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LESSON ON ETHNIC DISCRIMINATION
(Duration: 2 to 2.5 hours)


- Lesson Overview (goals, skills, time, etc.)

- Materials and Preparation (allow 10 minutes)

- Directions

Section A: Introduction to Ethnicity (30-45 minutes; optional extension activities)
Section B: Ethnic Discrimination in the Global Community (45-60 minutes; optional homework)
Section C: Positive Steps Against Ethnic Discrimination (45 minutes plus additional time for projects)

 

 

LESSON OVERVIEW

Time
· 90 minutes to 2 1/2 hours
· For a shorter lesson, do Activities 1-5 plus 8 and/or 9. Activity 8 can be used as an assessment.
 
Description

This lesson explores discrimination based on ethnicity. The lesson is in three sections, each framed by guiding questions:

A. Introduction to Ethnicity (What is ethnicity? How is it different from nationality? What is my ethnic identity?)

B. Ethnic Discrimination in the Global Community (What are some of the causes and impacts of ethnic discrimination?)

C. Positive Steps Against Ethnic Discrimination (What is being done to address ethnic discrimination? What can I do?)


The lesson begins by having students examine their own ethnic backgrounds. Students interview family members to learn about their family histories and cultures. This information is shared with the class with optional extension projects.

In Section B, students examine the causes and impacts of ethnic conflict around the world. First, students review current events stories to gain a broad overview of the issue.
Next, students deepen their understanding of the economic, cultural, and political aspects of discrimination by analyzing a case study on Eritrea. Questions, concept mapping, and other analysis strategies are used.

Section C presents ways to combat ethnic discrimination at the international, local, and individual levels. A variety of activities and project ideas are provided.
Objectives. After this lesson, students will be able to…

· describe their own ethnic identity.

· explain the economic, cultural, and political aspects of ethnic discrimination, both locally and globally.

· provide examples of positive actions to combat ethnic discrimination at the individual, community, and international levels

· plan, carry out, and evaluate their own actions to combat ethnic discrimination
 
Concepts

ethnicity, nationality, culture; discrimination through economic, cultural, and political means
 
Skills

discussing; active listening; respecting others; working in small groups; self-evaluation; document analysis; planning, implementing, and evaluating actions
 
Consider students' previous knowledge

Students may be unclear
of the difference between race, nationality, and ethnicity. The activities in section A (and handout of definitions) will help clarify these terms.
 
Assessment

· A journal rubric is provided to assess students' journal responses throughout the lesson. You can give the rubric to students ahead of time if desired.

· An optional poetry activity (Activity 3, Section A) provides a creative way for students to demonstrate their understanding of ethnicity.

· In Section B, students analyze a case study through a concept map, questions, and other strategies which yield products for evaluation.

· The activities in Section C provide opportunities for evaluation through exhibit or portfolio. Opportunities for student self-assessment are also included.

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MATERIALS AND PREPARATION

Print and make one copy of these handouts for each student

· Students will need their journals and the handout of definitions. They may already have these from previous lessons.
· the handout "Introduction to Ethnicity" (used in Section A)
· the handout "Where I'm From: Sample Poems" (This handout is used for optional Activity 3, Section A.)
· the case study on Eritrea (used in Section B)
· the handout "Positive Steps Against Ethnic Discrimination" (used in Section C.)
 
Additional Preparations

· The day before you begin this lesson, give students the "Introduction to Ethnicity" handout and have them respond to the questions at the top. (Students can write in their journals or directly on the handout.) Explain to students that they may need to interview family members for this activity.
· If possible, gather census data on the ethnic make-up of your community, region, or country.
· Review the case study on Eritrea.
· You'll also need sticky notes or push pins, and a wall map of the world.
 
Selected websites on ethnic discrimination

· http://www.pdhre.org/rights/discrimination.html An overview of different types of discrimination and international efforts to combat it.
· http://www.unhchr.ch/html/intlinst.htm A list of documents and treaties developed by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights.
·http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/problem/prejdisc.htm Information on discrimination and efforts to overcome it in Bosnia, Ireland, and other parts of the world.

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DIRECTIONS
(Note: It is highly recommended that you do the activities in the order listed.)

Section A: Exploring Ethnicity (30-45 minutes; optional extension)
Guiding questions: What is ethnicity? How is it different from nationality? What is my ethnic background?
 

1. Students explore their ethnic backgrounds
(10-20 minutes)

· Distribute the "Exploring Ethnicity" handout to students before class and have them complete the questions at the top. Have students bring their responses to class.

· To begin the lesson, give each student two small scraps of paper and tape or push-pins. (Removable "sticky notes" work well, too.) On each piece of paper, have students write their name and the birthplace of one set of grandparents (or great-grandparents).

· Have students attach the papers to a wall map. Review the results.

