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Vocabulary of Values

Useful considerations
  • Works well proceeding the Spectrum of Opinions activity.
  • In-person activity that is also suitable for smaller online groups using breakout rooms.
  • Estimated time: 45 minutes.
  • Minimum in-person number: One facilitator and 5 participants per small group.
  • Some preparation is required if the activity is held in person (printing and cutting the value words packs).
How the activity works

Introduction: Explain that this activity encourages students to first reflect on their personal values and then come together in small groups to create a list of shared values. Students are asked to discuss what their chosen value words mean to them and navigate any differences in understanding or priorities with their small group. The groups will then explore a set of questions and scenarios and discuss how they would respond to those situations based on their discussion about values and behaviours.

Individual task: Students are given a set of values-related words and are asked to "choose the five words which matter the most to you right now". Students spend a short amount of time reflecting on the word pack individually and selecting their five words.

This is the list of words we used, you can add your own as required:

Successful Learning Fun Risk-taking Employment
Love Safety Support Respectful Friendship

Personal fulfilment








Hard working Community




Development New experiences

Small group work: The students will then form small groups (preferably with people they do not know) and are asked to agree on a set of shared values from their lists of personal values. Students need are encouraged to talk about why they selected their chosen words, similarities and differences among the group's choices, and negotiate a shared list of four words. The group is then asked to feedback on their choices to the wider group and summarise why they chose these.

Facilitator feedback: The facilitator should be taking notes on common words (perhaps writing them on a whiteboard or flipchart paper). The facilitator should ask questions, for example, to help draw out how the group decided on these values, which ones they disagreed on, and which ones they had different definitions or understanding of. The facilitator should reflect on the common similarities or differences, and highlight that we can have a personal set of values that may be the same/different from the shared values we have as a community. Share the Warwick Values and highlight any similarities between the groups' collective choices and the wider Warwick Values.

Questions and Scenarios: If possible, shuffle the groups and hand out the 'question and scenario' packs. Students take it in turns to choose a question or a scenario and discuss the answer as a group. They should factor in their personal and shared values, as well as the Warwick values, when thinking about their responses. Here is the list of the questions and scenarios we used. You can develop your own questions and scenarios too. The facilitator should offer support/guidance if a group is stuck.

Summarising: If time/the group size allows, ask each student to share something that they learnt/experienced during the session that was either new, surprising, challenging, or reassuring. If the group is too big or there is no time, ask students to respond on a post-it note and stick it on the wall before they leave.

Flag that the students may see future activities and resources related to Warwick Values, either through their department or through various other teams, and encourage them to participate.

In-person groups

In advance of the session:

 During the session:

  • Communicate the culture of the session: Non-judgemental, find out what we have in common, appreciate differences, respectfully listen, and discuss opinions.
Reflection on the experience of planning and/or delivering the activity

Submitted by Puja Laporte

What worked well? Students said they enjoyed taking the chance to reflect on their values and that the activity helped 'ground' them during a very busy Welcome Week. The chance to meet new people in a relaxed but facilitated environment was appreciated. The very short scenarios helped to prompt conversation and students filled in the gaps (as opposed to longer scenarios that leave no room for interpretation). A number of students reported that discussing the scenarios helped them see things from other people's perspectives which was helpful.

What did students feedback about the activity? Students fed back that they enjoyed participating in a social activity which was set during the day and which did not involve alcohol. Students new to the UK in particular reported enjoying the activity and that it had helped to understand more about shared expectations and values of the Warwick community.

Thank you to Jonny Heron and Puja Laporte for submitting this activity.

"This activity allows participants to explore their personal values and the shared values of the group, to navigate differences in understanding, and to discuss how they would apply their values to everyday scenarios they may face as a Warwick student."

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