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Activity 2 - Being in punishment


To experience an aspect of life in an institution.

Curriculum area(s)

  • Year 5 upwards
    • English
    • ICT
    • Drama

Suitable for adults with learning disabilities?


Learning outcome(s)

Students have an insight into life in an highly structured authoritarian environment.

Time required

15 minutes


  • Old toothbrushes; one per student
  • White coat/nurse uniform for tutor


  1. Hand out toothbrushes. Tell people to kneel and scrub the floor with toothbrush for 5 minutes. No talking. No slacking. If anyone stops work tell them they will be ‘in punishment’ – solitary confinement, only bread and water – for 24 hours.
  2. Swap roles so that students get the opportunity to be the one in charge.
  3. Discuss with students how this felt; their emotions.

Ideas for follow up

Activity 2/Resource 1 - Memories of punishment in the institution

Script a discussion between patients and a nurse about the punishment and act it out, in pairs. Find out about other punishments experienced by people in institutions.

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