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Unruly Participants


Field of application

Dealing with diversity

Resume / Brief description


Different teams receive written envelopes with different categories of disruptive behaviour. Participants collect guidelines on how to deal with their behaviour, write these guidelines on a card and put them in the envelope. The teams pass the cards on in rotation and thus develop guidelines. In the evaluation phase, the team members discuss the cards with the guidelines and determine the five best suggestions.


Target group




Colleagues of the same company or work team

Colleagues working in intercultural contexts

Professionals of different area

Group size

There is a minimum of 3 participants and a maximum of 60 participants for this activity. The ideal size is 12-28 participants.


The activity has the objective


  • To develop strategies to deal with different categories of conspicuous and disruptive behaviour during teaching sessions.




  • Four envelopes
  • Three empty index cards per team
  • Stopwatch
  • Signal  


  • 25-45 minutes

Implementation - Guidelines





1.       Preparation


  • Select four categories of disruptive participants from the list.
  • Label each of the four envelopes with a theme.


 2.       Process


  • Instruct the participants.
  • Remember situations with unruly participants.
  • Invite participants to consider strategies for prevention.
  • Divide the participants into four approximately equally sized groups with a maximum of 6 members.
  • The teams sit in a circle to facilitate the exchange of envelopes.
  • Each team receives an envelope and three index cards.


First round (3 minutes)


  • The teams discuss guidelines on how to deal with the disruptive behaviour under discussion.
  • Guidelines are recorded on the index cards.
  • The Index cards are put into the envelope after the sound signal and passed on to the next team.

Second round (3 minutes)


  • The participants discuss about the next category of disruptive behaviour.
  • It is not allowed to look at the answers in the envelope.
  • New answers will be put back in envelope.

Third round (3 minutes)


  • Runs like the rounds before.

Evaluation stage


  • The cards in the envelopes are rated.
  • The five best proposals on all cards are selected.
  • One person per team presents and discusses the results.


3.       Debriefing


To debrief, you can reflect on the following question:


  • Which category was the most difficult for the participants?

Additional format/references

Thiagarajan, S. (2016). Interaktive Trainingsmethoden: Thiagis Aktivitäten für berufliches, interkulturelles und politisches Lernen in Gruppen (3. Auflage.). Schwalbach: Wochenschau Verlag.