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View Diary: Sigh. 12-year-old African American girl forced to pretend she was a slave for class field trip (195 comments)

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  •  Saw the "blue-eyed/brown-eyed" exercise (17+ / 0-)

    referenced above, and looked it up.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    What my kids participated in was definitely a variation of that very thing.  It was abstracted to some degree, which I think was better -- to avoid using any actual permanent characteristic on any child.  

    And even so, it was a very intense, very vulnerable experience for those kids.  Without a skilled debriefing, it could have had really negative results.  As it was, I found it worthwhile, though a little scary.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 04:22:20 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  According to the NYT article (16+ / 0-)

      When being debriefed, several of the kids said they were scared and that it felt real.

      You know, the more I think about it, the sicker I get. Calling a white child the n-word is disgusting but not personal to that child. An adult calling a black child that? In a 'learning' situation? Reprehensible.

      And a group of authority figure adults chasing a group of kids through the woods, threatening to harm them and yelling vile abuse. It crosses so many lines. A lot goes on behind closed doors in a kid's life.

      •  Absolutely, but what about the case (7+ / 0-)

        where the discrimination is highly abstracted  and it is a physically-safe classroom exercise?   IS there some justification for in using a limited, abstracted, carefully-controlled participatory simulation (which the one diaried most emphatically was NOT) to bring home the realities of discrimination?

        I think there might be.   Experiential education is typically far more impactful than hearing a lecture or discussion.  And anti-racism education is a praiseworthy goal.  

        Oviously there is a potential downside, if the simulation is too real or or too intense, and causes lasting harm to any child.  But if the risk are carefully minimized, and the potential learning is great, I could see it.

         Worth discussing, at any rate.

        The private-school girls I taught at that time were extremely privileged.  The experience, no matter how brief and illusory, of feeling themselves or their friends arbitrarily discriminated against, seemed to be a real eye-opener for them.  I bet quite a few of those girls remember the experience to this day, as a very meaningful one.

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 05:24:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I totally agree that, when done responsibly, (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lgmcp, ladybug53, PinHole

          the exercise has significant merit. It sounds like that is what you did!

          •  I myself was a mere spectator (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ExpatGirl, ladybug53, PinHole

            shepherding my home-room class to a grade-wide event in the gymnasium.  But yes, it seemed valuable to me.  

            But volatile, definitely.   Powerful for good OR for ill.  When you make someone viscerally understand what it's like to have their societal worth and SELF-worth degraded taken away, that's strong, strong stuff.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Thu Sep 19, 2013 at 05:38:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And how many of those privileged kids (0+ / 0-)

              in the disfavored group were actually suffers of abuse at home or bullying in the school that you didn't know about and still don't know about?  What were the lasting effects on them?

              •  A fair question (0+ / 0-)

                Some of them we did know about.  There are some very, very unhappy children in the ranks of those serviced by nannies and house-keepers.  

                But what I saw kids learning, was that it's not fair when people are treated as lesser based on shallow assumptions.   That is a message that helps victims.

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 08:00:07 AM PDT

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        •  After all, children are just guinea pigs, right? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NancyK
          •  Well there's a reasoned and a nuanced argument (0+ / 0-)

            against diversity training.

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 07:55:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm all for diversity training. But (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              role-playing experiments are a pretty clumsy and un-nuanced way of pursuing it.

              •  "Guinea pigs" and "experiments" are red herrings (0+ / 0-)

                It is a role-playing lesson or learning activity, NOT a role-playing research project.   It is not being done for purposes of observation,data-gathering, or generalizable knowledge.  

                Role-playing activities are extremely effective for learning.  Would you like to junk them all?  

                If not all, which ones?  Just the ones involving social justice?  THAT's a good place to cut back.

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 08:04:57 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You keep assuming that I object to (0+ / 0-)

                  role-playing instruction because I oppose "diversity training" and "social justice." That's not true, and I find it deeply offensive and intellectually dishonest. I think you should apologize.

                  I find role-playing instruction is usually a waste of time and no substitute for reading and discussion. It is also patronizing in assuming that students are no longer capable of developing an interest or learning except through simulation games.

                  •  OK, I apologize (0+ / 0-)

                    If you have an overwhelming bias that ALL role-playing instruction is worthless and probably abusive, then it springs from no particular animosity against diversity training.   However your idea that experiential learning is generally a waste of time, is not exactly supported by educational thinkers, including Dewey, Piaget, and Montessori.  

                    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                    by lgmcp on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 11:51:34 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I said it is usually worthless, not always. (0+ / 0-)

                      It can be useful for interesting small children in certain subjects which already relate to their own experience. But the observations it leads them to are usually pretty banal. My strongest objection is to misusing it in upper grades without extensive prior context gained from reading and discussion. I notice that role-playing instruction seems to be a preferred technique of lazier teachers who don't know their subjects very well, or teachers so intoxicated by ped theory they misapply early child development schema to upper grades.

                      "Overwhelming bias that ALL role-playing instructions is worthless":  the language you use displays your own tendency to jump to prejudiced conclusions and to fence with straw men.  

                      •  Since you started out with "guinea pigs" (0+ / 0-)

                        it seems that loaded terms are only objectionable to you from others.

                        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                        by lgmcp on Fri Sep 20, 2013 at 01:51:00 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

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