Racism is to behave towards others as if they would not be the same human beings as you.

Dan Paunescu,
17 years. Romania

Session 8.3

Racism, anti-Semitism, intolerance and xenophobia, what does it mean to me?


A way of encouraging a group to think about the issues of the campaign 'all 'different - all equal' with each other is to use the Silent Floor Discussion. The basic rule is that no one speaks during the exercise.


• 20 Coloured markers (thick)

• Flipchart paper or wall paper

• Paper tape


1.5 - 2 hours

Group size

10 - 20 people


Everybody sits in a circle around the 4 big sheets of paper on the floor. Write than the following words in large letters on the paper.


Depending on the size and interest of the group, you can also take 2 or 3 words. Ask people to write down everything what comes in their mind or what they associate with the word. They can also respond to something that has been written by somebody else. They can give counter-arguments, make links, ask questions

etc. The basic rule is: NOBODY SPEAKS.

It is alright if more people are writing at the same time. Indicate that the discussion ends after ten minutes or at the moment that nobody is writing any more. After the silent session there is time to continue by a verbal discussion. Some questions can be posed, or some explanations can be asked about things written on the paper. The discussion can explore the topics of the session and people's thoughts and feelings about it and/or their feelings about the silent discussion approach.


This session can be especially helpful for people who take some time to consider their reactions or for whom speaking in a large group is difficult. A 'Silent Floor Discussion' can be a very useful introductory exercise to a topic.

< previous page