In a combined PDHPE and English class, Year 10 explored the topic of prejudice.
Imagine the scene. The Titanic is sinking and six lifeboats are cast overboard with passengers scrambling for a seat on the boat. There are
more passengers than seats available and four people from each of the lifeboats must be evicted.
Each student has come to class, dressed in a costume representing their character. They must convince those in the lifeboat why they are worthy of
saving. Lives are at stake and the noise and tension mounts as passengers experience prejudice.
In a follow-up lesson, Dylan eloquently expressed the discrimination they experienced. Please see his reflection below.
In English and PDHPE this term, Year 10 has started by learning about prejudice - the way our beliefs and assumptions can affect others and the world itself.
It can be a very confronting topic for anybody - the human mind naturally wants to accept that what it knows is true and to fight against anything
that challenges it to think differently. It's why the notion of separating black and white people may seem foreign and ridiculous to us now, but was
so widely accepted mere decades ago.
We participated in a Titanic-themed activity recently that exposed our willingness to jump to conclusions and make judgements without all the facts to
support our own beliefs. Groups were given a set of ten chairs, not enough for everyone to sit on, and were told to determine who deserved a 'seat
on the lifeboat' based on one simple thing: the status titles we were given.
Many elderly people and the homeless died on the Titanic that day.
However, in the second phase of the activity, we received additional information. Suddenly, respected doctors became secret alcoholics, dance teachers
were revealed to also be single parents, police officers were shown to use violence a little bit more often than needed… We now knew more details
about the people whom we had to judge. And the kind of people with a place on the lifeboat noticeably changed.
The purpose of this activity was to illuminate how we can so easily make rash judgements without having all the facts, then realise that our choices and
actions weren't quite correct once we learnt more about the people around us. We all have preconceived notions - prejudices - when we hear of certain
groups. In our minds, doctors are well-respected, clean and professional; farmers are rough and brazen; carpenters are simple and honest workers. This
extends beyond just the workforce, as we've been learning about the divide between black and white people in America in the twentieth century. Race,
gender, age, status, religion, sexuality - they all factor into our lives and judgements of others. But as the Titanic activity illustrated, judging
others on the basis of such simple things is often an error. We need to learn to change. Knowing the full story, recognising all the facts - that's
far more important than anyone's skin colour or job.
Written by Dylan
-Seaton, Year 10