card on that person's forehead.

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I Am Poems

Using a template, participants write about their own life experiences and then share their reflections with others.

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Exclusion

According to Thiagarajan and van den Bergh (2017), in this 'jolt' "team members anonymously vote out a colleague to reduce the size of the team.  The debriefing discussion deals with the emotional consequences."

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Shipwrecked!

This simulation provides participants the opportunity to develop techniques for verbal and nonverbal communication with characters with backgrounds and motives different than their own, articulate how different decision-making models within the simulation result in different experiences and end results for the simulation, practice and assess their own ability to suspend judgment and value interactions with characters with different backgrounds and motives than their own, and to explore their relationship to ambiguous contexts based on missing or unreliable information presented by their own character or other characters in the simulation.

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Scenery, Machinery, People

Based on the work of Polish anthropologist Alicja Iwanska , Jones (2017) has written an interesting blog called "Scenery, Machinery, People--Rethinking our view of humans." After reading the blog, participants are asked to enter into a discussion concerning the people in their lives who fall into various categories, as well as the various categories participants fall into when looked at by other people.

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Redundancia: A Foreign Language Simulation

Redundancia: A Foreign Language Simulation invites participants to experience the difficulty of choosing parts of speech, thinking of syntax, working through vocabulary in an unfamiliar verbal context.  Although Redundancia must be purchased, Talk-Speak--a Thiagi 'Jolt'--and Piglish provide the same experience at no cost. Both are linked above. 

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Migration: An Empathy Exercise

According to Maureen Ryan (n.d.), "Migration: An Empathy Exercise is a multi-step reflective exercise designed to build empathy and personal insight into processes of loss, change, and reconnection associated with the disruption of personal and cultural connections to landscape. In the first step, students reflect individually on their experiences in unfamiliar landscapes and how they might feel were they to move away from a home landscape. Second, they envision personal means of building connection with new or unfamiliar landscapes. Having considered these questions at a personal level, students read or are presented with case studies of human movement and their consequences (historical or current). Finally, students reflect on new questions that arose as they considered case studies after thinking about migration or displacement at a personal level."

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Listening Deeply to Values

In this activity, participants listen to one another's stories with the purpose of discovering one another's values.

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If I Woke Up Tomorrow

This activity asks participants how their lives would change if they belonged to a people group different their own--a different country of origin, a different sexual orientation, a different gender, a different ability/disability, etc.

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Dividing the Spoils

"Dividing the Spoils" is a simulation which asks groups of participants to divide a certain amount of fictional money, depending on the amount of time and effort assorted characters put into a project.  Individualist and collectivist mindsets become apparent.  A more complicated version called "Alpha-Beta Partnerships" is also available.

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The Danger of a Single Story (video and debriefing questions)

According to the TED Talk description on YouTube, "Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding."  

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Describe-Interpret-Evaluate (D-I-E)

According to Susewind (2012), "DIE is a shortcut for 'description, interpretation and evaluation.' The original exercise was developed as a pedagogic tool to train observation skills, help establish the difference between description and analysis, and foster reflection on the politics of fieldwork. It usually involves exposing students to an intercultural experience, and then interactively sort out description, interpretation, and evaluation of this experience."

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Building a Tower

According to Erasmus+, which provides free on-line instructions for "Building a Tower," the aims of this activity are to:

  • Develop creativity
  • Develop leadership qualities
  • Deal with success / failure
  • Develop communication
  • Develop team work

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Mindfulness Practice

Tara Harvey (2017) has written a helpful blog on the connection between mindfulness and intercultural learning.  These meditation exercises in particular are recommended by Michael Vande Berg for people seeking to develop emotional resilience.

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Beliefs, Events, and Values Inventory

The BEVI is an accessible, adaptable, and powerful analytic tool that may be used in a wide range of settings – from education and research to leadership and mental health – to understand and facilitate processes and outcomes of learning, growth, and transformation.

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Barnga

"BARNGA is a simulation game that encourages participants to critically consider normative assumptions and cross-cultural communication. It was created by Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan in 1980, while working for USAID in Gbarnga, Liberia. He and his colleagues were trying to play Euchre but all came away from the instructions with different interpretations. He had an ‘A-ha’ moment that conflict arises not (only) from major or obvious cultural differences but often from subtle, minor cues. He created the game to tease out these subtleties. In this activity, students play a card game silently, each operating with a different set of rules, unbeknownst to them."

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American Textures

"American Textures, a 78 minute documentary by Crossing Borders Films, follows six young Americans of Black, White and Latino origin on a road trip through the southern United States to confront race through dialogue. Their journey moves them to push through the wall of silence/fear/discomfort that surrounds race in Today’s America and face the presence of segregation, bias, and blindness, not only in US society, but also inside themselves. Their courage, vulnerability and honest interactions become emotional examples of ways to follow in their footsteps."

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Albatross

"Albatross," as described by Gochenour (1993), is a simulation facilitated in two parts: "The first part consists of performing a ceremonial greeting between members of an imaginary culture (Albatross) and foreigners (those participants being trained or oriented)... The second part consists of an extended discussion. Albatross is an experiential learning device of some power, but it is relatively useless unless the discussion is treated with particular thoughtfulness and attention." If you've never experienced Albatross, the introductory video gives an idea of what goes on in the first part.

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