Monday, December 12, 2016

S1 - A Class Divided (Day B)

Go to: A Class Divided and watch the video. Comment on the following questions:

  1. Was the "Brown-Eyed-Blue-Eyed" experiment/activity conducted in an ethical manner?
  2. Could/should the "Brown-Eyed-Blue-Eyed" lesson/activity be done in today's classrooms?


  1. I don't have an answer, because it's not that simple. To conduct a new experiment, lines must be crossed, boundaries tested, limits exceeded. It's the only way to advance, however there are some blockades set up for a reason. Child testing, for example. Yes, this is a lesson. Yes, this is not life threatening. Or, isn't it? The age where humans are most susceptible to the influences surrounding them is during early childhood. To subject the innocents into the cruel situation of discrimination poses a risk of damaging the child permanently. If any one aspect becomes skewed in the process, the inner workings of that child may be warped for the rest of his/her life. Jane Elliott herself, stated that this process is incredibly risky if not structured and facilitated properly. The idea is strong. It is entirely reasonable and noble to wish to design a future where discrimination is a thing of the past, however, precaution must be taken. To subject today's youth to trials of blame, superiority/inferiority complexes, the sudden shifts in "societal" acceptability, and standards creates an unstable environment for which youth to learn in. The mind is not fully developed until roughly age 22. Causing a fracture in the structure and process of the adolescent brain could lead to the improper development of the brain. Breaking today's children means breaking tomorrow's leaders, and that is not a world I want to live in. I'm not denying the existence of discrimination. It's horrible and entirely unacceptable. But, there is no reason to abolish the natural learning process of children in an attempt morph the future into something other than what it is. The documentary stated how one can be taught what it means to discriminate, yet the only way that the lesson will truly be ingrained is to experience it. As it turns out, walking a mile in someone else's shoes isn't always a pleasurable experience, but that doesn't entail that one must solely --sole-ly, haha-- strut about in the shoes of others, nor does it require one to avoid wearing shoes entirely. Living successfully as united species is to find the balance between ignorance and insanity. The problem of discrimination for various reasons shouldn't be an issue that needs to be dealt with. In fact, it shouldn't be a problem at all. Biases are formed from the mind, and not naturally. This is a societal influence that warps people's perceptions of right versus wrong. Human beings are not born hating others based on appearance, this is not innate. Discrimination being a learned trait means that there is only one way to solve this crisis: we must alter the root of the cause. Society itself is not bad, and neither is mankind, however, the current system that set in place is not compatible with an enlightening future. The norms, the expectations, the judgements, and the shaming all cause people to revolt against not only each other, but themselves as well. Discrimination doesn't give rise to unhappiness, it is the other way around. To overcome one does not mean to abolish the other, but instead to meld them together in a way that increases their malleability. As the injustices and aches of the people stick out like prongs of rebar in a pile of putty, only then will we be able to see the flaws in the system. And, only then will discrimination truly be able to be addressed and disassembled. Until that time, please don't break the children.

  2. 1) I honesty don't have an answer to the question. I want to say the experiment was not conducted in an ethical manner. But then I think back to the Stanford experiment and I think this experiment was also based on sheer will of individuals and their ability to manipulate the rules whether it be children or adults. Although the teacher approached the topic in a wrong way, she did however leave a lasting impact on the individuals that changed their lives for the better. Specially the children as they learned at a young age what's it like to be discriminated against; they are less likely to impose that someone else.
    2) No, definitely not. This experiment brings out the worst in people, it turns normal mature individuals into downright vicious animals. It disrupts order and hinder's a mutually respected relationship. I realize the intention behind the experiment is good but there are other ways to educated individuals on discrimination that are less likely to "break" them. At the end of the day we all want to achieve similar goals the sooner we learn to respect the difference the closer we are to achieve our goals. Someone wise once said, "Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are."

  3. I believe that although the experiment was conducted in a safe, and controlled environment the question of whether not it was ethical is debatable. Though the children in the experiment were not physically affected (other than the boy who was hit by his peer), the long term psychological effects could have been somewhat damaging for some children. With that being said however, I don't think this experiment is capable enough of doing so if done properly and I believe that Jane Elliot did a great job conducting it. This experiment is also nowhere near the magnitude of either the Stanford or the Milgram experiment. In both those tests, many people involved were mentally and emotionally scarred by the heinous acts that they endured. Whereas in the "Brown eyes, blue eyes" test, when the children, now adults, went back to Elliot's class and actually debriefed the experiment, they all seemed to have a broadened perspective and learned a lot from both the experiment and from their experiences since being in that grade three class. In today's society I think that this activity would be far less effective. Our generation, unlike that of the people in this experiment, is more exposed to racial, cultural and physical diversity. We are more accustomed to interacting with people that are unlike ourselves. I'd like to believe that now-a-days we are more tolerant as a whole, despite the fact that there still is an endless amount of people who don't share the same pluralistic values that many of us have. I would actually encourage this activity in our education system today, as I believe it would be interesting to see what kids in our present-day society would take out of it and apply to their everyday lives.

