Blue eyes brown eyes -Jane Elliot

Discussion in 'General Education' started by lucybelle, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Apr 2, 2013

    I did it today with my 9th grade English class! I wanted to talk about equality and its importance. So as my 9th graders walked into the classroom the blue eyed kids I welcomed happily and the brown eyed kids I sort of scowled at them, taped a brown paper bracelet on them, and made them stay outside. Inside, I told the blue eyed how they were smarter and better than the brown eyed and there were studies to prove it. I gave them an assignment to start on then allowed the brown eyed to come in. I told them they had to sit on the floor.

    I talked in general how all blue eyed people were better, etc. Eventually the blue eyed started arguing with me. Then all the blue eyed people sat on the floor with their brown eyed friends as a sort of protest to the whole thing. They kept saying "you can't judge us just because we were born this way!"

    Eventually I told everyone to go back to their seats and I told them they were just part of a social experiment. We talked about how it felt and it was really interesting.

    Then we read the short story "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut which is in a future where all humans are 100% equal. If you are more beautiful than "average" you have to wear an ugly mask, if you are smarter than "average" you have to wear a mental handicap.

    We then talked about how even though being treated equally is important in most cases, differences make the world beautiful and interesting. It was a great class. I really enjoyed it and I think the kids did too :)

    Now they were all assigned a social rights movement and will do a brief presentation next Monday.

    Anyways, I just wanted to share because I had so much fun.:thumb:
     
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  3. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 2, 2013

    Cool. :)
     
  4. Sweet_P

    Sweet_P Rookie

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    Apr 2, 2013

    I always loved watching Jane Elliott do this experiment, especially when she did it with adults. I thought it was really interesting and pretty cool how the blue-eyed kids in your class "protested" for the brown-eyed kids.
     
  5. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Apr 2, 2013

    I'm glad that it went well and there was no backlash from parents. I think that's interesting that your blue eyed students stuck up for their brown eyed friends. Perhaps there is hope for our world to finally stop all the discrimination and violence!"

    I don't know if you would want to do this, but I might even take it a step further and start punishing those who stuck up for their friends like docking their grades, threatening to call parents or send to the P, etc.

    I probably would have tied that into the people who have fought for equal rights, whether it was Whites who fought for de-segregation, or those opposed to the Nazi's during the Holocaust.

    I used to do a similar project for Black History Month, except since I used gender as a basis for my bias. At first the girls think it's funny and like it, but slowly they start to feel guilty and say stuff like, "Ms. Catz, you're not being nice" or "If the boys are real good can they sit with us for story time too?"

    The girls really get start to speak up when I pass out snacks to the girls and not the boys who look on sadly. Or when a boy would raise his hand and I would call a girl instead saying, "I'd love to call on you, but you're not a girl. I only call on girls."

    I haven't done it the last three years just because at my current school the P is kind of .... "funny" about things and I can see one parent not liking the project and it becoming a big "thing". :rolleyes:
     
  6. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 2, 2013

    I think as long as it's not drawn out parents would understand the value of a few minutes of discomfort. I certainly wouldn't keep this going for a lengthy period of time...long enough to make an impact, but short enough to keep emotions in check. I've had similar experiences and found them interesting!
     
  7. bison

    bison Habitué

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    Apr 2, 2013

    Awesome!
     
  8. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    I probably kept up the ruse for about 20 minutes or. Honestly, after that I had run out of things to say and such. Also, the kids were starting to ask "why are we doing this?" so the affect was wearing off. When they first came in everyone was shocked and silent.

    I know right! :rolleyes: As soon as I ditched their lame textbook and started doing things *I* wanted to do, everything has been much better. I still enjoy biology more, but English isn't as awful as it was when I first started :)
     
  9. brigidy

    brigidy Comrade

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    Apr 2, 2013

    When I was in middle school, we watched a film titled "The Wave". It was about a school experiment like this...it really made an impact on me (I still remember it). I think you can get it from Amazon, but it was probably made in the 80's.
     
  10. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    My coworker was just telling me about it today! I think she's going to watch it in her German class. It sounded crazy. I'd really like to see it.
     
  11. Scribe

    Scribe Rookie

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    Apr 3, 2013

    So cool! I loved watching that experiment. Really made me smile this morning to hear that your students fought back :)
     

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