Take a Step Forward

Teaching Staff

60 Mins

  • To raise awareness about inequality of opportunity
  • To develop imagination and critical thinking
  • To foster empathy with others who are less fortunate

Group discussions Reflection of the experiences and insights.

Individual and group reflection: Participants are encouraged to reflect on their own opinions and share them with the group.

  • Increased awareness of inequalities
  • Critical thinking to analyze and interpret the world from other angles

Take a Step Forward


Role cards (paper, pen, photocopier, scissor), soft/relaxing music, music player & speakers, hat, a long open space (a corridor, large room or outdoor)


– Read the instructions carefully. Review the list of ‘situations and events’ and adapt it to the group that you are working with.

– Make one role card per participant. Copy the (adapted) sheet either by hand or on a photocopier, cut out the strips, fold them over and put them in the hat.


– Create a calm atmosphere with some soft background music. Alternatively, ask the participants for silence.

– Ask participants to each take a role card out of the hat. Tell them to keep it to themselves and not to show it to anyone else.

– Invite them to sit down (preferably on the floor) and read carefully what is on their role card

– Now, ask them to get into the role. To help, read out some of the following questions, pausing after each one, to give people time to reflect and build up a picture of themselves and their lives:

  • What was your childhood like? What sort of house did you live in? What kind of games did you play? What sort of work did your parents do?
  • What is your everyday life like? Where do you socialise? What do you do in the morning,in the afternoon, in the evening?
  • What sort of lifestyle do you have? Where do you live? How much money do you earn each month? What do you do in your leisure time? What do you do in your holidays?
  • What excites you and what are you afraid of?

– Ask people to remain absolutely silent as they line up beside each other (like on a starting line for a race).

– Tell the participants that you are going to read out a list of situations or events. Every time that they can answer ‘yes’ to the statement, they should take a step forward. Otherwise, they should stay where they are and not move.

– Read out the situations one at a time. Pause for a while between each statement to allow people time to step forward and take note of their position relative to one another.

– At the end, invite everyone to take note of his/her final position. Then, give them a couple of minutes to come out of the role, before debriefing


Start by asking participants about what happened and how they felt about the activity. Then go on to talk about the issues raised and what they have learnt.

  • How did people feel stepping forward – or not?
  • For those who often stepped forward, at what point did they begin to notice that others were not moving as fast as they were?
  • Did anyone feel that there were moments when his/her basic human rights were being ignored?
  • Can people guess each other’s roles? (Let people reveal their roles during this part of the discussion)
  • How easy or difficult was it to play the different roles? How did they imagine what the person they were playing was like?
  • Does the exercise mirror society in some way? If so, how?
  • Which human rights are at stake for each of the roles? Could anyone say that their human rights were not being respected or that they did not have access to them?
  • Which first steps could be taken to address the inequalities in society?


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