Social Movement Strategy Games
Social movements play a very important role in any society, especially in our democracy.
This reality is often not reflected in our media nor in most textbooks.
So, how can you help your students appreciate this importance?
(And if this appreciation leads to a curiosity which then leads to civic engagement, so much the better!)
Strategy Games can help you accomplish this goal!
groups of students (in constituent groups) considering whether actions using humor or violence would be more effective at influencing their beliefs about a social issue
other groups of students (in activist groups) considering which actions they should take to more effectively impact and influence working parents, small business owners, front-line police officers, or newspaper reporters.
These are the dynamics of social change.
Everything your students read is based on an author’s or reporter’s perspective. These perspectives are usually not acknowledged or even considered.
Strategy Games will flip this dynamic.
Strategy Games will give your students the chance to look at an important social conflict (either historical or contemporary) from many different perspectives.
Very often, we understand power as something the ruling few hold. The reality, however, is that the power held by any ruling group or dictator is dependent upon the support and cooperation of various constituencies within that society.
The most ruthless tyrant is dependent on the military or the secret police to carry out their orders, the media to report only what they want reported, their “pillars of support” to provide financial backing, the workers at the factories to keep working and much more.
By participating in a Strategy Game, your students will gain new perspectives on where political power lies and how regular people use this power to create change.
As activists, they will be asked to design different actions (based on their social change philosophies) by considering how their actions will influence different constituencies. Or as part of a constituent group, they will consider how they would respond to different actions taken by activist groups.
There is no “right answer” or predetermined conclusion we are asking them to come to.
Creativity, thoughtfulness, compassion and the ability to think from someone else’s perspective will be the skills that determine how much your students will learn and how much fun they will have.
We can create a Strategy Game for any social conflict or social movement you would like your students to learn more about. It will be easier if there are already resources they can use to research their roles and learn more about the conflict (books, videos, online articles, etc.). Or we can create the resources ourselves and then make them available for other teachers to use on this website.
To Get Started
- review the information on The Basics page.
- then, fill out the form at the bottom of this webpage
I will contact you and we can begin planning your first Strategy Game together.
- If you teach at a high school or college in the San Francisco Bay Area, I will come and help you set the Game up and facilitate it.
- If you are located outside the Bay Area, I will help you create your scenario and roles, and then coach you as you go through the Game with your students.
- If you are a college professor and have a departmental budget for outside resources, you could fly me in for a week or two, put me up in a hotel or home, and I will work with a group of professors in your department to create a portfolio of Strategy Games they can all use in their classes.
I charge nothing to help you learn this process. I am doing this because I believe that we need engaged citizens if we are going to keep our democracy. This is my contribution to that cause.
If you have financial resources at your disposal and want to make a contribution, that would be greatly appreciated. And if you have any funding sources that might be interested in supporting a project like this, please introduce us!
To get a better understanding of how a Strategy Game might work, visit this page with a overview of the general progression each strategy game might go through.
You can also download a flyer of the information above for you to email to teachers or professors in your department or to other teachers or professors you may know who might be interested.