Some Ideas about Teaching



The 'Blind Walk' - A Quality Starter


Have you ever tried a 'Blind' Walk?

There are in fact a number of 'trust games' you can play - for instance, going round shaking the hand of everyone in the class and giving a genuine, pleasant greeting; going round the class introducing a person you didn't really know before to other members of the class; or falling backwards, trusting two people behind you to catch you; or sticking a thing/ historical person/animal on everyone's back and they have to go round and ask questions of other people until they guess it (but no one can tell them) etc. Sometimes I play the 'personal walk' (from the film Dead Poets Society).
Depending on the class, you may like to start with one or two easier 'warm-up' games before you do the 'blind' walk.

But the game I am always working towards, and which is by far the best, is the 'blind' walk:

Take the pupils down the hall/gym.
Put them in pairs with someone they do not particularly know.
Explain the game:
One person has to pretend they are blind by closing their eyes and keeping them tight shut.
The other has to be their guide and has to walk them round the hall. They must, of course, guide them in and out of the other 14 couples who are walking round the hall also.
Show them how to hold the other person for this with the greatest security - one arm round the shoulders or waist, the other taking hold of the near wrist. Tell them also to start off very slowly (to build gradually the other person's confidence) but encourage them to go faster and faster until - if possible - they are running with their 'blind' person. 'Talking them through it' whilst guiding them is a key skill.

However, explain strictly that, of their 'blind' person crashes into or so much as touches anybody or anything, they are 'out' and they must go and stand at the side and watch. It is the guide's over-riding task in the game to keep their 'blind' person safe.

Equally, it is the 'blind' person's task to keep their eyes firmly shut. Someone who peeps, squints through pretend-closed eyes, or loses their nerve and opens their eyes is also 'out' and must retire from the game.

After a while, swap over and do it the other way round. This is often the better session, because the least prepared to be guided have usually offered to be the guide first .

Afterwards, talk with the pupils as a group about how they felt, and if it has taught them anything. Many will say that they have learned something about what it must feel like to be blind; most will be excited to chatter about how they felt. Ask them what they have learned about trusting others.

If you can (if there is an odd number of pupils), take part yourself. It is a very unnerving experience to entrust yourself to someone else in this way, and I find that teachers usually find it exceptionally difficult to do so.

In the context of a lesson on WWI, of course, you could then relate it to the Sargent picture of soldiers coming in blinded in a gas attack.

Posted on: Jun 10 2004, 07:47 AM





To cite this page, use:   CLARE, JOHN D. (2004/2006), 'Blind Walk - A Quality Starter',  at Greenfield History Site (