Tools

This is our most requested online section! Here we post reliable training tools (or activities/exercises). All training tools are based on our direct education approach, rooted in popular education.

For even more tools check out our various books & manuals, which include hundreds of additional training tools.

Diversity & Anti-Oppression

Diversity Interviews

How to assist a marginalized individual or subgroup in your workshop to become integrated into the group, and also how to assist the mainstream in your workshop to learn more deeply about difference. This one is best done if you first of all experience it as a participant in a TFC workshop or with another qualified trainer.

Mainstream & Margin

We invented this in response to trainers asking us: what do you do with a group that is genuinely clueless about its racism (sexism/homophobia/ etc.)? We found it works with low-consciousness groups and has tremendous value for experienced activist groups, too.

Power Shuffle

A diversity exercise also called Step Forward/Step Back, this tool can go fairly deep considering it doesn't take much time. When placed well in a workshop, this can be a powerful exercise to help participants understand their rank and privilege or lack of it.

Walking Across the Room

This diversity exercise, also called "Crossing the Line" is geared to increase the group's awareness of difference that exists within the group as well as increase individuals awareness of their own issues with difference.

Team Building

Stepping Stones

This tool is built to provide a group challenge and support in building team work. Scenario: Two people's movements in Mexico are growing rapidly in adjoining regions separated by a shallow river. The movements need to learn from each other how to deal with the repression from the armed forces. They agree to exchange teams of experienced people for a month so this mutual education can take place. Actually making the exchange, however, is highly dangerous because it means crossing the narrow river which has turned poisonous from polluting factories upstream. And the crossing must be made in the minutes between navy patrols which go down the river regularly. Can your entire team cross the river safely before the patrol comes?

Ankle Walk

Here's a challenging exercise for practicing making decisions and communication. We've used it successfully in a number of settings -- US, Thailand, Sierra Leone, Canada -- and with groups of six people to over seventy! It's best for a middle-sized group -- around 15-25 people. In this adventure-based learning activity the challenge is fairly simple: to walk as a group from one place to another. The twist: the group must walk all in one line together with their feet touching their neighbors' feet the whole time

Team Types

This tool gives participants' an opportunity for self-reflection on behavior and type help participants work together as a team through understanding each other more deeply give participants another "lens" for looking and working with each other. Team types is a straightforward tool for participants to learn about themselves through identifying themselves within four different categories. These four types each represent different aspects of how people may operate in group settings.

The Big Wind Blows

This activity is designed to provide participants with an opportunity share information about themselves in a low-intensity activity and warm the group up for deeper conversations. It's also a great way to get the group energized!

Organizing & Strategy

Tornado Warning: Four Roles of Social Change

Here’s a tool to learn about the four roles of social change activists: Helpers, Change Agents, Rebels, and Advocates. It’s goal is to build appreciation of the different roles, gaining empathy for all roles and different approaches to change.

Getting Help: Setting Goals & Using Coaching

Getting help can be hard. It runs counter to many of cultural values: independence, individuality, personal control, self-help, competition, to name a few. Activists tend to focus on skills on help others – but spend less emphasis on our own development. Getting help is necessary. If we are to grow, learn, not burn-out, and win then we need help. In this tool we create some space and time for people to think through how can they continue to learn and get help.

Finding Tactics that Matter

Here is a way to bring out unreflected wisdom about what makes actions effective. Depending on your goals, you may have your own generalization pieces of theory, but a great winner to help kick-start people thinking innovatively about tactics.

Moving Your Allies

This exercise is meant as a follow-up to the Spectrum of Allies exercise. We develop arguments and one specific request to move a given constituency one wedge over to our side. We then roleplay the interaction.

Meeting Facilitation & Better Trainings

Fishbowl: "Worst Meeting Ever . . . "

Groups can love sharing stories of their worst meetings! Here participants get to act out the worst meeting ever, and then what a good meeting looks like. It's light and playful, and a great way to get into a discussion about how to make group meetings work well.

Meeting Facilitation: The No-Magic Method

Back by popular demand, Berit Lakey's "No Magic Method": guidelines that will go a long way toward helping your group to meet both joyfully and productively.

Step In: Step Out - using comfort zones

Now a kinesthetic way of getting into the concept of comfort zones: step in and step out. This tool can be placed early in a workshop as a way of concretizing the concept of comfort zones -- as a bonus, this tool is a way to both talk about comfort zones and simultaneously builds the container as people actually step outside of their comfort zones through personal self-disclosure.

