The Cauldron

Credits Indira Cornelio, Alma Uguarte Perez Last Updated 2017-06

Even out the participation playing field. In a group setting, some people tend to speak more than others - this exercise raises awareness of that fact, while inviting participants who have not spoken as much as others to do so.

This session was developed for, and should be attributed to, the Institute for War & Peace Reporting resource “Cyberwomen: Holistic Digital Security Training Curriculum for Women Human Rights Defenders” under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 License

Materials to Prepare:

  • Pre-cut slips of paper (3-5 per participant)
  • Bowl or basin

Trainer’s Note

  • The Cauldron can be useful throughout your training – if introduced at the beginning of the workshop, you can use this exercise each time you ask the group a question during a session. That way, everyone has a chance to speak more often, and those who may be shy about answering questions are given the opportunity to get more comfortable.
  • This exercise will revolve around a group discussion, which can be about anything; however, it works especially well if the discussion focuses on a topic from the training. You can introduce a new topic, or you can use this exercise as a review for a previously discussed one – the choice is yours.

Running the Exercise:

Step 1 | Have participants sit in a circle, arranged around the bowl or basin – this will be the cauldron. Give everyone 3-5 slips of paper.

Step 2 | Explain the rules for the discussion: every time someone speaks, they must throw one of their paper slips into the cauldron. Once a participant runs out of paper slips, they can no longer speak.

Step 3 | Introduce a topic, and facilitate the discussion by asking a series of questions to the group. For example, if the topic is malware and viruses, you might ask the following:

  • What is malware?
  • What are some different kinds of malware that you know of?
  • Are there any operating systems that are immune to malware infection?
  • Has your computer or smartphone ever been infected with malware? If yes, how did you know?
  • What are some ways that we can protect our devices from malware infections?

Continue the discussion until everyone has run out of paper slips - you can reactivate the conversation if you wish, by moving on to a new topic and handing the paper slips back out to everyone.