Self-Advocacy- A trait often belittled; verily, this attribute can be a boon for an individual. Much like social skills, self-advocacy is no less than an ability required to communicate needs, views and make allies. But how do you instill these in students?
Mentors like parents and teachers should inculcate representing and communicating wants and views in students, for them to be successful in life. There are plenty of ways to improve self-advocacy, and one of them is by learning through games.
Teachers can indulge students in games that make them communicate better and present themselves as confident and stronger individuals. The skill acquired is going to play an important role in shaping their adulthood personality, identity, and life, overall.
In this article, we will dig deeper, and talk about how self-advocacy can be a beneficial and highly needed trait for students, and how games can help them develop this attribute.
Self-Advocacy for students
Humans are social animals, and to become social, there is one trait that one needs to possess, and that is self-advocacy. This trait is often misinterpreted to be the quality of just expressing your views and ideas. But, in true sense, this attribute is also about making others understand them and comprehend their needs and wants. Society demands us to be connected, and to do so, students need to get into the habit of expressing themselves so that others can address them effortlessly.
Self-advocacy is knowing your strengths and weaknesses, strategizing to overcome them, and finally communicating your wants and necessities. Those students who are never encouraged to speak up for themselves reflect this in their behavior. Hence, indulging in activities and games becomes imperative to establish some aspects of self-advocacy, which are self-promotion, self-advancement, self-help, self-representation, self-advertising, and self-support.
How do games help in encouraging self-advocacy?
Games are known to improve motor skills apart from being academically beneficial. Some games induce self-advocacy in students. Besides entertainment, self-advocating games help students learn ways to be proactive and to find solutions to their problems. Games can also be remunerative in making children risk-takers, and independent, which further empowers them.
Self-advocate students learn skills beyond academics. Self-advocacy games inculcate social responsibility among students by making them learn the scenario as it is.
Fun games and activities to improve self-advocacy in students
A famous war-themed game, where each player gets a set of pieces that should be strategically moved to eliminate the other player’s pieces from the board. The game depends on the unique and well-decided moves of the players, as the ultimate goal of the game is to save the king from being eliminated.
2. The Game of Life
The Game of Life is a theme board game that mimics an individual’s entire life. Having originated in 1860, this game has all those important life events—birth, getting a profession, marrying, having children, insurance policies, fines, retirement, and finally, death of every player. This game makes players get salaries, pay taxes and penalties like that of real life. The latest version of this game has digital cards that mimic real-life debit cards. Much like the uncertainties of life, the student experiences all the stages of life in the form of a game.
Monopoly is a theme board game that lets children know the transactions and importance of money and assets. This is a multiplayer game where people transact money within themselves and with the bank. The game mimics the real-life scenario of buying, selling, and renting assets. The players need to roll down dice, find the number, and start moving around the board.
Students learn about actual transactions regarding assets—buying, selling, and renting—making them easy to do in real life.
4. Guess the Spat
This game needs a host to manage the whole scene; the teacher can generally take charge. The host selects an object and ten points to describe it. Now, the host states those related points as clues one by one in the class. The students need to guess the object. They can guess and raise their hands after any clue. The first one who can answer the object is the winner.
Children need to have a tremendous observing power to communicate their views and needs, thus being self-advocative. Guess the spat improves the observation power of students.
5. Bob the Builder
The host (or the teacher) makes a few teams out of the students. Each team is provided with a certain number of building blocks—lego, toothpicks, or cardboard. The host gives the challenge to build in a specific time. When the timer starts, the team members start building it. Whoever builds the best one after the time up will be the winner. This game works to build team spirit inside the students. They learn to stand for themselves as well as for their team members—which is one of the attributes of self-advocacy.
6. Circulated Question Circle
In this question game, students are formed in two concentric circles. Each student in an inside circle is paired with a student in the outside circle. Now the host poses an acquisition to the whole group. Each pair discusses their response with each other. After a couple of minutes, everyone moves a step to their right to end up facing a new partner. This process is repeated for all the questions that the host has. This game exposes perspectives on students to one another, which helps them socialize. Socializing builds up the self-advocacy power in students and helps them to communicate better with everyone.
7. Point Yours
The game begins by arranging puzzles and later breaking them up into pieces. Next, all the pieces are put into a basket, and mixed. Now, each student is given ten random pieces. Students are given time to check if pieces have formed any part of their puzzle. Later, students need to interact with themselves to find the right piece for their puzzles. The student who finishes the puzzle first is the winner.
This game depends on thinking and communication skills, but luck, too, plays a huge role. However, it increases the communication skills among the students, and they also learn to stand for others by helping them in the game. Engaging with each other and supporting them makes one feel empowered and confident, which boosts self-advocacy from early days.
We ordinarily value skills like confidence, awareness, empathy, etc. but, we misconstrue the importance of self-advocacy as an ability that makes us better communicators. Helping students develop these skills can be easy if they are engaged in the right activities, games being one of them. A game-based approach for teaching these vital attributes should be inculcated in schools to help students grow academically and make them more independent.
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