PRE-TEACHING REFLECTION ACTIVITY
The films in this Lesson Plan highlight diverse stories and speak to issues of inclusion and difference, among the many themes related to Identity. The exercises below are opportunities to examine the many factors that may comprise your own identity formation, as you consider how to introduce conversations around identity in nuanced, grade-appropriate ways with your class. These self-reflections will also be useful in helping identify and address any implicit bias that might impact your teaching. These activities are meant to be private and used to help you prepare to have meaningful conversations about the diverse films and related themes with your students.
Complete the following Social Identity Worksheet [PDF].
- What is my definition of the word Identity? What is my definition of diversity?
- What national, cultural, linguistic or religious group(s) do I belong to? How does my teaching practice reflect this?
- What do I know about the cultural, linguistic, religious and educational backgrounds of my students? How can I learn more about the diversity of my students?
- What are my perceptions/assumptions of students from diverse cultural groups? Or with language dialects different from mine?
- What are the sources of these perceptions (e.g., friends/relatives, media, stereotypes, past experiences)?
- How do I respond to my students (emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally) based on these perceptions?
- What experiences do I have as a result of living, studying or working in culturally and linguistically diverse cultures? How can I best incorporate this experience into my teaching?
- What worries do I have about my ability to answer students’ questions about race, racism, or different abilities? Can I commit to not knowing all the answers, and to remain open to learn along with my students?
- How can I adapt my teaching practices to be more responsive to the unique needs of diverse student groups?
- What other knowledge, skills and resources would help me to teach from a more culturally diverse perspective?
CREATE SPACE FOR MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS
Set up agreements in advance of these lessons to promote a classroom environment that is safe and respectful. Introduce Community Agreements as an activity to be accomplished by your entire class and revisit your agreements as a class before each lesson.
As a class, draft your Community Agreements. If you already have these in place, this is a good time to revisit these and add to them if needed before beginning the lesson.
Some important examples: listening and interrupting, how to deal with strong emotions, establishing trust, confidentiality, sharing “airtime” and dealing with differences or disagreements.
EDUCATIONAL FILM SCREENINGS
- Dim the lighting where possible.
- Ask students to refrain from talking or eating during the film. Remind students that the films are short, and in just a few seconds of lost time, you might miss something important, and cause your classmates to miss it too.
- Watch the credits. Watching the credits will add to the students’ understanding of how a film is made. It is also a good time for the group to think about and process the film while readjusting to the classroom.
- To watch the film as a group you can share your screen. Make sure to select the option on either Zoom or Meet that refers to sharing sound and video when prompted.
- While the film is playing, mute yourself and all students. Refrain from working on your computer while the film is being played, as students will see your mouse moving around the screen.
- When sharing your screen, close other programs or tabs to prevent a lag in streaming.
- Share a few seconds as a test, asking students if they can see and hear the film, before going on.
- For asynchronous learning, students can watch the film in advance of live discussions. If possible invite parents to view with younger students. To receive a link for individual student use, email us at email@example.com
- Always watch the film yourself in advance of sharing it with your class.
- Have students watch the film multiple times, as we recommend in the Guides, as they are bound to notice new details and gain deeper insight.
- Begin the conversation with open-ended questions such as: What did you see? or What did you notice?
- Encourage active viewing by sharing prompts or questions for students to consider while viewing the film.
- Give students time to consider their answers. If they are not responding immediately, resist the urge to reword the question. That quiet time that comes after you ask the questions is “thinking time” and it is very important.
- It is important to differentiate between students’ observations on what was visible in the film (what they see) versus their interpretations (what they think about what they see). The difference between them can sometimes be too subtle for students to understand. Asking questions such as “What did you see that makes you say that,” will teach students to back up their thoughts with evidence from the film.
- By expecting and requiring that the students provide evidence for their observations and interpretations, you are not only helping to shepherd and develop the exploration, but you are also helping to develop visual description and critical-thinking skills.
- Although you all have viewed the same film, each person will have likely noticed different aspects of it. Sharing these observations as a group will allow for a richer understanding of the film and its relationship to the theme or to other films in the sequence.
- While a film may have a main idea or theme, there are many ways to arrive at this point. Make it clear that there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to interpreting a work of art, such as film.
- After each section, summarize the points brought up by students, validating their ideas. Summaries can spark questions and more dialogue, prompting students to reconsider what has already been said and realize that they have missed details that could add to the discussion.
- Summaries are also a great way to wrap up a conversation and segue into the next portion of the lesson.