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Cosmos Parris
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Cosmos Parris   My Press Releases

Jane Elliott's A Class Divided - Video Review

Published on 4/15/2015
For additional information  Click Here


Today I watched the video - A Class Divided  posted by my IBO Associate Anthony Thompson  and it lead me to this Review.


Learning From Your Environment - Discriminatory practices


I believe that young children learn from their environment, absorbing for example, Discrimination,  in all its forms literally through their pores.

Adults therefore have a responsibility to ensure, as much as is possible, that their children are exposed to positive influences. I believe that adults  also have the responsibility, assuming they understand, in guiding their offsprings into thinking without being influenced along the wrong or negative path.


The thing is, children actually think (before they are influenced) by the questions they ask. When they would ask why this or why that and their reactions depend on the answers they are given; and even then they continue to question with a knit of their brows when the answer doesn’t quite make sense. This is often where the influencing takes place


A class divided


The lesson in A Class Divided


Violence does not help.  The third grader when placed on the side of the underdog did not feel good when he turned against his friend and treated him badly. Nothing about the experience was in anyway positive.


These kids having lived and played in harmony throughout their young years suddenly turned against each other and felt what it was like to be discriminated against.  The lesson learned served  them well when they grew to be adults.  It took a very skilled teacher to formulate and carefully manouevre such a program to eventually create harmony and understanding. Jane Elliott was very skillful!



Listening Skills


Jane Elliott was not just being skillful. She believed in what she did, is a great listener and that is why she was so effective in imparting the lesson. The lesson against discrimination.

Though very resistant and exhibiting levels of disrespect in the workshop held, the adults later in the video were no different in the way they reacted. Their attitude in some cases showed some amount of belligerence and a problem with those in authority.



This kind of experiment, while useful in bringing about change  or to encourage a greater understanding of how persons are affected by discrimination academically and otherwise, cannot be conducted by just anyone.


I can see fireworks in some places were you put a group of people in a room, with some waiting outside and try that experiment.  Unless there are those who decides “let me see where this is going” thereby bringing their listening skills up front and center. I could see people leaving and complaining about how they are treated. 

I leave you to imagine some of the scenarios that could take place in certain environments.


However I do believe that at the 3rd grade levels it could be done where children in their innocence will express how they feel and could be guided in much the same way as in the Jane Elliott’s video.

The possibilities are that it could be used as a template for addressing other issues like bullying, treating each other with respect and learning to listen to each other.

Cosmos Parris


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