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17. Humility walk - experiential learning on empowerment, service, power, teaching

Humility walk - experiential learning on empowerment, service, power, teaching

This is a very simple but powerful ice-breaker, great conversation starter, for a first meeting with a class or even a workshop on any topic that has elements of service and/or power. I learned it during our First Year Experience program, but never found it anywhere online so thought I would share. Please note I have only ever played this game in Egypt, where it is not strange for male/male or female/female touching to occur for a game like this (considered like playing sports together).


What you need:

  • a scarf to use as a blindfold,
  • two sheets of paper,
  • some space in the room to walk (or use an outside corridor)


  1. Ask for two volunteers. Don't tell them what they will be doing.
  2. Blindfold one of the volunteer (hereafter referred to as blindfolded)  
  3. Explain to the other volunteer (hereafter referred to as guide) that they need to help the blindfolded go from point A to point B in the room, with the one condition that the blindfolded's feet cannot touch the ground - they must only step on two sheets of paper.
  4. Watch them work together. They may ask questions about rules (ignore them - it is ok to talk, to touch, etc. - the only rule is the feet must step only on paper from point A to B, without removing the blindfold).
  5. Have a reflective discussion, starting with
    1. Asking the blindfolded person how they felt blindfolded, whether they trusted the other person, whether they thought it could have been done a different way, whether they felt their needs were met
    2. Ask the guide how they felt, what they felt their responsibilities were, whether they think they could have done it a different way, what they think the implications of their approach are, etc.
    3. Open up the discussion to the rest of the participants who were watching. Often, they will have been calling out suggestions, many will have ideas on how it could have been done better.
    4. Take everyone through a cycle of reflection (Kolb's experiential learning cycle) "what happened?" (Description), "so what?" (What ideas can we abstract from this, in relation to things like teaching, empowerment, service, power, trust, etc. - often participants who are mature enough like college seniors or older will come up with these ideas without much prodding but you can start with one idea to get them going if needed) and "now what?" (After analyzing this experience, what lessons can we take back to our practice of e.g. Teaching, empowering others, etc.)
    5. Give the guide one more chance to say what they would do differently next time (this is to close the cycle - where reflecting on experience takes you back to improving your own behavior next time, now that you have thought about it more deeply).

To check out one context I have used this exercise in, check out:


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