Scenario #9
Argumentation training and countering hate speech – role play

Argumentation training and countering hate speech – role play

Aims / objectives

Argumentation training against stereotypes (developed by the political scientist Klaus-Peter Hufer) seeks answers to hate slogans and offensive speech. It is intended to strengthen awareness, sensitivity and competences for counter strategies (Hufer 2012).

Description of the method

Participants collect discriminatory, generalising, catchphrase-like statements and slogans full of prejudice. Then, a host is chosen and six participants simulate a situation in a restaurant or bar among friends. Three persons use the discriminatory hate speech. Three others try to counter this hate speech. The host who brings the fictitious drinks keeps fuelling the discussion and provoking. The rest of the participants are a kind of jury or analysts.

They watch the discussion, pay attention to the arguments, to the mood, and evaluate, from their point of view, what works and what doesn't. Communication strategies are developed through subsequent analysis on an emotional, rhetorical and factual level as well as through the development of accurate arguments. In addition, the political, socio-psychological and social contexts of the slogans are examined together in the training. The course is rounded off by examining the question of which motives motivate us individually in which situation to intervene and counter the slogans.

Usability in social work

The method needs some formal requirements to be fulfilled, such as a room where the bar situation can be enacted and time for preparation and reflection. It was actually developed for adult education, but could also be used with older adolescents in cooperation with schools, associations or clubs.


Name of the method

Argumentation training and countering hate speech

Target group

All groups


1.5 to 2 hours or a two-day training, depending on context

Spatial requirements

Room, table, seats to imitate a bar / restaurant situation


Rhetorical skills, critical analysis, counterspeech


Learn how to react against hate speech and stereotypes

Method description

Imitation of a meeting in a bar involving role play in which 3 are using stereotypes and hate speech and 3 others try to counter-argue; one person is the host or bartender. The rest of the group analyses. Which counter arguments worked, which didn’t? What were the reactions? How did participants feel? Strategies of counterspeech are discussed

Social work context

Suitable for social work context, especially for social workers, but also for youth; can be played out in a youth centre


Host needs to be prepared; context and analysis with examples should be introduced by facilitator


Stereotypes could hurt participants

concept / application

Klaus-Peter Hufer, source: Hufer 2012


"Die Ausländer nehmen uns die Arbeitsplätze weg" - Argumentationstraining gegen Stammtischparolen | bpb

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