Online Toolkit

Part 5 - Modules

Identity Crisis

MAIN THEMESIdentity, communication.
DURATION1h to 1h45
AIMS AND OBJECTIVESTo be able to reflect on how identity can often be closely linked to our values.
To know the different elements of our identity that are important to us (and to others).
To deepen our understanding about how identity and culture are related.
1. Ask participants to find a partner (or divide participants into pairs).
2. Ask each participant to write 7 aspects/elements of their identity. You can explain identity as the "the most important elements that make you who you are – the elements of yourself that are MOST important to you." You can also provide more information such as " you might include things like what you like to do, your role in your family, gender, nationality, things that make you who you are."
3. Give them 10 minutes to make this list.
4. Tell them to go ahead and show this paper to their partner.

Round 1. (2mins)
Tell them that they now need to get rid of 2 elements of their identity that are least important to them – the part they could get rid of and still maintain their sense of self. Tell them to cross out the 2 elements. Tell them to show their paper to their partners once again.

They will almost certainly complain. Tell them that this is just for the purpose of the exercise and we understand that on a different day, they might give up different elements."

Round 2. (5mins)
Now, ask the participants to exchange papers. Without talking, ask them to get rid of 2 elements OF THEIR PARTNER'S identity. Ask them to cross out the 2 elements from their partner's paper in their hands. After doing so, ask them to return the paper to their partners. At this point, tell them that they can discuss with their partners about why he or she got rid of a certain element.

Round 3. (10mins)
Ask each pair to present to each other all the 7 identity elements they chose, why they chose it and to explain why they kept the elements that they kept and what those 3 things mean to them.

*NOTE: you can assign observers for some pairs, to take notes of the discussion going on during the activity.

Ask participants gather together in a large circle. Guide them through the process by asking the following questions:
-How did you feel during the activity?
-How did you feel AFTER the activity?
-How was it like writing the 7 elements of your identity?
-Would you say that some elements are permanent and some are temporary (dependent on context)?
-How did it feel to cross things out from YOUR OWN paper?
- How did it feel to "give up" parts of yourself?
- How did it feel when your partner crossed things out from your identity?
- Why did you keep or leave out a certain identity? Why?
- Did anyone include their national identity? If so, why? If not, why not?
- Did anyone include their religion, culture, etc? Why or why not?
-Can you see any patterns in terms of gender? - Are there certain aspects of your identity that you feel proud of? Any aspects you don't like?

Now try to relate the activity in real life:
- Have you ever experienced situations when external forces (family, media, your job, etc) have threatened part of your identity? How did you feel?
-If and when a part of your identity is threatened, are you more likely to give it up or hold on it tighter?
- Do you ever feel that you are pressured to privilege one part of your identity over another? When or why?
HUMAN RESOURCES NECESSARY1 facilitator, 5 observers.
MATERIALSPapers and pens, timer.
OBJECTIVES REALIZEDParticipants became more aware of their approach to their identity and how they and other people value the elements of their identities Participants also realized that sometimes it is difficult for us to see what is important to other people, unless we dialogue with them.