At the beginning, the group will be divided into two subgroups whereby four to five students will sit in a small circle in the middle. This circle will be surrounded by the rest of the group who will observe them from the outer circle. One can imagine a fishbowl with observers. The observers (up to 20 students) will analyse the discussion process but are not allowed to speak unless they occupy the “hot seat” which is in the middle.
Didactical description of the method
- Setting up the stakeholder groups:
Students will be grouped according to their beliefs towards a controversial topic. By means of example they could be lined up depending if they are „for“, „neutral” or “against” globalisation. The facilitator will make sure that the groups are of a similar size.
Students get sufficient time to prepare their arguments in the previously assigned stakeholder groups. At the end of this discussion process, each group will vote for a representative who will enter the inner circle.
The inner circle (debaters) will then discuss the problem / controversial topic, whereby persons from the outer circle (observers) are not allowed to interfere. If they desperately want to say something, they can occupy the hot seat which is a seat left empty in the inner circle. Alter having given the input, this person has to leave the seat again and re-joins the observer group.
After the discussions, the group gathers in a plenary session, where impressions can be shared and feedback can be given. Participants should also say if their view on the topic has been changed by this process.
The facilitator has to make sure that there are enough chairs for everyone, which will be arranged in two concentric circles. In the file attached you will find an image of the two concentric circles.