Sharing common ground: Learning about oppression through an experiential game

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Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment


Teaching simulation, oppression, socioeconomic class, resources


This paper describes the use of a simulation to teach new social work students about social injustice, discrimination and oppression. The group exercise “Community Build” contributes to students and faculty expanding their dialogue about oppression and promoting students' sense of responsibility to effect social change. One hundred and ninety-three new graduate students participated in this exercise during the 1998 and 1999 fall orientations. At the end of the fall semester the students who participated in the exercise were compared to students who had not attended the simulation. Quantitative findings showed that students who had participated in this exercise felt more personal responsibility for social issues and more power to create change, while also being more perceptive to the effect of one's community than the students who had not participated in the exercise.