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IPE Faculty Development Training Learning Activity: Barnga

Barnga is a simulation game that helps players address challenges they may face when interacting with a different profession’s culture. Each group of players receives a slightly different set of instructions for a card game (ace is the weakest or strongest, spades are the trumps cards or there is no trump card, etc.) The winner and loser of each group will then rotate to play with another group; the players are not told that the rules of the game are different in this new “culture” and will be forced to resolve communication problems with people who do not share their understanding of the rules.

Developed by: Educational psychologist Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, PhD.

Total time needed for the activity is 90 minutes. Barnga covers IPE competencies in all four domains.

Materials needed:

  1. Some pencils and blank sheets of paper.
  2. A bell.
  3. A deck of cards for each table. Each deck must be modified so that it includes only the following cards: Cards 2-7 in each suit as well as all four aces.
  4. The instructions to play “Five Tricks” (Appendix 1, all ten versions of the game).
  5. A copy of the “Discussion Guidesheet” (Appendix 3) for the facilitator.