Wednesday, March 20, 2013

21 March, International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

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

  1. What scene or scenes are likely to stick in your mind for a long time?
  2. Did any part of the film surprise you?
  3. Does the children's body language reveal how they feel during the exercise? Can you give some examples?
  4. 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.)
  5. What characteristics does the teacher attach to the superior and inferior groups? How do those characteristics reflect stereotypes about blacks and whites?
  6. 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?
  7. 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.  

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