A Class Divided
One day in 1968, Jane Elliott, a teacher in a small, all-white Iowa town, divided her third-grade class into blue-eyed and brown-eyed groups and gave them a daring lesson in discrimination.
Click on the image below to watch the video on YouTube. (English captions)
Class Discussion Questions
- What scene or scenes are likely to stick in your mind for a long time?
- Did any part of the film surprise you?
- Does the children's body language reveal how they feel during the exercise? Can you give some examples?
- How do the negative and positive labels the teacher puts on the two groups become self-fulfilling prophecies? (a self-fulfilling prophecy is one that becomes true because people expect it to be true and behave in a way that will make it happen. e.g.If you expect to fail, you will fail. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy.)
- What characteristics does the teacher attach to the superior and inferior groups? How do those characteristics reflect stereotypes about blacks and whites?
- At recess, two of the boys from different groups get in a fight. How does the teacher make the two boys reflect on their actions?
- How is the blue eyes/brown eyes exercise related to the Sioux prayer, "Help me not judge a person until I have walked in his shoes"?
Now try the following crossword to practise some vocabulary related to racial discrimination.