Fish Bowl Strategy: To highlight the "roles" people play in groups (large and small); to reflect on roles we, as individuals, usually play in groups.
1. Select a relevant topic for discussion.
2. Distribute roles on cards or strips of paper. Keep the role confidential. Some examples of roles could be "the skeptic", "the tired, old person", "the keener", "the self-centered one", "the leader", "the negative, anti-everything one", "peacekeeper", "organizer", "joker", "encourager"" the idea person", "the boss", etc.
3. Situate the people with the roles in a face-to-face setting (i.e. around a table or in a circle). Keep role card up-side down or hidden.
4. The remaining people, who have not been given roles, form a circle around the roleplaying group. Provide an observation sheet for record keeping and observation for this group.
5. Those people in the inner circle should start their discussion. Each participant "plays" their role within the discussion.
6. Outer circle observes and guesses who is playing what role (see Observation Sheet) Observation Sheet
On the observation sheet, people can observe:
• Who is playing which roles?
• What are the positive aspects of each role?
• What are the negative aspects of each role?
•What role do I play in meetings and discussions?
• What are the easiest roles to" play"?
• What are the most difficult roles to "play"?
If you are making a decision or trying to gauge students' opinions on an issue, you can use the activity "Four Corners". Pose the issue and give students four options; one option for each corner of the room. Students then are encouraged to stand in the corner of the room that best meets his or her opinion on the issue posed. One could use this with a controversial topic with the four corners being strongly agree, agree, disagree, or strongly disagree. If one uses the activity in this way, one can have the corners of strongly disagree and strongly agree meet and discuss the issue. Agree and disagree could do also meet. It is interesting to see who changes their minds and what discussions ensue. One can also use this if the class is problem solving, with the four corners being four different options for a solution to the problem posed.