Menelik Tafari

Menelik Tafari is a critical gaming teaching artist, organizer-trainer & -strategist, program developer, and writer. He uses critical gaming & design, culture circles, and organizational development tools to facilitate radical inclusion and engagement for democracy. His expertise includes Simulation/Gaming, Gamification, Soka Education, and Critical Pedagogy.

Rhythm Is My Business

Gaming Workshops

Games & Gamification

Escapar Tenochtitlan
For this workshop, participants analyze ESCAPAR TENOCHTITLAN™ a six-week alternate reality anthropology and language learning game for second and third level Spanish students to roleplay as indigenous peoples subjugated by the Aztec Empire and Spanish Conquistadors. To succeed in the game, players must enact various actions in Spanish and work together to accomplish Whole Class Challenges and Small Group Missions, situated at historic Mesoamerican sites during the Post-Classic period. In addition to language skills, this game allows students to critically engage Precolumbian interethnic relations in Mesoamerica. Teachers interested in using these roleplay experiences in their classroom can adopt the entire game or select challenges most related to their teaching goals.

Games & Simulations

League of Peace & Power
This workshop covers an anthropology-based Humanities or History unit called “League of Peace and Power,” on the Eastern Woodland Peoples utilizes simulations, games, and sports for students to develop an embodied understanding of gender, spirituality, conflict, and democracy according to the Haudenosaunee, or Iroquois. Students learn the sacred nature of games and sports; and the importance they placed on consensus democracy, by roleplaying as sachem in the Six Nation Confederacy, and playing their indigenous games and sports. These games included Lacrosse (Tewaarathon/Baggataway), Double Ball, Longball, and Atenaha.
Other Simulations
Interactive Simulations

Intercultural Simulations

Games & Sports

This ancient precursor to hockey from the Mapuche of Chile and Argentina was used to train hand-eye coordination, develop stamina and endurance, and resolve conflict.

Forum Games

#SAVEOURGIRLS™ is an interactive Forum Simulation & workshop on combating human trafficking incorporates integrates tools from Simulation & Gaming, Theatre of the Oppressed (TO), participatory theatre, humanities and human development. This game was developed for a high school workshop course conducted for two consecutive hours, once a week, for a 15-week semester. Students collaboratively designed an intercultural simulation for other students, as well as a participatory theatre and popular education workshop incorporating an information-sharing activity (Terminal 3) and a communication and teambuilding game (1 Path) . Players and the audience perform as detectives investigating and busting a human trafficking ring and liberating multiple boys, girls, and women from bondage.

Design Workshops

Critical Gaming

Pirate Oasis
For this 3-hour workshop, participants play a round from the game, PIRATE OASIS, and then discuss the course design and facilitated process necessary to apply Critical Gaming to their courses and programs. PIRATE OASIS was collaboratively created with students as part of a middle school human development course called Games for Social Justice, where students LARP as heroes, analyze a community issue, and use community design to gamify their solutions. Conducted over the course of 15 weeks, 2 hours at a time, students role-played as a group of steampunk pirates and developed a gamified solution for waste reduction. On Planet Oasis, a world where humans escaped after their decimation of earth, a group of steampunk pirates find themselves stuck between the corrupt government of the ‘Imperial Colony’ and the aggressive uprising of the most dehumanized of the planet. Through a series of 7 team challenges and 3 whole-school missions, these pirates worked together to educate their peers about waste reduction, decreased weekly trash production by 7 pounds through recycling and composting, and helped steward their new world to an ecologically just future.
Community Crisis
For this 4-hour workshop, participants analyze a community issue by playing 4 CORNERS and using critical analysis, before collaboratively designing solutions by role-playing as community stakeholders in COMMUNITY CRISIS. By the end of the workshop, participants will have a plan of action to address they can all take responsibility accomplishing.

Professional Development Workshops

Soka Education

  • Council
  • Experiential Learning
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Community Study
  • Public Narrative
  • Human Relations

Critical Pedagogy

  • Group Facilitation
  • Critical Analysis
  • Strategic Planning
  • Service Learning
  • Campaign Development
  • Civic Engagement
  • Community Organizing

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