The fishbowl conversation method allows a large group of workshop participants to observe, participate in, and learn from a discussion. The conversation is managed in a controlled format.
NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS
MODE OF DELIVERY
The first round of debaters can be informed, prior to the workshop, that they will be asked to open the fishbowl exercise, and be alerted to the topic of discussion. By allowing them some time to think about the topic, an active debate can immediately start, and the debaters will be able to better articulate their views. This will set the tone for the rest of the discussion.
The above guidelines were developed by the database contributors and draws on their own practical experience of workshop facilitation, as well as the following resources:
- Teaching Strategies: Fishbowl (2022). Facing History & Ourselves. Retrieved on 10 August 2022 from https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/teaching-strategies/fishbowl
The fishbowl can also be structured as a two-way conversation, focused on two clearly opposing views on a topic. In this format, only two chairs are used in the centre. An observer can join the debate by tapping the shoulder of the debater they want to replace when that person is not speaking. That debater then leaves the chair, allowing a new person (with a similar viewpoint) to take their seat. The discussion carries on from there.