Voices In My Head
Team Members : Amar Ravi, Joe Sujin
An interactive group experience designed to promote a healthy self- image in high schoolstudents. The activity emphasizes onactive self discovery rather than perusal of passive instructional media
Design an interactive experience based on a story with high school students as the target audience
After discussions with a group of 10 volunteers including post-graduate and undergraduate students, we found that one of the common problems they faced during in their high-school was insecurities around self-respect and self-image. Students in that age group often struggle with other’s opinions of their choices, academic performances, mannerisms and behavior. Members from the research pool repeated a question they’d asked themselves during their schooling, that of “What will he/she think about me doing this?”
We decided to focus on designing an experience that would force students to question whether peer perceptions should be a driving factor in their life choices rather than just building an instructional video to promote a healthy self-image. We believe this process of self-discovery would leave a longer lasting impression in the minds of students going through the experience
The experience has been designed in three parts
A storytelling session where the students are taken through a stressful day in the life of Ajay, the protagonist, a high school student giving his exams.
An interactive activity involving 5 participants and 2 sets of questionnaires
The Reveal discusses the findings of the activity and helps students understand the objective of the exercise
The story is accessible at this link - "People In My Head" - The Story
THE GROUP ACTIVITY
While the story highlights the irrelevance of chasing peer perceptions, it is the activity that really helps drive that point home
The exercise involves 5 volunteers, selected at random from the same class the activity is being carried out in. It is important to get 5 volunteers from the same class as it’s important that the 5 members are at least on talking terms with each other
One of these 5 volunteers will be assuming the role of the “test-taker” (P) much like our protagonist Ajay.
2 of these volunteers are designated “friends” (a) and (b) of the test-taker and are asked to move away from the room of the activity for a short period
The remaining 2 volunteers assume the role of “actors” (a') and (b') who will be provided with a direction in terms of their actions
The activity revolves around the answering of a questionnaire. There are 2 sets of questionnaires in this exercise. One of them will be answered by the “test-taker” and the “actors” while the other set is provided to the “friends” Both the questionnaires contain corresponding pairs of questions, with the same event being described in both
The “test-taker” (P) and the “actors” (a') and (b') are now briefed on their roles
According to the descriptions provided to P, a is his most favorite person in class while b is his least favorite person in the class. However, in reality, neither a nor b need to have any particular feelings towards the test-taker.
When a' and b' assume the roles of the mental images of a and b respectively, they would do so according to the test-takers perceptions of his friends.
a' would be supportive of the test taker, he would also be disappointed if the test-taker lets them down
b' would be unnecessarily hostile towards the player, distracting them with insults and discouraging commentary regardless of the situation.
Please note that these are mental images of a and b with an added positive and negative bias respectively and may not be representative of what a and b would do in a similar situation
While the actors and the test taker are being briefed on their roles, the friends answer the questionnaire like they normally would (independent of each other) and return to the room. There is no added bias in their answering process
The questionnaire answering session for the test-taker and actors is meant to be a performance of sorts for the entire class. For each question, the two actors have to influence the test-taker into picking the option that their biases direct themselves to and the test-taker essentially will play the role of a judge and chooses whichever voice convinces him better
Once the test-taker and the actors finish answering their questionnaire, the next step is a reveal and comparison of it with the answers filled in by the friends. The discrepancy between the 3 sets of answers is what highlights the point we want to drive home with this experience - you can never really predict what others think about you, and it is futile to stress over it and let that be a deciding factor in your life choices. The exercise has to repeated at least 3 times, each with a different set of people in the class to account for any instances where all 3 sets of opinions match.
We believe interactive activities that engage the students and empower them to realize the learning on their own leaves a longer lasting impression in their minds compared to any passive instructional media.