Closing Circles

Looking for fresh ideas for your closing circles? Here are some of our favorites that we have used with different groups! E-mail us with new closing circle favorites.

Nonviolent Action

Quick Decisions

GOALS

Juego del Elefante

 

Objetivo

Esta simulación tiene como objetivo 

Ayudar a que los grupos examinen como funcionar cooperativamente, tomar decisiones en grupo, repartir las responsabilidades del grupo y funcionar bajo estrés. Presentar algunos elementos básicos de la acción no violenta y establece el trabajo en equipo adentro de los grupos.

 

Materiales

Dos salas grandes, una sala debe tener muchas mesas, cajas, sillas, etc.
Suficientes pañuelos para todos los participantes

Poder con sillas: tres tipos de poder

OBJETIVOS

Dar a los y las participantes una herramienta teórica para analizar los diferentes tipos de poder
Facilitar que las personas usen el “poder con los/as demás” y el “poder interior”

El Juego del Colchón (actividad sobre los pilares de la opresión)

 
Haga clic aquí para leer un artículo en inglés de ZNet de ZMagazine sobre cómo fue usada esta herramienta como parte de una reunión.
 
OBJETIVO
Explicar más claramente el principio según el cual el gobierno o la autoridad gobernante depende de la cooperación del pueblo y, por lo tanto, la no cooperación es una herramienta poderosa que incluso, bajo ciertas circunstancias, puede derrocar dictaduras.
MATERIALES

un colchón
papel para pegar en la pared
marcadores

Third-party Nonviolent Intervention

Presence Skills Arena

GOALS increase flexibility in applying presence; develop confidence and experience in responding to a range of difficult scenarios; practice using a video camera (optional). Time 2-3 hours Special Materials Video cameras (enough for a ratio of 1 camera for every 4-5 people) Video players (some way for the group to watch the video they captured, preferably at the same ratio) [optional] Presence Skills Arena Set of Instructions (below) HOW IT'S DONE In this activity, participants get to practice presence in several different contexts (different "stations" in the "arena").

Deterrence Relay Race

Goals give participants' insight into how third-party nonviolent intervention (TPNI) operates on the ground help participants learn more theory of TPNI. Handout: Set of Cards to run the relay race Handout: Suggested Answers to the Deterrence Relay Race Time 80-120 minutes Special Materials Set of cards for the Deterrence Relay Race How It's Done This exercise is based on the idea of "relay races," although in this version there is less emphasis on "winning" and more on learning. First, break groups into at least two teams (teams should be made up of 5 to 6 players each).

Intelligence Collection Drill

Tool Materials: Sheets for Actors of Intelligence Collection Drill GOALS deepen skills for relating to local players and practicing cross-cultural sensitivity; learn techniques for information analysis; increase security sensitivity; addressing issues of leadership in decision-making processes and how that looks and feels in-the-field. TIME 2-3 hours PHASE 1: BRAINSTORM SOURCES OF INFORMATION As warm-up for this exercise, have participants brainstorm: "What are sources of information for our team in the field?" Help participants come up with a fairly comprehensive list.

Three Applications - Relay Race

Handout: More about the three applications, including stories Example Scenarios: Three Applications of Nonviolent Action Scenarios (based in US situations) Goals help participants learn the theory of three applications of nonviolent action; expose participants to how to apply that to better understanding a range of situations Time 80-120 minutes How It's Done This exercise is based on the idea of "relay races," although in this version there is less emphasis on "winning" and more on learning.

Other Tools . . .

Sustaining Self-Care: a tool for personal awareness

GOALS

Banner Making for Activists 101

by Anne Ewing In demonstrations, vigils and anywhere else you are making a public statement, banners are terrifically useful. They tell who you are and either graphically or by their presence in a place, declare your intent. They also help you get a group together in a large gathering, or focus the TV cameras, as well as catching the eye of other, related groups that may want to associate themselves with you.

The State Budget Crisis

Instructions   GOALS increased comfortability with numbers and the state budgeting process; understanding of how budgets are an expression of our values; increased confidence their own programs to defend them; and greater understanding of the tension and pressure under legislators (empathy). 1.  Create crests in new groups.  Get into three’s with people they do not know. Have them draw a household crest that represents their group.  3 minutes.   TRAINER NOTE: This creates some group buy-in.    Have people share their group crests with each other.   2.