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The End of the Beginning

Evaluative Report

For Master of Arts in Applied Imagination in the Creative Industry

By Tia Goonaratna

28th November 2022

How can Chaotic Good inspired game-based learning

build emotional resilience in the late adolescence of Sri Lanka?

Introduction

The purpose of this project is to instil emotional resilience with game-based learning within the late adolescents of Sri Lanka that would build interpersonal skills for them to coexist in society, and ultimately, set a new precedent of open communication in Sri Lankan culture.


In the collectivist family unit of Sri Lanka (Scroope, 2016), I have observed the strong culture and tradition of ‘cut-off communication’ between youngsters and elders resulting in gatekeeping information. With the premise that humans are innately kind and coexistence is needed for survival (Bregman, 2021), this project is aimed at late adolescents (18 - 21) of Sri Lanka as key stakeholders as they enter society creating different relationships for the first time (Frankel, 1999) at this age. With the advancement of technology leading to lack of social interaction within the family unit (Chowdhury, 2022), late adolescents are underprepared as their interactions are determined with limited observations and guess work, as shown by the initial survey, resulting in lack of emotional resilience to coexist in a conflicting society (Cherry, 2022).


Empirical evidence derived as a lecturer at the Academy of Design (Sri Lanka) in Human Centred Design based on empathy (IDEO.org, 2015) further confirmed the stakeholders receiving advice on ‘what to do’, but not ‘how to do’, and that the stakeholders need relatability and hindsight from their adults to build their emotional resilience. Rasini Bandara, expert psychologist, encapsulated this with ‘we don’t make mistakes. We take decisions.’


I empathise with the lack of emotional intelligence and resilience at that age, and want to equip the current generation in the hopes that they would change this precedent and break the system of gatekeeping information to positively coexist in conflicting environments. My objective with this research was confirmed when I had the initial focus group with stakeholders discussing their educational experience.


Instead of focusing on extreme change overnight, I focused on gradual change, which could create a new ecosystem that would move away from the old behaviour conditioning (Wickramasinghe, 1958) and affect the neurolinguistic programming of the current late adolescents who, in the rebellious nature, are ready to absorb new information (Anatole, 2013).


Research and Findings

The research methods for this project use a combination of techniques including, but not limited to:

1. Qualitative research with stakeholders to delve deeper into their real-world experiences, how they absorb information, and with experts to understand human behaviour focusing on late adolescents.

2. Literature reviews of human kindness and empathy, adolescent psyche, theories such as Game Theory, game-based learning, authentic relating, non-verbal communication, psychological aspects of this project, and already researched methods of bridging the generation gap. Further explanations are at: www.tiagoonaratna.com/blog (password: thunderdome).

3. Discussion among friends, family, and strangers in producing ‘what if’ situations to determine new methods of answering this question that has been asked before in academia.

4. Autoethnographic and reflective practice approaches were utilised in two forms: I have used my own experience of having an above-average positive relationship with my students and I have analysed my own upbringing of Chaotic Good moral values needed by late adolescents (Moshman, 2005).

5. Expert verification of findings with Rasini Bandara, a Sri Lankan psychologist focusing on emotional intelligence and has experience with the late adolescents of Sri Lanka.

With the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka and as I’m based in London, I reached out to my former university (Academy of Design, Sri Lanka) to help me facilitate a space to conduct my interventions. The interventions, inspired by my own bias of using games in my work as a lecturer, used more objective focused games, which were inspired by 36 Questions to Fall in Love study (Jones, 2015) and Game Theory (Pastine et al., 2017). Jones’ study was based on questions to make real connections, and Game Theory is about the interaction between individuals to coexist using actions and reactions. Rasini Bandara confirmed that using games to relate to late adolescents is efficient as it creates an impactful environment for content to be absorbed. The games used were Line Game combined with Question Game - asking personal questions to build connections, Trivia - to connect generations through new knowledge, Crisis Solving - to establish teamwork, and Teach Something - to show that knowledge is not exclusive to adults. Through this process, it was evident that using games to build emotional resilience has positive results by creating deeper emotional bonds, breaking first impression barriers, and humanising labels we carry.

As the stakeholders were known to me prior to the interventions (limitations due to the economic crisis), one of the key unexpected outcomes from these interventions, as mentioned in feedback, was that my presence established a safe environment with no negative impact for them to take part in the interventions.


As this is a substantial declaration and has a bias-based impact on the results, the following intervention assessed to what extent my presence in the room influenced creating a safe environment for them to make real connections with others. This intervention, conducted in the form of a workshop, taught Human Centred Design to a group of students that have never met me, nor I have met them. The intervention in this instance was the insertion of me as a person and resilient building games, and how these aid in creating a safe environment to absorb content. The feedback received generated new knowledge that my influence impacts in three ways: my personality traits when teaching the class, the content I teach, and how I teach.


Here, my research had a new focus and highlighted two questions; what is it that I bring to the environment personally to make it safe and what comes out of my content that makes them more emotionally resilient?


Analysing my traits by feedback from my former students, I created a framework of nonverbal communication (Cherry, 2022), authentic relating (The Five Practices of Authentic Relating, n.d), Chaotic Good (Chaotic Good, n.d) mindset, and content of Human Centred Design (IDEO.org, 2015) that answers the three questions I was focused on.


