New Kid on the Block
Students examine the meaning of and examples of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination. They reflect on ways that stereotypes develop and have the potential to turn into discrimination.
The learner will:
- define and explain the connection between stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.
- state harmful outcomes of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination.
- analyze issues to differentiate fact from opinionand determine if misinformation is depriving people of their rights.
- chart paper and markers
- self-stick notes, several per student
stereotype: an oversimplified opinion formed by associating people with a group; an idea that many people have about a thing or group and that may often be untrue or only partly true
prejudice: a judgment formed about a person or group without enough knowledge
discrimination: action or treatment based on prejudice, or a preconceived opinion
Do a think-pair-share activity in which students reflect on a time when they were either affected by stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination, or a time in which they were the offender and treated someone insensitively. Give them a few minutes to think quietly and then have them pair up to discuss their experiences with a partner. Have each pair of students share insights from their discussions with the whole group.
Write the words “New Kid on the Block” on a board or poster. Ask students to recall a time when they felt like they didn’t belong or were in an unfamiliar setting: a new class, a new school, a new team, or a new neighborhood. Ask them to share their thoughts and feelings about that situation, including their fears and their concerns. Ask them to recall how it turned out. Did the initial concerns go away over time? Give students 3-5 minutes to jot down responses to the following prompts: 1. A time when I felt like “a new kid” was when: 2. Some of my fears and/or concerns at the time were: 3. Many, if not all, of the fears and/or concerns that I felt at first ended when:
Talk about stereotypes and different points of view. Tell students that our brains naturally want to organize incoming information (from our senses) into predictable patterns and categories. In Lesson One, our brains related the big/pretty package with a nice surprise. This is a helpful way for our brain to organize bits of information so that we can make sense of our world. Although this is a natural behavior, stereotypes can be harmful when they cause us to form opinions that are based on generalizations and assumptions rather than accurate information. People are not as predictable and consistent as objects. We are each unique in our thoughts, appearances, and actions. When our stereotypes and generalizations (rather than accurate and complete information) allow us to form positive or negative opinions about people, we are exhibiting prejudice. An example of prejudice isbelieving that all boys who have long hair are not to be trusted. Another example isgirls who wear glasses are smart.
Ask students: “Why is prejudice harmful?” Some suggested answers: It may cause hurt or angry feelings; it may lead to violent actions; it may prevent relationships from forming; it may prevent open-minded and tolerant thinking. Although someone may be different or unfamiliar, he or she has a right to be an individual and to be heard. Focus attention on the topic of prejudices. Discuss how prejudice and misinformation can deprive people of their rights (prejudice and civil rights).
Label individual sheets of chart paper with some or all of the following categories: teenagers, elderly people, professional athletes, parents, young children, teachers, bankers, factory workers, and musicians. Give students self-stick notes and ask them to write down stereotypes they are aware of for each category. They should place their notes on the corresponding category chart sheets. They should fill in as many as they can think of in a few minutes. Give the students time to view the charts. Then engage the students in reflection by using the following questions:
- How do you feel about the stereotypes written?
- Were positive and/or negative stereotypes written? Is there a difference, and if so, what?
- What observations/insights can you share based on what you learned?
- Do you ever stereotype people from different countries?
- How can these stereotypes lead to depriving people of their rights?
- How have groups in history been deprived of their rights because of stereotypes and prejudice?
- Why is it important to hear all voices in a community and respect everyone's right to be heard?
Directly teach that prejudice (opinion) is based on stereotypes (generalizations) and that acting on stereotypes and prejudice results in discrimination (unfair treatment). Since prejudice is formed easily, we must work hard to avoid pre-judging. Because our opinions affect how we behave, we must form intelligent opinions.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
Benchmark MS.5 Discuss examples of groups denied their rights in history.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark MS.4 Analyze information to differentiate fact from opinion based on the investigation of issues related to the common good.