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The Board Meeting
At the completion of the session, participants will:
Explain why providing contraceptive education can be a controversial issue,
List possible pros and cons of providing teens with contraceptive education,
Practice being in an advocate role for policy change in an organization, and
Practice making controversial decisions in a mock board of directors meeting.
60-75 MinutesNote: 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.
- Role cards for the board of directors meeting
- 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
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- 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.
- Post the board meeting groundrules on the blackboard or flip chart paper.
- Post the board meeting agenda on the blackboard or flip chart paper.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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
- Stage the Board Meeting (up to 45 minutes)
- 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?