METHOD 23: Ranking and Defining Exercises

Ranking activities require participants, individually or in groups, to prioritize competing alternatives and explain their choices. They are an excellent method for defining values, discussing conflicting points of view, and building consensus. For example, participants might rank the rights most important to them, choose which elements of society deserve most assistance from the state, or decide which strategies are most effective for improving child welfare.

1. Ladder Ranking: Give small groups of participants six to twelve statements on separate cards or post-its. Ask them to place the statements in vertical order of their importance, with the most important at the top of the "ladder." Ask groups with the same statements to compare and explain their results.

2. Diamond Ranking: Give small groups of participants nine statements written on cards or post-its. Ask them to arrange the statements in a diamond shape: the most important statement at the top, two statements of equal but lesser importance in the second row, three statements of moderate importance in the third row, two statements of relatively little importance in the fourth row, and the least important statement at the bottom. Ask groups with the same statements to compare and explain their results.

Examples of Method:

The Human Rights Education Handbook: "Activity 13: The Ladder of Torture," p. 87; "Activity 15: A New Planet," p. 88;

"Model 2: One-day Workshop," p. 120.

First Steps: "Sending Us to the Stars," "An Important Job," "The Imaginary Country,"[erc.hrea.org/Library/First_Steps/index.html]

Here and Now: "Needs and Wants," "A New Planet." [www1.umn.edu/humanrts/edumat/hreduseries/hereandnow/Default.htm]