Yes, but… versus Yes, and……

Author: Aleix Barrera, Diego Castro, David Rodriguez-Gomez
Facilited by the teacher
The aim is to warm-up and set the tone of the meeting.
10 min.
16-30 students
Breakout rooms in Teams/Zoom


1. The students work in pairs (labelled A and B) to complete this activity. The pairs will click themselves out into the breakout rooms.

2. Student A suggests doing something with Student B, who must answer with a reason not to do it, starting with “Yes, but …”

3. Student A responds with a counter-suggestion also using “Yes, but …” For example:

  • Student A: “Let’s go to the grocery store.”
  • Student B: “Yes, but our refrigerator is broken.”
  • Student A: “Yes, but we still need to eat.”

4. Student A suggests, but now Student B answers with “Yes, and …” For example:

  • Example: Student A: “Let’s go to the grocery store.”
  • Student B: “Yes, and let’s get avocados.”
  • Student A: Yes, and let’s make guacamole.”

The students in the breakout rooms form a group and discuss what they have learned from the activity. The teacher has beforehand prepared questions the students must answer when they finished the exercise. 1) Ask the students how the different tasks made them feel when the response changed from “Yes but”, to “Yes and”. 2. Did they feel more empowered in their idea, or energized in the way they responded? 3. Did they see barriers or opportunities?


Inspired by: