As soon as Peter made the offer I thought of the neutral question, which is the key idea in step three of the Critical Response Process. Some people take to the neutral question like ducks to water, but others find it difficult to grasp the idea – so I was intrigued about the possibility of making a game of forming neutral questions.
Once I was settled back at the office, I sent Peter an email explaining how responders in CRP must frame their questions so that they don’t contain implied or embedded opinions. Less than 24 hours later he shot back a fully-formed game structure, and he generously agreed to let me post it to this blog – see below.
I like what Peter has done to put the fun in forming neutral questions. What I especially appreciate is the element of gathering multiple possibilities for a neutral question and the opportunity for each person to function as judge of what makes the best neutral question. I look forward to trying this out soon.
Stuck In Neutral
Players, in turn, are saddled with an embedded opinion and ask three to seven of their closest friends for help in formulating a Neutral Question.
Goal: To be the player who is chosen as stuck in neutral the most.
How to Play:
- Divide players into groups of 4 to 8 players.
- Each player is dealt one "Embedded Opinion" card, which they keep to themselves.
- A different color set of blank 3x5 cards is available for all.
- A Player is chosen to go first and reads their Embedded Opinion.
- The other players have 90 seconds to write a neutral question on their cards.
- As they are done, they put their questions face down in the center of the table.
- When all the questions are in the center, the player whose turn it is shuffles them up and then reads them aloud.
- The player then picks one as the most stuck in neutral.
- The writing player scored 10 points.
- The player to the left now reads an Embedded Opinion" and the game continues.
- The player with most points wins the game.
The Embedded Opinion player ranks the questions from the most neutral to the least. And players score 10 for the most and 9,8 6, 4, 2, 1 (if necessary).
Building the Game
- Make a set of "Embedded Opinions" on 3x5 cards - maybe 20 or so.
- Get 3x5 cards for Question Writing
- Pens for writing
- Sheet for keeping score.
- Print out rules for game.
There are a bunch of other ways to do this. One that comes to mind is to give players "Embedded Opinions" on cards and have them read one at a time. In small groups as above, a player to the left has to ask a question aloud. The group then gives it a thumbs UP or DOWN. If it’s UP the player scores 10. Down scores 0 and the majority rules with ties to DOWN.