The nonverbal communication aspects of facial expressions, gestures, paralinguistics, body language and posture, proxemics, eye gaze, haptics, appearance, and artefacts (Cherry, 2022) and the principles of authentic relating (welcome everything, assume nothing, revealing your experience, own your experience, and honour self and others) worked as a framework to dissect my behaviour. As I associate with Chaotic Good, the Dungeons and Dragons moral alignment, which defines itself as a free-spirited person who will always for act out of kindness (Chaotic Good, n.d), I filtered my personality traits through the Chaotic Good attributes and discovered that my personality fits its philosophy. The expert psychologist, Rasini Bandara, further stated that the world is in a chaotic state, and the implication that optimism can exist is a much-needed lesson for my stakeholders as well as that being the ideal self is not an easy concept to maintain, and Chaotic Good gives that freedom to healthily rebel. Further self-reflection showed that Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997) (a TV show I mould my life by) also shaped me to be who I am always seeing the big picture, to be selfless in being kind, and how to stand up for others which is highlighted in my self-reflections. The Human Centred Design aspect contributed as the content I teach is how to understand yourself, and how to understand others. Further analysis of this framework, and student testimonials, showed these attributes do not work in a hierarchical structure, but in a circular and networking structure where the attributes work holistically.


I also realised that I have questioned my teaching methods throughout the years, and with new information derived from this research, I have more confidence in owning my personality and behaviour. Sri Lanka, being a conservative country, has distrust with anyone who looks different as observed throughout my life there. With my pink hair, face piercings, visible tattoos, wearing pink trainers especially as a lecturer, and carrying sparkly pink bags does not fit the image of a typical teacher in Sri Lankan culture and traditions. I have now embraced my way of doing things and have evidence that it has a positive impact on creating a safe environment for my stakeholders and aids them in building emotional resilience. This study has taken me to new depths of self-evaluations of my own filters of ‘Am I being kind?’, ‘Am I having fun?’, and ‘Is this Chaotic Good?’ throughout the process.


Conclusion

In conclusion, the combination of nonverbal communication, authentic relating, Chaotic Good, and Human Centred Design delivered through game-based interventions created a safe environment for learning, and it is evident in my interventions and feedback. It showed that deeper emotional connections are initiated, preconceived labels are humanised, and there are more entryways into social interactions which leads to emotional resilience in different environments.


With a strong current late adolescence, it will create a foundational precedent of discarding cut-off communication and establishing a precedent of open communication to the next generation. As described in an early chat with my brother, ‘People who come to power will change the system so people similar to them can come to power next. When good people are in control, it’s easier for more good people to come into power’. For this project to continue outside of this study, games used in the interventions will be designed with more focus under the name Museum of Chaotic Good - a museum to inspire, educate, and preserve communities (Brown et al., 2016). There is potential for more research to be conducted to look at the detachment of self which will heighten with the Metaverse, and how this research could be adapted to still build emotional resilience in a digital world. As Santhush Weeraman said ‘Tradition is passed down. Culture is now’ (Weeraman, 2021), this time we address the ‘now’.


The Reference List

Anatole, E. (2013) Generation Z: Rebels with a Cause, Forbes. Forbes Magazine. Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/onmarketing/2013/05/28/generation-z-rebels-with-a-cause/?sh=7d9daf2769c2 (Accessed: October 27, 2022).

Brown, R. et al. (2016) The importance of museums: Preserving local culture, New Jersey Maritime Museum. Available at: https://njmaritimemuseum.org/the-importance-of-museums-preserving-local-culture/ (Accessed: November 27, 2022).

Chaotic good (no date) The Alignment System - Chaotic Good. EasyDamus. Available at: http://easydamus.com/chaoticgood.html (Accessed: November 19, 2022).

Cherry, K. (2022) Types of nonverbal communication, Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/types-of-nonverbal-communication-2795397 (Accessed: November 27, 2022).

Cherry, K. (2022) What does it mean to be resilient?, Verywell Mind. Verywell Mind. Available at: https://www.verywellmind.com/characteristics-of-resilience-2795062 (Accessed: November 25, 2022).

Chowdhury, M.R. (2022) What is emotional resilience? (+6 proven ways to build it), PositivePsychology.com. Available at: https://positivepsychology.com/emotional-resilience/ (Accessed: November 23, 2022).

Frankel, R. (1999) “The Individual Tasks of Adolescence,” in The adolescent psyche: Jungian and Winnicottian Perspectives. London: Routledge, pp. 118–128.

IDEO.org, I. (2015) The Field Guide to human-centered design: Design kit. IDEO.

Moshman, D. (2005) Adolescent rationality and Development: Cognition, morality, and identity. 2nd ed. New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Pastine, I., Pastine, T. and Humberstone, T. (2017) Game theory. London: Icon Books Ltd.

Scroope, C. (2016) Sri Lankan culture - family, Cultural Atlas. Available at: https://culturalatlas.sbs.com.au/sri-lankan-culture/sri-lankan-culture-family (Accessed: October 27, 2022).

Short Takes - GET REAL with Mahieash Johnney | Episode - 126 | Positivity Amidst Negativity (2021) YouTube. Ada Derana English. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C63Q7h3w-CY (Accessed: March 2, 2022).

The Five Practices of Authentic Relating (no date) ART International. Authentic Relating Training. Available at: https://authenticrelating.co/five-practices/ (Accessed: November 18, 2022).

Thoma, M. (2011) Economist's view, Economist's View: "Veneer Theory". Available at: https://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2011/02/veneer-theory.html (Accessed: August 24, 2022).

Wickramasinghe, M. (1958) Aspects of Sinhalese culture. The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon.

Whedon, J. (1997) Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Torrance, California: The WP and UPN.


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Milestone SWOT

Strengths: All aspects of the project is backed by secondary research. It is tested with the key stakeholders. Verified by an expert psychologist who is starting to apply this practice I have research

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