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Exercise, Group Building Activity

Terminology - Being Politically Correct

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• Raise awareness of the importance of languages in a multicultural setting
• Underline the fact that different terms come from in different languages and are used with different nuances
• Remind that we will be using some ‘abbreviations’ that might not all the time be Politically Correct

Description of the tool

A. Introduction
The trainer explains the importance and value of words when working together, insisting that most of us will not be using our mother tongue. This question is all the more sensitive when dealing with a topic which is closely linked to people’s identities. To introduce a reflection on words and their power, we are going to listen to a story, then play some games on “common words”.
B. Story reading
1. The trainer reads the story of Red Riding Hood adapted from from Politically Correct Bedtime Stories by James Finn Garner. Copyright 1994 by James Finn Garner. Published by Macmillan Publishing USA.
2. After the reading, the trainer invites the participants to exchange on the story and on political correctness.
Option C1. Quiz
1. The group is divided in 5 subgroups counting 1 to 5. The trainer gives the instructions: each group is to come up with the wildest/ craziest politically correct term for a term they are being given in a small paper in 10 minutes:
- homosexual
- heterosexual
- old bisexual female
- young poor gay man
- mature middle class lesbian woman
2. Preparation time
3. Each group presents their expression.
4. At the end, the trainer starts a short discussion on Political correctness, underlining that the PC expressions can never been PC enough and are long and boring. Trying to be PC all the time can be detrimental to real communication.
Option C2. Drawing
1. The trainer invites now the participants to draw. They are distributed A4 papers and markers. They are to divide the paper in 4 rectangles. They are invited to draw or write what they understand, see or hear about the trainers’ statements.
2. The trainer, giving some time between each statement for
drawing, says the following:
• I have a pet
• It is a dog
• A small and friendly dog
• It is black and white

3. The trainer then shows a puppet dog. A short discussion follows about the images we all have of different word, even the simplest ones
D. Wrap up
The trainer closes the session insisting on the fact that different terms will be used with different meanings, that most of the time there will be no “bad” intention from the speaker, that some abbreviations will be used which might not be PC and that dealing with language in a multicultural environment is one of the many challenges of this group.


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SALTO cannot be held responsible for the inappropriate use of these training tools. Always adapt training tools to your aims, context, target group and to your own skills! These tools have been used in a variety of formats and situations. Please notify SALTO should you know about the origin of or copyright on this tool.

Tool overview

This tool is for


and addresses

Social Inclusion, Disability, Anti-Racism, EuroMed, Intercultural Learning

Materials needed:



30 to 45 min

Behind the tool

The tool was created by


(If you can claim authorship of this tool, please contact !)

The tool was published to the Toolbox by

Unknown (on 18 January 2006)

and last modified

17 December 2008

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