Who is it for?
It can be used with any students from 8th grade and older. There are three general types of groups within educational institutions and charities that use StarPower:
Groups concerned about the ethical use of power. This generally includes peace groups, classes on racism, diversity, ethics, and almost any other course or activity concerned with making the world a better place to live.
Teachers of business, sociology, psychology, political science, economics, or history, who believe that it is important for their students to experience and understand power as a concept.
Those who are interested in teaching people who have power how to use their power in an appropriate manner.
What are the unique features of StarPower?
The most unique feature of StarPower is the strength of the impression it makes on the participants. It sneaks up on them. During the first two rounds, the atmosphere is very social. People are laughing, talking, exchanging chips, and having a good time. When the announcement is made that, “because the squares have worked so hard, they now have the right to make the rules for the game” participants begin to sense that more is going on than the exchange of a few chips. Then, when the Squares pull their chairs in a tight circle and begin whispering conspiratorially about the rules they want to make, the social atmosphere evaporates and the players become very earnest about the game. Without really being aware of it, “winning” the game has become very important. And because it is important, the actions, decisions and behaviors are important.
What does StarPower teach?
Each of us may be more vulnerable to the temptation to abuse power than we realize. Power can be amazingly seductive.
- To change behavior, it may be necessary to change the system in which that behavior occurs.
- Few people are likely to participate in an endeavor if they feel powerless.
- If rules do not have legitimacy, they will not be obeyed.
- What seems fair to those in power is not likely to seem fair to those who are out of power.
- Persons who are promoted rarely remember those they leave behind.
- Power is like fire, it can be used to help make the world a better place to live or it can be terribly destructive.
- In any system, there needs to be checks on power. If there are no checks, power will almost certainly be abused.