Exploring Values

Rationale / Development

This activity was co-created with Pravah and the Community Youth Collective, in New Delhi, India. Both organisations work with young people to impact issues of social justice. A version of this activity is used as part of their ‘Get Real’ workshop, where students explore their ‘vyaktitva’ (character) over two days. It links to the ‘tatva’ (element) air, which requires students to ask themselves, “How well-informed is my worldview?” (Patel et al., 2013, 112).

After working closely with Arjun Shekhar, co-founder of Pravah, this activity has been run in a unit that prepares students for work-based placements in international contexts. It was used to help students reflect on their own values, as part of the ‘Vyaktitva Explorer’ and as an introduction to a module on ethical practice.


30 minutes


  • Large pieces of paper
  • Marker pens
  • Blue tak / tape

The Process

  • Write up on a whiteboard (or slide) the following statement,

“Violence is justified for a good cause”

  • Ask students to move to one side of the room or another depending on whether they support this statement or not. Allow students to arrange themselves ‘in the middle’. Ask random representatives from each ‘side’ to explain the reasons behind their position in the room.
  • Use students’ physical positions to divide them into approximately 4 groups. Ask each group to write on the paper, the values that underpin their argument.
  • Ask the groups to use these ‘agreed values’ to debate their particular position.
  • Bring the class back together and discuss the similarities and differences in the values recorded. Students may be surprised that there are so many similarities between the groups.
  • Ask the groups to rank the values. This is a much more difficult exercise and many groups will struggle to agree on this.
  • Discussion:
    • Why is this so difficult to do?
    • Was it difficult for all of the groups? Why or why not?
    • How do the ranking of values compare between groups?
    • Ask students to write their own top 3 values on a piece of paper.


Patel, A., Venkateswaran, M., Prakash, K. & Shekhar, A. (2013), The Ocean in a Drop: Inside-Out Youth Leadership, New Delhi: Sage.