Home | Icebreakers | Communication | Chinese Whispers
|The traditional version of Chinese Whispers is to whisper a sentence to the first person in the class, who whispers it to the next person and so on until the last person repeats the message out loud to the rest of the class. Typical of the kind of distortion you can get is the classic, pre-decimal whisper where: 'Send reinforcements, we're going to advance,' becomes: 'Send three-and-fourpence, we're going to a dance.'|
As a variation, you can limit the number of people in the exercise and have the rest of the class act as observers:
- Six volunteers leave the room.
- The process is explained to the rest of the class who will observe the exercise.
- Two seats are placed at the front of the room and the first two volunteers are called in.
- The 1st volunteer reads a short newspaper report to the 2nd volunteer.
- The 1st volunteer then re-joins the rest of the class.
- The 3rd volunteer comes in and takes the 1st volunteers place.
- Volunteer 2 describes the scene to volunteer 3 and so on until the 6th volunteer describes the scene to the class.
Debrief the exercise by asking:
- Where did the message get distorted?
- How can we help the communication process?
A bit at a time
Look for meaning and connections
Another variation is to ask the first person in the chain to describe the scene in a distinctive photograph. It can help if the person first writes down, in their own words, approximately 10 statements about the scene possibly prompted by some questions that you supply.
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