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How the Game is Used


For any team to be successful, team members must develop a high sense of respect for self and for others. Yan-koloba requires that people harmonize and solve problems together. Teaching responsibility is one of the primary goals of Yan-koloba.

Yan-koloba develops a higher sense of responsibility in each individual and in a team. The game is about teamwork and trust, about the way collective responsibility comes from many bits of personal responsibility. In any teamwork, the success of the team depends on the effort and success of each individual.

In Yan-koloba, each player’s name is chanted in turn, and “Mama” precedes each name for female players or “Papa” for male players. Children love hearing their names during the game and their unexpected titles pushes them to think about their responsibility to care for one another.

What's in a Name?
After a Yan-koloba session in a 5th grade class, I spent some time at the school principal’s office. As I was walking out of the building, I saw the students lined up to get to their buses. One student walked out of her line and told me “Dr. Yan-koloba, you did not say my name.” I felt guilty that I did not have the opportunity to say every student’s name during the game. Nevertheless, even though this child liked the game, the one thing that she did not like was the fact that she did not hear her name called.


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