Citizenship in action

Goals of the exercise: To develop problem-solving skills and encourage civic participation.
Age of the participants: 14+
Number of participants: 10 to 25
Duration of the exercise: 90 minutes
Materials: 4 sheets of paper or paperboard, each containing one of the letters: A, B, C, D

Step by step

  1. Place in each of the four walls of the room the sheets with the letters A, B, C and D in a visible position, preferably above the eye level.
  2. Ask the participants to go to the center of the room and tell them that they will be presented with several dilemmas with several possible solutions, and that they will have to choose one of them.
  3. Explain that each solution matches one of the letters on the walls of the room so each person should listen to the dilemma, choose the solution that sounds more appropriated and move to the corresponding wall of the room.
  4. The monitor reads the first dilemma and the participants move according to the instructions in the previous point.
  5. Ask the participants to justify their choice and thereby try to convince the people who have chosen other options to join them.
  6. The process is repeated whenever a dilemma is presented to the group.
  7. In the end the monitor energizes a debate on the issues that the game has raised.

The dilemmas

Dilemma 1

Aléxia is a Roma girl who attends 6th grade. In her class she is the only person of this ethnic group. When the history teacher asks the students to do a work on the culture of the Roma people, what would your strategy be if you were in her class?

A. Ask for help from Aléxia because she must understand more than you about the subject.

B. Search the internet information on this subject because you think she should not know more than you or the internet.

C. You do not even remember that Aléxia exists because you do not get along with her and you do the work based on research only.

D. Other option.

Dilemma 2

Your sister gets a new boyfriend who is a Muslim and asks you to help her convince your parents to accept this relationship because she feels very happy with him. You already had the opportunity to meet him and you liked him. What would you do?

A. You’re going to talk to your parents and try to convince them that they should accept him.

B. You tell your sister that you will not get involved in this matter.

C. You talk to your parents so they will forbid your sister from dating this guy because even though he seems nice, you never know if Muslims become dangerous people.

D. Other option.

Dilemma 3

Paul is a homosexual, but he never had the courage to tell his family or friends. He likes a boy in his class and wishes to date him. But he has no idea if this boy is also homosexual and if he is in love with him. He is afraid that if he reveals his feelings to the boy, he will tell everyone and make fun of him. What should Paul do?

A. Forget the idea and seek a psychological treatment in order to stop being homosexual.

B. Tell his parents and friends that he is homosexual, invite the boy out and see what happens.

C. Try to approach the boy and get to know him better to make sure he is homosexual before he reveals his feelings for him.

D. Other option.

Dilemma 4

Marco and Sonia are dating and are part of your group of friends. They’re both really cool but you’ve noticed a few times that he’s very jealous and even controls her cell phone messages.

One day things got complicated and he hit her right in front of you. Both, Marco and Sonia have asked you not to tell anyone because it will not happen again. What do you do?

A. You do not tell anyone because you believe it will be as they say.

B. You convince Sonia to go talk to the school psychologist and offer to go with her.

C. You tell your mutual friends what happened because you want to know what they think about this situation.

D. Other option.

Dilemma 5

Jonas is new at school and his life is not going to be easy: he has a dubious style of clothing and is very shy. One day, when he passes in front of your group of friends he stumbles revealing his clumsiness. Everyone laughs. And you?

A. Laugh with others because he really is clumsy.

B. Do not laugh with your friends and ask them to stop laughing.

C. Do not react, but between classes you’ll talk to Jonas and give him some advice on image and attitude.

D. Other option.

Dilemma 6

You have a colleague who shares publications that show his racial hatred on his facebook profile. What is your attitude towards him?

A. You try not to have a close relationship with him because you think he’s boring.

B. You like to hear his opinions because he shows that he has his own ideas and that he has already thought and researched a lot about it.

C. You respond to his publications with arguments that show that he is wrong and whenever you meet him and hear him defend racist ideas you show your displeasure.

D. Other option.

Dilemma 7

You’re at the hospital visiting a friend who’s recovering from a motorcycle accident. In the same room there is a boy who recovers from an overdose and who complains of discomfort to a passing nurse. The nurse, fed up with his complaints, says: I do not know why they spend the money from my taxes to care for these useless people.

A. You are shocked and you talk to the boy saying not to worry about what he has heard, but you will not report to anyone because you fear that your friend may suffer the consequences of your complaint.

B. You’re in shock and you’re going to find someone responsible and tell him what happened and demand a punishment for this person.

C. In fact you agree that in times of financial difficulties in your country we must find a better way to spend the money and you just shut up.

D. Other option

Dilemma 8

Ibrar is a young Pakistani who arrived in your city illegally. He sleeps in the street and looks for food in the garbage can because he does not know anyone. He finally gets some support from an association to eat and sleep but this association needs a volunteer to help him deal with legalization and get a job.

A. You volunteer because you imagine what it is like to be in his place.

B. It does not even occur to you to be a volunteer because you are not particularly concerned about the people in this situation. You just ignore it.

C. You think that someone should report the case to the Police or the Borders Service because if he is illegal he should be deported to his country.

D. Other option.


  • Was the exercise difficult for you? If yes, why?
  • How did you feel during the exercise?
  • Was it hard for you to think of your reaction to these dilemmas?
  • Do you think it is important to be active participant in the society? Why?
  • How can we encourage the others to be active participants?

Authorship/adaptation or source: CooLabora

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