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Nonviolent resistance activities

Page history last edited by Gwen 10 years, 3 months ago

Nonviolent Resistance Activity

Materials:  paper, pens, long table (optional)


  1. Ask participants to share examples of what they believe to be nonviolent resistance.  This can be based on personal experience, history, current events.    (5-7 min)
  2. Introduce the three key figures:  Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Gene Sharp.  On a sheet of paper, ask each participant to write down a question they would like to ask the historical figures.  Circulate the paper so that everyone writes down a question.  Remind them not to repeat any questions that are already written.  Facilitator will keep the paper for the next activity. (3-4 min)
  3. Press Conference Activity  (optional:  set up room like a press conference; key figures in front , sitting behind a table,  and the rest of the participants are the press)
    •  In groups of 3-4, assign one of the key figures as the group’s “character.”  For larger groups, facilitators may assign the same character to more than one group.  (i.e. there may be 2 “Gandhi” groups, but each character should be represented)
    • Groups will imagine that their character has been asked to speak at a press conference on the topic of nonviolent resistance.  They should select a group member to be the character who will speak at the press conference.  Each speaker will have 3 minutes to speak about his views on nonviolent resistance, and then all participants will field questions from the press corp.  If groups are having difficulty with creating the speech, ask them to use the “Guiding Questions” at the beginning of the lesson for ideas.  (10-12 min)

                    (note:  facilitators may choose to extend this to the following day and allow groups to gather more information and research)

    •  During the press conference, each speaker will have uninterrupted time to make his speech.  When all 3 have completed their speeches, the facilitator will  take questions from the press.  (The list of questions written by participants at the beginning of the session.  Option:  have different participants ask the questions from the list) (20 min)
  1. To close this session, ask participants to answer the following on a sheet of paper:  “Do you think the techniques of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Gene Sharp would be effective today?  Why/Why not?”  Ask volunteers to share their responses before collecting the papers.  (10 min)
  2. Optional task:  Ask participants to reflect on the ways in which they are promoting nonviolent resistance in their classrooms.  They should consider going back to their classrooms and creating a list with their students (and posting it in the classroom):  “How we promote nonviolent resistance in our classroom…”  Remind teachers that by doing this, like creating classroom rules, students will feel a sense of inclusion and ownership to the “laws” they are being asked to uphold, and which all (including the teacher/authority) are expected to respect.  By being part of the process is empowering.


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