Life Skills-a British Council project: Activity 4: Who would you like to live with?

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This amazing 4th British Council ” Life Skills ” activity is about stereotypes, discrimination, racism, prejudice…

Definitions

Prejudice:

Attitudes or opinions about a person or group simply because the person belongs to a specific religion, race, nationality, or other group. Prejudices involve strong feelings that are difficult to change. Prejudice is pre-judging. A person who thinks, “I don’t want (name of group) living in my neighborhood,” is expressing a prejudice.

Discrimination:

When people act on the basis of their prejudices or stereotypes, they are discriminating. Discrimination may mean putting other people down, not allowing them to participate in activities, restricting their access to work or to live in certain neighborhoods, or denying them something they are entitled to by right and law.

Stereotype:

Oversimplified generalization about a group of people. When people say that all members of a specific nationality, religion, race or gender are “cheap,” “lazy,” “criminal” or “dumb,” they are expressing stereotypes. All groups have both cheap and generous individuals. All groups have individuals who commit crimes. To label an entire group based on the actions of some is to engage in stereotyping. Even when a stereotype is positive, such as when people in one racial group are thought to be superior athletes, the consequences of stereotyping are negative.

Scapegoating:

Blaming an individual or group when the fault actually lies elsewhere. Prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory acts can lead to scapegoating.

During this activity, I made sure that children understood  that prejudice and discrimination are unfair. I explained that, no person should be excluded or teased on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, accent, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or appearance.

To start with:

Print the list of tenants (one for each student)
• We tell the story of the Miller family:
“Mr and Mrs Miller live fairly happily in a big house
with their 20-year-old son David. Then, upon their retirement,
Mr and Mrs Miller decide to move to the country.
David lives alone in the family home now and enjoys
a satisfying bachelor’s life until one day he loses his job.
David is no longer able to live alone in the big house.
He uses his last money to split the house into 6 flats and puts
a “For Rent” ad in the newspaper”

mos15lifeskillsact4
Now, imagine you are David and have to choose 5 tenants from a list of people who have answered your ad, in order to be able to keep the house.
• We ask each student to pick 5 tenants from the list
• We ask groups of 5 or 6 students to pick 5 tenants
that the whole group agrees on
• We discuss the following issues:
• Did the group agree on a list of 5 tenants?
Yes/No? Why (not)?

mos15lifeskillsactivity4
• How did the group work collectively in order to agree on the list of 5 tenants? What did they find hard about it and what easy?
• We discuss the reasons for which
they chose these particular people
• We discuss any potential bias that each one of us may have.
We explain that it is almost impossible not to be biased; what is most important is to understand that it is only bias and that talking about differences and getting to know other people better can change people’s views
List of tenants (for older students)
Who would you share the same house with?

mos15lifeskillsactivity 4
1. An unmarried mother with a 3-year-old child, whose father
is from Tunisia. He occasionally visits his son and sometimes brings around some friends.
2. A family of refugee workers from Pakistan with 5 children
aged 1 to 12. Their father works in a steel mill and their mother will take up the position of concierge at the house.
3. A family with a 17-year-old daughter in the final grade of Secondary School. The father is a bank accountant
and the mother a teacher.

mos15lifeskillsactivit4
4. A single 70-year-old woman, living on a minimum pension.
5. A group of 7 refugees from Iraq who all work
in the kitchen of a large restaurant.
6. A group of 5 young people who live an alternative lifestyle,
by recycling and only consuming what they need to survive.
7. Three Palestinian students who are political activists,
and often demonstrate for their rights.

Orangito, our guest flat puppet from Spain, took part in all the group discussions!

Orangito, our guest flat puppet from Spain, took part in all the group discussions!

8. A Roma family with 5 members. The father only works occasionally and is otherwise unemployed. The family belongs
to a broader family which is very close and likes to have parties.
9. An American couple with no children. The wife works for the International Atomic Energy Authority
and the husband looks after the house and their 3 poodles.
10. Two artists, around 40, who lead an unconventional life
and have many artists as friends.

mos15lifeskillsacti 4
11. A girl who studies the piano and singing at a conservatory,
and has to frequently practice in the evenings.
12. An African American with his Austrian partner.
He is trying to get a permit to work as an engineer.
13. A religious Muslim family which strictly follows the Quran.
The mother will only leave the house wearing a headscarf.
14. A young man in a wheelchair who lives
with his 76-year-old mother.
15. A blind girl living with her dog.
List of tenants (for younger students)
Who would you share the same house with?
1. An unmarried mother with a 3-year-old child.
2. A family of refugee workers from Pakistan
with 5 children aged 1 to 12. Their father
works in a steel mill
and their mother will take up the position of
concierge at the house.
3. A family with a 17-year-old daughter in the final grade of Secondary School. The father is a bank accountant
and the mother a teacher.
4. A single 70-year-old woman, living on a minimum pension.
5. A group of 7 refugees from Iraq who all work
in the kitchen of a large restaurant.
6. Three Palestinian students who are political activists,
and often demonstrate for their rights.
7. A Roma family with 5 members. The father only works occasionally and is otherwise unemployed. The family belongs
to a broader family which is very close and likes to have parties.
8. An American couple with no children. The wife works for the International Atomic Energy Authority and the husband looks after the house and 3 dogs.
9. Two artists, around 40, who have many artists as friends.
10. A girl who studies the piano and singing at a conservatory, and has to frequently practice in the evenings.
11. An African American with his Austrian partner.
He is trying to get a permit to work as an engineer.
12. A religious Muslim family which strictly follows the Quran.
The mother will only leave the house wearing a headscarf.
13. A young man in a wheelchair
who lives with his 76-year-old mother.
14. A blind girl living with her dog.

Our variation was: I asked them to play a game ,when we finished our project : they had to stand up when I read them a sentence with which they agreed or keep sitted when I read them a sentence with which they disagreed! eg. ” All Greeks are lazy”, ” All Roma are thieves” , ” All muslims are terrorists”…It was really interesting to see what there was in their minds  …Stereotypes were there…We have to work hard to get rid of them!

We finally  all agreed that, we should  come closer to  understand other people better !

According to recent studies, encouraging children’s critical thinking ability may be the best antidote to prejudice.

Of course,  all children notice differences. This is developmentally appropriate and, by itself, not a problem; but when negative values are attached to those differences, problems occur.

The students were asked to play a game: they had to stand up when they agreed with what was said or sit down if they disagreed!

The students were asked to play a game: they had to stand up when they agreed with what was said or sit down when they disagreed!

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2 thoughts on “Life Skills-a British Council project: Activity 4: Who would you like to live with?

  1. Pingback: Teachers4Europe project, 2014/2015 | ELT inspired

  2. Pingback: Teachers4Europe project, 2014/2015 | ELT inspired

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