Powerful teaching moments

I had one of those moments recently when I really felt like I had made a difference and helped my students understand something.

In one of my classes we had a very heated discussion around racism related issues and it was great that students were being open and honest, but I was deeply concerned about some of the views and comments that were being made. While I tried my best to challenge some of their views, a number of students were very set in their stance and I could not seem to get through the importance of tolerance and appreciating diversity and difference.

I remembered a really powerful video I had watched titled ‘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.” (website description)

I watched this with my students in the next lesson we had and I could not believe the impact it had on the students. We had another equally open and honest discussion immediately following the video and each of the most vocal students the previous day had all commented along the lines that they had never really thought of the impact of racism like that and that it was great to see it from another point of view. You could see in their body language and the way that spoke that their mind had opened to the issue of discrimination and racism. I don’t think I could have used words to open their mind in the same way as this video managed to do so. Watch the movie and you will understand!!

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/divided/

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