The “true” story of Geraldona

Goals of the exercise: conflict resolution; teach the participants to relativize some information they receive from colleagues or friends because the distortion of the facts happens even without intention
Age of the participants: 13+
Number of participants: 10 to 30
Duration of the exercise: 30 minutes
Materials: a piece of paper with the story of Geraldona

Step by step

  1. At the beginning the monitor asks 7 people to voluntarily collaborate in this activity. The rest are observers.

  2. Six volunteers leave the room and wait until they are told to come in again.

  3. The volunteer that is in the room reads the story to the rest of the group. Then he/she calls the first one that is outside and tells him/her the story. He/she listens in silence. Now it is his/her turn to call the next volunteer who waits outside and to tell him/her the story as he/she has remembered it. The process is repeated until the last volunteer enters the room.

  4. In the end the last volunteer reads the story for the whole group.

  5. The group that stayed inside observing the process of distortion of the story must remain silent and not help the person who is telling the story when he/she forgets or changes some part. In addition, it is important that the volunteer who tells the story to the volunteer who has just entered the room explains to him/her that he/she will hear a story and then tell it to the next one.

The Story of Geraldona

Once upon a time there was a very beautiful girl. Her name was Geraldona. Geraldona loved to play, as any child. She lived very close to a forest. Geraldona’s grandfather and grandmother lived in the forest. One day Geraldona received a beautiful dress from her grandmother and grandfather. The color of this dress was green. Geraldona liked it very much but the dress was too tight and she decided to exchange it for another. When she arrived at the store she saw many colors: blue, green, violet, yellow … But she wanted the red one. And Geraldona wore this dress so many times that she got the nickname “Geraldona the Stubborn”. She was annoyed to be called stubborn and complained to her mother, who in turn went to complain to the Mayor. So he essayed a new law forbidding people to call her stubborn.
She grew up without other relevant episodes. She got married, she had 2 sons and 1 daughter, but a month ago she was abducted by aliens along with 6 cows she had on the farm. Boniface, her husband, is very worried because his children are now without mother and without milk.

Debriefing

  • What are the conclusions of this activity?
  • Do you think we should believe everything we hear?
  • Why do distortions occur?
  • What should our attitude be when, for example, we hear a story that may not be true and that involves people we know?
  • Has anyone ever been involved in some conflict that appeared as a result of a distortion of reported facts?

Authorship/adaptation or source: CooLabora
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