  4. I believe that the experiment was conducted in an ethical manner. This is relative the the ethics sacraficed by other experiments such as the stanford experiment. In the end in order to condict an experiment such as the "Brown-Eyed-Blue-Eyed" experiment some lines of ethics will have to be crossed. The experiment at the time may have had some unexpected results and reactions frim the children leaving some damaged more than others. When the class got debriefed on what was happening, it really opened their eyes to the idea of discrimination, which was the point of this experiment. To show the effects of discrimination at the scale of a grade three class. So when the class was debriefed they seemed to become closer to eachother even after enduring an experiment such as that one. As for the question should this be tought today. Well I do not think that it really needs to be tought or tried in canada. For the most part we are diverse and accept people from diferent backgrounds. Of course not everyone thinks this way. There are areas of the world that face discrimination and attemping an experiment in these areas could be an eye opener for the people of these areas.

  5. I believe that the experiment was conducted in an ethical manner if the childrens' parents gave their consent, and if the teacher conducting the experiment had been allowed to do so by her school board. Just by watching the documentary I couldn't find out if either of these things were done. I think that in today's classrooms this experiment could be done if the required consent was given, however I'm not sure that many parents or schools would be OK with it.

    The experiment itself does not seem like it would cause any permanent effects on the childrens' mental health, and it seems like it would teach them a valuable lesson about discrimination, however there's MUCH less racism today than there was when this was originally conducted so I don't see it as a necessary thing.

  6. 1. Although i agree with the end result of the experiment, i have to say that the experiment was not conducted in an ethical manner. The teacher asked the children if they wanted to do the activity but there was no paretal consent involved at all. Although the teacher did sucsessfully conduct the experiment and debriefed the kids after, it was an experiment that could of had lasting psycological effects on the if not done correctly.

    2. If there is proper parental consent and a trained official conducting the "Brown-Eyed-Blue-Eyed" experiment then i believe that the experiment would be a good activity to conduct in classrooms. If done correctly, the experiment has the potential to teach kids about a concept they otherwise would not understand and reduce discrimination in the future.

  7. 1. I believe that the event was conducted ethically, at no point were the children forced to do anything against there will or anything that would harm them in the long run. Not to mention wasn't it done in the name of science? The setting was safe and there was a someone there to keep an eye on the children at all time as well.

    2. Yes it should be conducted nower day, we have the need to do social experiments to collect data about our populace. This is one of the ways that it could be collected without much meddling. But no it could probably not be done today, between our government and the general opinion of the populace these activities are considered un ethical and morally corrupting.

  8. After watching the short film on the experimental classroom lesson of brown-eyed versus blue eyes, we can clearly see that this experiment was not conducted in an ethical manner. This is due to several factors surrounding the experiment and how it was carried out. The first point of contention is the consent of the participants. It is not clear whether or not the parents of the kids in the first or second group gave consent to such an activity. Consent should have been given for this activity as it involves the tampering with young minds that is more extreme than traditional teaching; and at the time was an unexplored field with unknown results. This unknown path that this experiment would lead is another reason why this was not ethical. This vigilantly teacher just decided one day to do this experiment without thought or much preparation. In fact you could claim that she was gambling with the fate of those youngsters. This experiment had the potential to alter the lives of those children forever and it could of had horrific results. It was even more unethical when she does the lesson with the corporate group. In fact it was so poorly planned and executed that it may have created worst tensions between the people in the workplace. It is very clear when the lesson goes from a teaching moment to a harmful learning moment. Thus giving reason on why this was activity was not ethical.
    I don’t believe that this lesson should be done in today’s classrooms for a couple of reasons. The first of these is the fact that society has grown and developed since this activity was first developed. Although we still have predominant racism in our society today, we have come a far length from what it was then. I also believe that this approach is not the proper method to teach youngins the lesson of discrimination. Even the teacher herself stated such. I do believe however that with a proper development of a lesson and a different approach to teaching it, that it could be a powerful lesson that could have the potential to shape society.