Observations vs. Evaluations exercise

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Play a one-two minute film clip. Something simple, with no words, one person doing something that is very open to different evaluations. (If anyone has a free film clip that works well for this, please post it!)

Ask: "Imagine you are describing this person to someone who has not seen this film clip. What would you say?"

List what the participants say on a flip chart or chalkboard.

If they give no or very few observations, say something to encourage them, for example: "What can you say that will give a clear picture of her?"

Very briefly describe the Observation vs. Evaluation differentiation (without necessarily saying that in Nonviolent Communication we suggest giving observations). Go through each item on the list and ask whether it is an observation or evaluation. Whatever answer someone gives, ask if anyone thinks it's the other. Let them talk it out. If they all agree, share why you also agree or why you disagree. Continue the conversation until everyone agrees. Remember, the theme of these Learner centered differentiation exercises is that they understand the differentiation for themselves as much as posssible.