Elephant Walk

Materials: Blindfolds, tables, chairs, textiles, other props


Exercise description

Before the workshop, ask participants to bring something to the workshop that they can use as a blindfold (a scarf, kerchief, T-shirt, etc.).

  1. Take the participants out of the room where the “labyrinth” will be. Give them the following instructions: “The goal of this exercise is to make your way through a labyrinth. You will all be blindfolded except for one person who will be the Eyes. You will have 12 minutes to agree on a strategy and to elect someone to be the Eyes. While making your way through the labyrinth, the Eyes is not allowed to touch other members of the group or to talk to them. You can do one test run in the labyrinth. This will be your chance to try out your strategy and to see if the signals and signs you agreed on are working.”
  2. While the group is strategising, construct a labyrinth in the workshop room: use chairs, tables and other props. Think about the path that the group has to travel, for example jumping over a chair, going under a table, getting past a hanging textile, etc., but make sure it is not too difficult.
  3. When the 12 minutes are up, the trainer brings the Eyes into the room to show and explain the path to them. It’s best to take the Eyes through the labyrinth once. The Eyes then go back for everyone else and take them through the labyrinth using the signals they agreed on.
  4. After their test run, the group has five minutes to improve on their system of signs for communicating. Let them know that new obstacles will be added to the labyrinth.
  5. While the group is strategising, make a new path that is somewhat more complicated than the previous one. Again, bring the Eyes in and take them through the labyrinth.
  6. While the group is making their way through the labyrinth, the trainers should get in their way. Start with small distractions and build up to more difficult ones: make noises, give false signals imitating the signs that the group makes, throw “bombs”, throw balloons at them, tickle them with a feather, etc. The opportunities are endless. The point of the distractions is to make the task more difficult and to increase stress levels, up to a reasonable point. Make sure that you don’t go too far and also that the task isn’t too easy.



Suggested questions for evaluating the exercise: What was this experience like?

  • How did you elect the Eyes?
  • How did you agree on the signals?
  • How did you make this decision?
  • How did the Eyes feel?
  • Were there other special roles?


Possible difficulties:

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