LGBTQIA Civic Standards in a Cardboard Box
The Synchronous Potential of Playing a Board Game
Now that including LGBTQIA history has become law in several states, teachers are charged with the tasks of guiding students to develop civic competence, be participants in the learning process while making informed decisions for the public good as citizens of a democratic society in an interdependent world. Students must celebrate the diversity of similarities and differences in culture and personal expression among people – all inside a 45 minute per class time-frame. That’s a lot to ask of teachers and a lot to ask of students’ developing brains.
Scientific study has long acknowledged learning happens best in a relaxed, safe and, where possible, playful atmosphere. Wouldn’t it be great if putting these civic standards into action could be as simple as opening a box to play a game?
Psychologist, diversity teacher and long-time GSA advisor, Dr. Brian Kaufman, and his husband, musician, and arts educator Martin Swinger have developed a board game that has the potential to do all those things and more through playful, non-competitive cooperation. Also, the game is detailed enough that it can be played again and again, with different information and outcomes every time.
Rainbow Quest! is a brand-new board game designed for middle and high school students (and any age above) which introduces LGBTQIA history and culture while promoting collaboration and peer support. It offers students opportunities for respectful interpersonal interaction as part of the process of sharing with others about their own lives and learning about the lives of their peers and associates. Rainbow Quest! is a complete resource including everything you’ll need right from the start – just add players!
Individually or in teams, students roll dice to determine their movement around a path of colorful flags that present a variety of challenges related to LGBTQIA issues and offer opportunities for growth and understanding of life experiences in both personal and hypothetical situations. The goal of the game is not about ‘winning’ but about the journey. Schools, religious institutions, families, cultural groups, government agencies, and the courts all play an integral role in LGBTQIA’s lives. Rainbow Quest! introduces the core values of those entities and offers opportunities for reflection on supporting individuals and meeting their needs, as well as in the promotion of sustainable community, the mediation of conflict, and the consideration of public issues.
Rainbow Quest! draws on multimodal communication through a variety of activities performed during play of the game which include generating physical cues (acting out messages and information without using words - Charades), visual cues (drawing images to communicate ideas and words) linguistics (reading and interpreting quotes and multiple-choice challenges as well as comprehending and responding to situational quandaries). The playing process also encourages the thoughtful exchange of ideas and opinions, compassionate listening and empathetic consideration, honest sharing of authentic selves, and promotes meaningful dialogue about current and historic issues concerning LGBTQIA population and society at large.
Through multiple-choice and true/false challenges students become familiar with historic taboos, laws, religious restrictions, multi-cultural integration, and phobias. They are exposed to legal and cultural influences in past and contemporary times affecting the LGBTQIA community, both positively and negatively. Students are introduced to alternative cultures’ acceptance and endorsement (or disgust and rejection) of the spectrum of humanity - from royalty to common folks. They will learn that morals and societies change over time and across geographies in their views towards LGBTQIA citizens, from periods of banal acceptance, periods of notoriety and reverence, to periods of intimidation, threat, and danger.
Utilizing historic quotes from past LGBTQIA heroes and nemesis, students are sensitized to the ways in which human beings have viewed themselves, their communities and the wider world at different periods of time.
Rainbow Quest! provides anecdotal information about LGBTQIA heroes and nemeses, places in the world where persons of LGBTQIA identity are recognized and valued or live in peril and distress, and experience cultural environments that may provide shelter or be best escaped from.
Employing thoughtful prompts for sharing personal stories and discussing relevant situations, students are offered the opportunity to examine various forms of human behavior and develop an understanding of the relationships between social norms and emerging personal identities, the processes that influence identity formation, and the ethical principles underlying individual action. While playing Rainbow Quest! learners become more effective problem-solvers and decision-makers, discussing and comparing action options for addressing persistent issues and contextual problems encountered in public life.
Implementing clues about LGBTQIA culture and history that must be drawn on paper or acted out presents entertaining exchanges and supports investment in other players’ success at various modes of expression while developing a working knowledge of cultural resources and pedagogic memes from the past and present.
Rainbow Quest! is an enjoyable pass-time for any combination of players – no one has to be anywhere on the LGBTQIA spectrum to play or win. More importantly, Rainbow Quest! provides a vehicle for engaging in respectful exchanges about pertinent topics, inspires thoughtfully informed dialogue, offers exposure to cultural milestones and important leaders as it re-enforces safe community and peer appreciation – all inside one affordable box. Rainbow Quest! will be available in the Summer of 2020 – just in time for a fresh new school year.
If interested in pre-ordering this game or further exploring its possible fit with your classroom, please feel free to contact us! Call us toll-free at 855-2RQ-GAME (855-277-4263) and be sure to follow us on Facebook by clicking on the link below!