|Assertive or Aggressive Icebreaker|
|By Joe Bouchard|
The following is an installment in "The Bouchard 101", a series featuring "Ice Breaker's" designed to promote training awareness and capabilities in the corrections industry.
Most communications modules eventually come around to the question: “Where do you draw the line?” Specifically, when is someone standing up for themselves and when does that become bullying? The corrections profession requires that we act in a firm but fair manner. Though perception is in the eye of the beholder, we need to determine in general the difference between assertive and aggressive. What is firm? What is aggressive?
The following icebreaker needs no materials at all – just a facilitator who can tell short stories and a room full of participants.
First, ask the audience to define the words assertive and aggressive. Adopt and mix the varying answers then offer the following definitions if necessary.
Assertive - Inclined to bold or confident
Aggressive - Inclined to behave in an actively hostile fashion
Then ask participants the difference between these terms.
Next, inform the audience that you will tell a few quick tales and they must state whether the main character acted in an assertive or aggressive way. Here are a few examples:
I created this icebreaker for a presentation for the Pennsylvania County Corrections Association on the topic of bullying in corrections. The stories were based on slightly modified experiences in my life. The exercise went well, as most of the 100 professionals in attendance responded in some way. Thanks to Deputy Warden Simmons for inviting me to the Keystone State. Special thanks for the professionals who helped me field test this icebreaker.
Joe Bouchard is a Librarian employed with the Michigan Department of Corrections and a collaborator with The International Association of Correctional Training Personnel (IACTP). He is also the author of “IACTP’s Corrections Icebreakers: The Bouchard 101, 2014”. The installments in this series include his opinions. The agency for which he works is not in any way responsible for the content or accuracy of this material, and the views are those of the contributor and not necessarily those of the agency. While some material is influenced by other works, all of the icebreakers have been developed by Joe Bouchard.
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