Games present opportunities for learners to work through structured experiential sequences together, within the safe space of imagined reality. Games often include simulated characters and social situations, and provide opportunities to weigh options and imagine outcomes. They create a space for reflection on the consequences of choices, the practice of putting values into action, and analysis of interpersonal processes that mimic real life. These simulations come in handy when young people face similar situations with peer group, family or community.
"What do you think she is thinking?"
Games are Learner Centred
Games serve marginalised or learning challenged individuals particularly well. Games are flexible, and use different ways of conveying information and ideas, and this allows participants learn in their own style and at their own pace. The same game played with different groups often yields different levels of discussion. Learner centered group work and interaction become especially relevant when young people with different levels of literacy and understanding come together.
Games are User friendly
Games use pictures, colours, graphics and other devices to attract and retain interest – especially when the group has low literacy skills or is comfortable in different languages.
"What kind of a violation is that?"
Games empower field trainers
For programmes that depend on local Facilitators or Peer Educators, games become especially empowering as they are less intimidating and easier to facilitate. Games and tools give confidence to hesitant trainers and enable them to raise these difficult issues effectively.
"My Mother in law would not agree!"
Games reduce hierarchy
Games allow educators to play at an equal level while still providing facilitation. As soon as a game begins, the traditional hierarchy of the classroom (or family) is set aside. This is an useful educational dynamic, since the educator (or the parent) is not likely to be around when the learner makes most of the critical decisions in life.
"No facilitators needed here, thank you!"
Games break taboos
The fun, non threatening atmosphere of games fosters active and positive participation. It supports open dialogue, listening and clarity. Games create a safe space to honestly express ideas, fears, and questions, making it easy to discuss taboo and sensitive issues such as sexuality, violence and fundamentalism. They help overcome the common barriers of silence, discomfort and polarised emotions.