I just completed an activity/assignment on differences in my Multicultural Counseling course that I started doing 2 years ago. I call it the MASK project. The entire social experience is ideal in a live class setting particularly around the creation part of this project, but my students have made do with an online version when sharing and each and every time the response I get from them is one of appreciation, awe, and gratitude. One student wrote in her reflection after each member of the class shared their Mask, “This week, I learned a lot about my classmates through unconventional means. While sharing our masks I realized that the people I have been in Zoom meetings with for the last year are a lot similar to me in various ways, yet still so special in their own way.”
What is this project? Well, it is an opportunity for the students to bring out the child in them and get messy with glue, paint, glitter, paper, markers, textiles, textures, words, and symbols and create a Mask that represents them – both the front side of what they believe others see and the backside of the Mask of what others would not know about them by simply looking ( I provide plain cardboard masks and for online give them a template of a mask to use). In the live classroom, this was a time of building camaraderie and connection as students talked among themselves about their masks or aspects of their lives as they passed the hot-glue gun and markers around and allowed themselves to abstractly create an ‘image’ of themselves. Then when those Masks are completed, the fun and learning begin. Each has a chance to showcase their mask and share what makes them different/ unique. Collectively the power of sharing in this more indirect/ unconventional way brings forth so much compassion and humility in each person. It never ceases to amaze me how sharing their differences brings them closer together not just as a cohort but as human beings sharing this earth together.