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Group 3 – specific subject – tool for moral and civic education and social sciences teachers


pupils from 14 to 18


  • To work with and explore our stereotypes and prejudices about other people
  • To work with the images we have of minority groups
  • To understand how stereotypes function
  • To generate creativity and spontaneous ideas in the group


1 to 2 periods


  • a list of things for pupils to draw
  • sheets of paper and pens for the group drawings
  • sticky tape or pins to display the drawings


  • Ask the pupils to form teams of three or four people.
  • Tell the teams to collect several sheets of paper and a pencil and find somewhere to sit in the classroom so they are slightly isolated from each other.
  • Call up one member from each team and give them a word.
  • Tell them to return to their groups and to draw the word while the other team members try to guess what it is. They may only draw images, no numbers or words may be used.  Flags, currencies and country borders are not permitted either. No speaking except to confirm the correct answer. No miming is allowed.
  • The rest of the team may only say their guesses, they may not ask questions.
  • When the word is guessed correctly tell the team to shout it out.
  • Put the score on the black board or on the flip chart.
  • After each round ask the drawer to write on their picture, whether finished or not, what the word was. The drawer may not continue or change the drawing.
  • Now ask the teams to choose another member to be the drawer. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to draw at least once.
  • At the end, ask the groups to pin up their pictures so that the different interpretations and images of the words can be compared and discussed.
  • For the debriefing and evaluation, ask the following questions:
    • Was this activity difficult or not and why?
    • Look at the drawings on the walls and compare the different images and the different ways people interpreted the same words. Do the images correspond to reality?  Why did the drawer choose particular images?
    • Where do we get our images from? Are they negative or positive?  What effects  may they have on our relations with the people concerned?


Be aware that people who consider themselves poor artists may think this will be difficult for them.  Reassure them that you are not looking for works of art and encourage everyone to have a go at being the drawer.

This activity is likely to raise the most immediate and generalized stereotypes we have about other people, including foreigners or minorities.  It is very creative and lots of fun.  However, it is very important the activity does not stop at the drawings but that the group reflects on the risks of stereotyping and, especially where we get our images from.

Everybody needs stereotype, in order to be able to relate to the environment and the people around us.  All of us have, and carry stereotypes, this is not only inevitable but also necessary.  Therefore any judgments about the stereotypes pupils have should be avoided.  What the evaluation and discussion should promote is that we need to be aware that stereotypes are just that: images and assumptions, which often have little to do with reality.  Being aware of stereotypes and of the risk that relying on them entails is the best way to prevent prejudice that leads to discrimination.

It is interesting to note that we don’t usually have a stereotype image of people with whom we have little contact.  For example, consider your own stereotype of someone from Slovenia, Moldova, San Marino or Bhutan?  If we do have one it may simply be that “they are nice people”.  We therefore suggest that you include in your list of words to be drawn, an example of at least one national who is a minority in your country and one who is not and with whom the group will have had little or no direct contact.  Ask people to consider the differences between the stereotypes and the possible reasons for this.

Another point to be raised in the discussion is where do stereotypes come from.  The role of the media, school education the family and peer group may be analysed.

The rules and ideas for what the teams will have to draw must be adapted to the national and cultural context of the group.  The words in the list below are merely suggestions for you to adapt.  If you plan to use images of nationalities, it may be important not to allow players to draw flags or currencies – that would be too easy!  On the other hand, in order to prevent guessing by simply building on an association of sequences, it is important to alternate descriptions of a particular minority with other words relating to concepts, objects or people who have nothing to do with the topic.  This will add variety, stimulate competition and make the activity a lot more fun.

Suggestions for words to draw:

racism – difference – education – discrimination – anti-Semitism – refugee – conflict – European – a national (from the country where the activity is taking place) – a peasant – poverty – a Muslim – a homosexual person – equality – an HIV positive person – a Roma person – a Japanese – a Russian – an African – Human rights – Media – a tourist – a foreigner – solidarity – a refugee – a blind person – love – an Arab – a Moldavian.


“All different – All equal, Education Pack”, European Youth Centre, 1995

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