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Farmers Communication Exercise

Author: Vikki Illingworth, Pete Sayers (University of Bradford)
Description: This is an exercise in effective communication (particularly listening) and organisation skills. Participants are given partial information and must communicate with the group to find a solution to a problem.
Estimated activity time: 40 minutes
Type of media: Handout/s, Word document
Licence: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0
(This resource can be freely repurposed and reused)
Category: Group Work Listening and Interpersonal Skills Oral Communication
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Date: This information/resource was last updated in .

FARMERS COMMUNICATION EXERCISE

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This is an exercise in effective communication (particularly listening) and organisation skills. Participants are given partial information and must communicate with the group to find a solution to a problem.

The class needs to be divided into small groups of four, five or six members. There are card packs for each size. The exercise will take about 40 minutes.

Explain to the class that this is an exercise requiring effective communication. All the information they need, including the task is contained within the exercise. You will not provide further information except to let the class know how much time they have left. Let the class know that you will be monitoring the groups to ensure that they comply with the constraints of the exercise.

Each member of the group is given a card with some information on it. Each card has different information, and the group member must not show anybody else their card. Without writing anything down, the group must work out what to do by collaborating as a whole.

You will need to take an active role to ensure that no one writes down information or shows their cards to anyone else. It is probably a good idea to let the class know when they have reached the half way point and when they have only five minutes left.

If a group believes that they have got the answer, get someone to write this down and pass it to you. Explain that the task will continue until the time runs out and they are free to chat but to keep it quiet whilst the others are still working. Take other answers in the same way.

Once the time is up, get the first successful team to tell the rest of the class the correct answer. Ask them how they worked it out and organised themselves. How did they share their information? Ask the rest of the group what they thought about how they worked together, did they listen to each other? What might they do differently next time?


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