Magic Round-Tables


Heiner Benking

OPEN-FORUM, Berlin, Germany


We have been playing  during the last 10 years a "time-credit" dialog game -  not just with young kids, but also in intergenerational and cross- cultural dialog. Kids appreciated it immediately and it is a game with rules, so nobody can manipulate or be unfair.

The game is about empowering and giving voice (speaking time in form of tokens). After offers or proposals in an initial round players give speaking time to the person they want to listen to. Important is the communication of encouragement, which makes visible (embodies) the interest. Time can float, as when one person feels that it wants to hear more from someone, maybe accompanied by a question, the time credit can continue its journey. Until it is used up by speaking that time.

An example: with 10 players sitting in a circle, each gets as a depot, encouraged to give to others) 6 beads or straws. One person assumes the position of moderator, just making sure that after the round of "offers" only players can contribute, maybe sing or dance until "their" time is used up.


Some Outcomes:

Participants who are shy brighten up when they feel someone wants to listen, all learn to get a feeling for time they use up and how much can be said in a given number of minutes, that no a single person is able to dominate the group, and that there is a clear visible and a chance for another round with "magic" un-planned results.
The method is not only played with kids in various places since years, but at international events, in inter-generational-, cross-cultural-, inter-disciplinary environments, or DIALOG OF CULTURES events.

We have collected some reports of events under the title "RE-INVENTING DEMOCRACY" which should better start trying the earlier the better as it has to do with a personal process of listening, appreciation, checking the expectations and assumptions of others and learning to consider and include other viewpoints.

pls. check:






DIE SINNE  -   THE SENSES, Monday 18th, July 2005, Forum, 16:30 – 18:00, SPIEL PARTIZIPATIV -   Play as a form of participation


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