Columbian Hypnosis involves students working in pairs to lead one another through a space as one participant follows another participant’s hand. This activity requires trust, awareness, and non-verbal communication as students work together to move safely through the space.
Divide the full group–or lets the group divide itself–into pairs. Each pair decides who is Player A and Player B in their small group. Have partners check in with each other about any physical needs or limitations they might have today (e.g. “Getting up and down off the ground is hard for me”). Set space parameters so students know where they can move in the activity to keep their partners safe. Then, ask Player A to hold the palm of his or her hand about six inches from Player B’s face. Ask Player B to imagine that her or his partner’s hand has hypnotized him/her and that s/he has to follow it anywhere it goes, keeping the same distance between her/his face and the palm at all times. As Player A moves around the room, Player B follows. After a set time, switch and let B’s lead.
How did it feel to participate in this activity?
Which did you prefer—being the leader or being led? Why?
What does this activity have to do with trust? With power?
How does this relate to our larger inquiry?
Try moving in slow motion as you begin leading your partner?
What new ways of moving through the space can you challenge your partner with?
How are you keeping your partner safe as you move through the space?
After students all get a chance to lead or follow, repeat the activity, but this time encourage the follower to try to take power from the leader (while still following the rules of the game).
In small groups, have the leader hypnotize with two hands and/or other body parts (such as knees, feet, back of head, etc.).
Reading/Writing or Social Studies: Use this strategy to discuss how power/leadership functions within a story or historical event
Boal, Augusto. Games for Actors and Non-Actors. Trans. Adrian Jackson. New York: Routledge, 2002. Print.