Overview

This activity is designed to introduce students to the value of asking the question 'who am I?' Through work both in small groups and as a class, students will discover that the answer to this question is neither straightforward nor simple, and that there is value in not knowing who you are.
The class starts with students getting into groups (by choice or predetermined by the instructor). The instructor plays Video Clip 1, afterwhich students engage in a short discussion. Each group is given one typical answer to the question 'who am I?'. Groups are then tasked with: (1) coming ...

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This activity is designed to introduce students to the value of asking the question 'who am I?' Through work both in small groups and as a class, students will discover that the answer to this question is neither straightforward nor simple, and that there is value in not knowing who you are.
The class starts with students getting into groups (by choice or predetermined by the instructor). The instructor plays Video Clip 1, afterwhich students engage in a short discussion. Each group is given one typical answer to the question 'who am I?'. Groups are then tasked with: (1) coming up with a list of ways in which a person can define themselves this way, and (2) how this definition is lacking, false, or misleading.
For the group work, groups choose: a 'notetaker', who will be in charge of writing everything down; a 'moderator', who will keep the group focused on the activity; and a 'presenter', who will go to the board with the group notes and present to the class what the group summarized.
After all the groups are ready, one by one, each group comes to the board and adds their theme to the concept map of self, writing down how someone can/cannot be defined by their specific response. The class discusses each response as it is presented, and the instructor acts as a moderator for the discussion. The instructor wraps up the class by discussing how the perception of self is not based on what we normally think, and how perhaps we cannot really answer this question, followed by Video Clip 2 discussing the value of not-knowing.

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Objectives

To raise awareness about how we normally identify ourselves and how these answers are flawed. To challenge students’ self-definition and make them aware of the constraints and limitations of thinking they know who they are.

Context and requirements

Level College/First year university
Discipline Social Sciences
Activity Content Perception of self
Technological Requirements None
Best Use Practice

Author’s Notes

Benefits

This activity helps students become more self-aware of ‘label’ crutches used in society, and will help them see past themes to have a more mindful understanding of the self.

Challenges

Students may find it difficult to challenge particular themes of identity, either because they resonate too closely with them or the idea is too abstract.

Tips

Working in groups helps to generate ideas and brainstorming. Providing real-life exmples can help students understand more abstract themes.
Get students to draw typical answer to the question ‘who am I?’ out of a bag so that the asissngment of answers to each group is more random.

Activity Pedagogical Components

Class Discussion

The class discusses Video Clip 1, providing examples of ‘self’ and ‘I’ and what it means to them.

Group Discussion

Each group is given one typical answer to the question ‘who am I?’. Groups are then tasked with: (1) coming up with a list of ways in which a person can define themselves this way, and (2) how this definition is lacking, false, or misleading.

Concept Map

One by one, each group comes to the board and adds their theme to the concept map of self, writing down how someone can/cannot be defined by their specific answer to the question ‘who am I?’. The class discusses each response as it is presented, and the instructor acts as a moderator for the discussion.

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