8 months ago

Attitude makes a difference

Riccardo started the

Riccardo started the third round. "This time we will do half and half. For the first minute you can choose to be rude, to ignore, or you can choose to show love, to listen. Then in the second minute, you swap; if you were rude, now you listen; if you were listening, now you’re rude. And to win the game, we have to do all this without getting caught. Ready?" They were ready. Riccardo invited the third and final volunteer, Eric to come in. He entered the room, his eyes following the lines on the floor until he got to where Riccardo was pointing, inviting him to give his presentation. "Eric, will you speak for two minutes and we will give you some feedback to improve your presentation?" "Alright," Eric looked at his notes, "I want to tell you about the match last weekend." Half the audience groaned in silence, the other half smiled, eagerly awaiting his story. Eric spoke for a while, looking at his classmates from time to time and, after one minute, noticed something was different and stopped speaking. "Eric, please continue," said Riccardo, "for two minutes please." "Something is going on," Eric said. "We have been playing a game with you," declared Riccardo. "I knew that," Eric said. "You got me very confused. Some of you were with at me at the beginning, and then you wouldn’t look at me. It was impossible to carry on talking. What were you doing?" 68

By way of answering that question, Riccardo led the students in a debrief of the three rounds of the game. He asked Lonny, who was still visibly angry, to share how he felt to be ignored. Lonny told his classmates that he had expected their support, that it’s hard to stand at the front of the room giving a presentation. He understood that something weird was happening because even his best classmates had looked away from him whilst he was talking and they had not laughed at the joke he had tried to tell. Riccardo invited the teacher Harriet to work with him, "Could you help me with the next stage? I think we are ready to suggest some ways we could make the presentations work out better." "Yes," said Harriet flicking her long blonde hair behind her ears as she prepared to take charge of her class again. She walked briskly to the front of the room to stand beside Riccardo who made himself a little smaller by lowering his shoulders. She spun round to face the class, her blue dress fanned out as she did so, and brought the class to rapt attention. Harriet began by acknowledging the class, "You do, in my opinion, you do already have almost enough skill in speaking English to give the required presentation." Then she admitted, "I had not realised what was holding you back, until now." She gave a nod in Riccardo’s direction by way of thanks. Together they asked what would have made the situation better. Harriet began, "What can we do that would make these presentations possible?" 69

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