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Learning Activities

All Learning Activities

The Board Meeting

Objectives

At the completion of the session, participants will:

  1. Explain why providing contraceptive education can be a controversial issue,

  2. List possible pros and cons of providing teens with contraceptive education,

  3. Practice being in an advocate role for policy change in an organization, and

  4. Practice making controversial decisions in a mock board of directors meeting.

Time

60-75 Minutes

Note: This lesson can be split into two sessions: one for preparing the students for the mock board of directors meeting and the second for the mock meeting and debriefing discussion.

Materials

  • Role name tags: Board President, Board Member (4), Organization Director/Principal, Youth (3), Parent (3), Family Life Educator, Counselor, Health Department Staff, Minister

  • Handout: Board President Directions

  • Clock for timekeeping
Note: Links on this page with the Portable Document Format icon require Adobe Acrobat Reader to view and print them. You can download this free software at: http://www.adobe.com/prodindex/acrobat/readstep.html

Preparation

  1. Arrange a circle of 16 chairs, one chair for each role player. If the group has more youth than roleplayers, create a second outside circle of chairs for additional youth.

  2. Post the board meeting groundrules on the blackboard or flip chart paper.

  3. Post the board meeting agenda on the blackboard or flip chart paper.


Procedure

  1. Introduce the Activity

    Tell youth that they are going to explore what it's like to deal with a real-world sex education controversy. Explain that they will take part in a mock board of directors meeting. A board of directors oversees the organization’s director/principal and establishes and modifies policies for the organization. In the board meeting, the role players will decide if their organization (school, club, agency) should add contraceptive education (education about various birth control methods like the birth control pill, Norplant, etc.) to their current family life education program.

    Tell youth that the main purpose of the activity is for them to experience how organizations make decisions about controversial topics, to observe or practice advocating for important opinions, and to understand the pros and cons of providing contraceptive education to youth.

  1. Distribute Role Cards and Name Tags

Explain to the group that there are 16 roles in this activity. If the group is comprised of more than 16 youth, explain that those youth without role cards are observers. Observers sit in the outside circle of chairs and quietly watch the interactions of the meeting participants. They should notice what parts of the meeting seem realistic and what parts seem unrealistic. Observers will be asked to share their observations after the completion of the meeting.

Distribute the role cards. Allow youth to ask clarifying questions about their roles. Distribute name tags and ask the students to put them on.

Make sure the "Board President" role card is given to a youth who feels comfortable in leadership roles and speaking in front of groups. Give the "Board President" the handout entitled: "Board President Directions" and instruct him/her to review these directions and to ask questions before the board meeting begins. These notes will provide the student with directions for leading the board meeting.


Facilitator Note:
To ensure that the student in the role of board president feels prepared, you can choose the youth for this role the day before and provide him or her with the role card and "Board President Directions" handout. The board president can also be played by the educator.

  1. Present the Board Meeting Agenda and Groundrules
Review the posted board meeting agenda with the youth. Explain that it is a simplified version of actual board meeting agendas of school and community-based organizations.

Board Meeting Agenda

I. Introductions (2 minutes)

II. Presentation of the Issue
  1. Purpose of Meeting (1 minute)

  2. Present Current Family Life Education Policy (3 minutes)

  3. Meeting Visitors Share Opinions (15 minutes)

  4. Board Members Ask Questions (10 minutes)

III. Board Members’ Discussion (5-8 minutes)

IV. Board Members Vote (2 minutes)

V. Adjournment (1 minute)

Explain that this board has only five people, one board president and four other board members. All other participants – students, parents, the minister, etc. – are visitors. Explain that the board president will run the meeting. The facilitator will be the timekeeper.

Present Board Meeting Groundrules:

Board Meeting Groundrules

  • Once the meeting begins, stay in character.

  • Only one person speaks at a time, so if more than one of you wants to speak at the same time, raise your hand and the board president will call on you.

  • If things get confusing or out of hand, the leader will call "Time Out" to help the group get back on course.

  • Be respectful, even if your character adamantly disagrees with another character

  1. Stage the Board Meeting (up to 45 minutes)

  2. Debrief the Activity

Thank the youth for participating in the mock meeting. Invite them to shed their character roles, and be themselves again. Lead a discussion using the following questions:

Questions for observers:

  • How was it for you to observe the meeting?

  • What parts of the meeting seemed realistic? What parts seemed unrealistic?

  • What did you learn from being on the outside?

Questions for roleplayers

  • How did you feel playing your role?

  • Was it difficult for you to be respectful of someone you completely disagreed with?

  • Did any of you change your mind as the meeting progressed?

  • Who was the most effective in influencing you? Why?

  • Who was the least effective in influencing you? Why?

Questions for all youth:

  • What have you learned from this activity that will help you in advocating for a cause in the future?

  • How effective and fair do you think boards are in making decisions for their organizations?

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