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Fair Battles

location_on Switzerland

Table soccer with global perspectives on human rights and fairplay through multi-level roleplay.

With “Fair Battles”, students role-play by redesigning a foosball table to reflect their research on SDG topics such as poverty, consumerism & environment. One team has advantages (figures connected with a wide beam), while the other team is impaired (one leg missing due to poor wage/health). Students know that this global playing field is not acceptable & are ready to be a part of the solution.


HundrED has not validated this innovation

Anyone can submit their innovation to HundrED Open. All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED. Innovation page has been created by Bryan Haab on October 22nd, 2021






Target group
November 22nd, 2022
“The confrontation with these topics was very valuable for our students. They got so excited about their Fair Actions and made significant progress in the area of personal development.
Principle: H. Hochuli

About the innovation

Why did you create this innovation?

We have become desensitized. Our play pedagogy provokes joy, frustration, and innovation while playfully bypassing avoidance techniques which sidestep global responsibility. Through cognitive research, constructive simulation, role-play, team building, and solution-oriented service learning, we successfully keep youth curious and playfully engaged with these challenging topics.

How does your innovation work in practice?

Students are invited into a roleplay where they redesign a foosball table to reflect their research on SDG topics such as poverty, consumerism, gender & environment. One team has advantages (two figures connected at the feet to expand kicking surface), while the other team is severely impaired (one leg missing due to poor wage/health) & the surface is polluted (the ball falls into poisoned water hole – both teams lose a point). Their self-made unfair table introduces the subject of fairness, justice, and responsibility in a playful way which motivates students to stay engaged. Students instinctually know that this global playing field is not acceptable and requires justice. Thus, they are ready to take responsibility through practicing ‘Fair Actions’ inside and outside the school to catalyze change. Students earn points for these actions, they feel empowered, & return their figures to the original state. Students develop global perspective, critical & constructive thinking.

How has it been spreading?

The first prototype project week was developed in the fall of 2012. In 2013, we performed tests in youth centers. In 2014, we began working with schools and added an XXL festival version. In 2015 we began developing our educational material. In 2018, we printed our first collection and developed a new day project. 2019-2021 have been very slow due to Corona restrictions.
About 450 students have been through intensive exposure at 22 schools and approximately 5000 students through secondary exposure as a result of open access to the transformed Foosball Table / Tournaments and Fair Action events.

The project week was awarded two World Didac Awards in 2018. A published 3 year study confirm a long term learning effect. Our students can share in detail what they experienced 5 years later.

If I want to try it, what should I do?

Soccer is the most famous sport in the world. Our method of serious play in context of a foosball table can be adapted to cultures and languages around the world.

See our webpage and view our videos: www.fairbattles.ch

Turn on the English subtitles if you are not German speaking.

For more information, please contact Bryan Haab: info@fairbattles.ch


Serious play in education for social justice - An exploratory study
Thomas Wartenweiler. Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University, United Kingdom {thomaswartenweiler@gmail.com}https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1166850.pdfABSTRACTFair Battles is a 12-week Swiss education for social justice program with the goal of sensitizing high school students about the impact of their consumer habits on society. The pedagogical concept of Fair Battles is to employ the tool of serious play to enhance students’ social empathy, which then leads to service learning projects. This exploratory mixed-methods study examined the impact of the program by using pre- and post-program student surveys (n=16) and post program semi-structured qualitative student interviews (n=10). The survey data were analyzed using SPSS and the interview data were analyzed using template analysis. The results were organized according to Kirkpatrick’s four-level evaluation model. The quantitative results show a statistically significant increase in the post-program survey scores for the learning and behavior level. The qualitative results suggest that the program had a positive impact on students on all four of Kirkpatrick’s levels. The conclusions are that the Fair Battels program is impactful, that social justice education needs to be holistic and that the combination of serious play and service learning elements seems to be effective for social justice education. Further research in the area of social justice education and serious play is recommended. 

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