The Cauldron

Credits Indira Cornelio, Alma Uguarte Perez Last Updated 2017-06

Even out the participation playing field. In a group setting, some people tend to speak more than others - this exercise raises awareness of that fact, while inviting participants who have not spoken as much as others to do so.

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This session was developed for, and should be attributed to, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting resource “Cyberwomen: Holistic Digital Security Training Curriculum for Women Human Rights Defenders” under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 License

Materials to Prepare:

  • Pre-cut slips of paper (3-5 per participant)
  • Bowl or basin

Trainer’s Note

  • The Cauldron can be useful throughout your training – if introduced at the beginning of the workshop, you can use this exercise each time you ask the group a question during a session. That way, everyone has a chance to speak more often, and those who may be shy about answering questions are given the opportunity to get more comfortable.
  • This exercise will revolve around a group discussion, which can be about anything; however, it works especially well if the discussion focuses on a topic from the training. You can introduce a new topic, or you can use this exercise as a review for a previously discussed one – the choice is yours.

Running the Exercise:

Step 1 | Have participants sit in a circle, arranged around the bowl or basin – this will be the cauldron. Give everyone 3-5 slips of paper.

Step 2 | Explain the rules for the discussion: every time someone speaks, they must throw one of their paper slips into the cauldron. Once a participant runs out of paper slips, they can no longer speak.

Step 3 | Introduce a topic, and facilitate the discussion by asking a series of questions to the group. For example, if the topic is malware and viruses, you might ask the following:

  • What is malware?
  • What are some different kinds of malware that you know of?
  • Are there any operating systems that are immune to malware infection?
  • Has your computer or smartphone ever been infected with malware? If yes, how did you know?
  • What are some ways that we can protect our devices from malware infections?

Continue the discussion until everyone has run out of paper slips - you can reactivate the conversation if you wish, by moving on to a new topic and handing the paper slips back out to everyone.