These ideas and suggested activities and questions are resources to support you in creating the OSDE units for your own context.

Oppression and Domination (Red Shoes)

This is an excellent introductory unit as it deals with issues that are relevant to the relationships we need to foster for the spaces to be 'safe'.

PRESENTATION: redshoespresentation.ppt

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  • PLEASE read the recommended procedures below



We generally use two games to set the scene. One is about organising the groups according to the month and then day of birth (the aim was to create a 'team' atmosphere). The second is a stand up/sit down game that introduced the idea of the space. The prompts are: Sit down if...1)you have never ever been to China; 2)you have never ever eaten ice-cream 3)(tell students that now it will become more serious)you have never ever been hurt; 4)you have never ever been husrt by words; 5)you have never ever been hurt by looks; 6)you have never ever hurt anyone; 7)you have never ever been left out; 8)you have never ever left anyone out.


Explain that this lesson is going to be different as it is a safe space session. Invite them to create a safe space where no one is left out, where there is a good atmosphere and where no one can tell others what they should think (slide 2). Tell them that you cannot create the space on your own, that you need their help and that there are three major challenges for creating such space: staying focused, thinking hard and working as a team (slide3). Explain the procedures of the activity: engagement with stimulus, thinking time, sharing ideas, making questions, voting on a question, discussing the question, last words (slide 4). The aim of this step is to gather support and commitment for the collective creation of the space.


Explain that you are going to show a story that has no words. Show each slide of the story.


Invite them to draw or write their thoughts about the story on this handout. The aim of this procedure is to give sts a chance to clarify their thoughts. nEXT, invite them to share their ideas in pairs (using the handout). The aim of this procedure is to allow for individual communication of ideas.

Invite each pair to negotiate one question that they would like to discuss staring with 'I wonder' (using handout2). Depending on the context, you can write one or two questions yourself to open the spectrum of themes and propose them for voting (in case the group is too focused on specific aspects of the theme).


Organise the voting system - either by cascading groups or general voting. Ask sts to vote with their eyes closed and say that they cannot vote to their own question. Explain that the aim is not to win more votes, but to choose a very interesting question.


Allow some time for the groups to discuss the chosen question. Depending on the group, you can have a collective discussion about the issue. Remember that the objective is NOT to arrive at a collective agreed answer, but to explore different angles and perspectives and allow students to make their own judgements. Therefore it is important that you play a devil's advocate role if you feel that consensus is being reached.


Bring the whole group together and invite them to share their last words individually (they can pass if they want to). Here it is useful to create a different atmosphere to signal a rupture with regular classroom 'inquisition' and the expectation of the teacher for the 'right answer' - either by changing the physical organisation of the group (e.g. sitting on the floor) or by passing an object. It is important that you look each person in the eye when they are speaking. Echoing what each person says also (generally) helps with groups that are starting with the methodology.

Allow at least 10 minutes for students to fill in the feedback form.

You are invited to share the outcomes of this session with us as an action reasearch project. Please send it to:

School of Politics and International Relations
University Park
Nottingham, UK
e-mail: osde@osdemethodology.org.uk