The sound of one teacher

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  Psychology – A class divided

A Class DividedElliott divided her class by eye color — those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the blue-eyed children were told they were smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with brown eyes.

Throughout the day, Elliott praised them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line. In contrast, the brown-eyed children had to wear collars around their necks and their behavior and performance were criticized and ridiculed by Elliott.

On the second day, the roles were reversed and the blue-eyed children were made to feel inferior while the brown eyes were designated the dominant group. What happened over the course of the unique two-day exercise astonished both students and teacher.

On both days, children who were designated as inferior took on the look and behavior of genuinely inferior students, performing poorly on tests and other work.

Like many readers already know: I am an incurable softy. I get touched by everything beautiful, especially people`s courage, personalities and thoughts. I must confess that this documentary awoke a mix of different feelings: Sadness for the wrongs we`ve done, but also hope for the future and love towards humanity. It also excited some thoughts: What if we could teach children by asking the right questions without feeding them our own pre-made solutions?  Do we learn teachers how to teach, what to focus on and how to take care of our future at all? Because, our children are the future, and I really hope they will do better than we did.

I`d rather know this before I have my own children; I want to know that the world can be better, before I let them run around in it. Peril will be everywhere, of course, but as long as there`s hope, I`m willing to take a chance. I want to protect them from landmines around the next corner. 

My eyes are still filled with tears, touched by the courageous woman who wanted to show her class what racism is by making them really understand it. My first sceptical «be-carefulness», was convinced by her gentle voice that soothed both the children in the “experiment” and me.

Thank you, brave woman. Thank you for not closing your eyes.

I embed hope in my touched tears, and know they won`t be shed for nothing.

The documentary

The horrible part was not that one was forced to join in: But that it was impossible not to.

G. Orwell: 1984


since I don`t yet trust the world completely,
I`ve raised my own baby that wants to save the world:
My baby and her friends


7 thoughts on “The sound of one teacher

    NIKOtheOrb said:
    October 13, 2013 at 13:23

    There was another movie based on this same psychology called “The Wave.” I think it can still be found on the internet. You might also be interested in The Stanford Prison Experiment conducted by Phillip Zimbardo. It shows a lot about what can happen to the human mind/consciousness and how surprisingly easily it is to be caught up in it (in the Stanford Prison Experiment, even Phillip Zimbardo and his staff who *knew* about the experiment found themselves caught up in the created reality of the experiment).

    Great post!

      mirrorgirl responded:
      October 13, 2013 at 13:35

      Hey 🙂 I’ve seen the wave once, but it was before I had the same interest as now, so didn’t pay enough attention to it! The experiments you talk about are really central. In social psychology there is a lot that people should know about ❤

      Sendt fra min iPhone

    NZFiend said:
    October 13, 2013 at 15:52

    This exact “test” was done on primary school children in New Zealand. Actually more than once. Probably not such a great move.

    NZFiend said:
    October 13, 2013 at 15:54

    Uhm… Unfortunately the New Zealand teachers didn’t do the second part. They simply told the blue eyed people they were better and left it at that as the blue eyed people started to help the others!


      mirrorgirl responded:
      October 13, 2013 at 15:56

      What ? Shame, if that’s so. But the idea was not stupid, probably much more effective than just talking about it?

      Sendt fra min iPhone

        NZFiend said:
        October 13, 2013 at 16:01

        Yes, once the actual meaning behind it all was made clear I expect everyone was happy.

        mirrorgirl responded:
        October 13, 2013 at 16:03

        They should have done that at once! But it seemed like she explained it? Probably not enough, though. I remember a boy at the end of the clip, he stood by himself while the others held around each other’s, and I thought, what about him?

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