· In pairs or groups of three, have the students discuss the responses to the questions from the "Exploring Ethnicity" handout. (Questions reproduced here):

- Where were your grandparents or great-grandparents born?
- What language(s) did/do your grandparents or great-grandparents speak? What about their parents?
- What holidays did they celebrate? What special customs did/do they follow? What foods did they eat?
- Does your family now speak these languages or continue any of these practises?

· Next, have all students sit in a circle and share some of their responses as a class. Points to emphasize:

- Language, food, and other cultural practises are often passed down from one generation to the next. Cultural practises are learned; we are not born with a predisposition to any single language or culture.
- When people come to a new country, they may adopt new practises while keeping traditional ways. Have the class generate examples. Help students see that ethnic identity is not an "either-or" decision.

 

2. Definitions
(5 minutes)

· Using the "Introduction to Ethnicity" handout, present the definitions of "ethnicity" and "nationality." Draw examples from students' responses to clarify the terms. Emphasize the following points, which are included on the students' handout:


· Nationality refers to our citizenship -- in other words, the nation we are a member of.

· Ethnicity, or ethnic identity, refers to membership in a particular cultural group. It is defined by shared cultural practises, including but not limited to holidays, food, language, and customs.

· People can share the same nationality but have different ethnic groups. For example, citizens of the United States are of many different ethnic backgrounds.

· People who share an ethnic identity can be of different nationalities. Turkish citizens of Turkey and Turkish citizens in Germany share an ethnic identity but are of different nationalities.

· Once students are clear on the terms, have the class write a few minutes about their own ethnicity and nationality as instructed at the bottom of the handout. Or, continue with the poetry activity below.

 

3. Optional: Poetry
(25-45 minutes. Some parts can be done as homework.)
Note: In this activity, students create poems about their backgrounds; each stanza begins with the phrase "Where I'm From." The activity is adapted from "Where I'm From: Inviting Students' Lives Into the Classroom." In Rethinking Our Classrooms: Teaching for Equity and Justice, Volume 2. Edited by Bill Bigelow, Brenda Harvey, Stan Karp, and Larry Miller. Milwaukee: Rethinking Schools. 2001. http://www.rethinkingschools.org

· Distribute copies of the sample poems to students. Have the class read one or both aloud.

· As noted on the handout, ask students to describe the significant images in each poem (sights, sounds, smells, objects, people) and how they help paint a picture of the author's ethnic background.

· As noted on the handout, have students generate a list of significant images and metaphors that reflect their homes and families. Have students include items found in the house, other sensory images, family sayings or phrases, the tastes and smells of important foods, names of relatives, etc.

· Have students incorporate these images into a poem. As in the sample poems, each stanza should begin with "I'm from…"

· After the poems are done, have students sit in a circle. Ask for volunteers to share their poems. After each poem is read, have the class describe 1) what they liked about the piece and 2) how the poem communicated information about the author's ethnic background.

· As an alternative to reading in a circle, have students read their poems in pairs. Each student should write comments about their partner's poems as described above. These comments can be used as part of the overall assessment.

· Finish the activity by having students write about their own poem as described above. This, too, can be used for assessment.

 

Additional extension ideas

· Create a class collage or "museum " of artifacts representing students' ethnic backgrounds. Items could include foods, household implements, clothing, pictures, and maps, as well as the poems from the activity above.

· Have students use the information about their grandparents to create a timeline of their family history. In a country such as the US where many students' families likely originate from other places, the timeline could include arrival of relatives to the US and reasons for coming.

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Section B: Ethnic Discrimination in the Global Community (45-60 minutes)Guiding questions: What are some of the causes and impacts of ethnic discrimination?
 

1. Students review examples of ethnic conflict around the world and throughout history (20-30 minutes)

· To help students gain an understanding of ethnic conflict around the world, have students identify relevant stories in the media. Assign a few students to review other conflicts the class has already studied, including examples from history.

· Students should write a brief summary about where the conflict is happening, who is involved, why the conflict is happening, and what is being done to address it. The research and summaries can be done as homework.
(Note: The goal of this activity is to raise awareness of ethnic conflict around the world and throughout history rather than to engage students in a thorough analysis. The case study to follow focuses on analysis skills.)

· Have students present their summaries and place markers on a globe or map to show where they are occurring.

· After all summaries have been presented, ask the class to identify connections among the different examples in terms of time, place, causes, impacts, and solutions. These connections can be graphed using a concept map or other diagram. Suggested questions:

- What, if anything, is similar about these cases of ethnic conflict? In which cases does the conflict center on land or other natural resources? Which cases center on political representation?
- Are the cases similar or different in terms of how they are being settled? Which cases are relying on diplomacy and peaceful tactics? Which cases involve violence?
- Which cases are civil disputes (i.e., occur in a single country)? Which cases involve more than one country?
- Can you draw any similarities between current conflicts and those from the past?

· As you discuss the cases, emphasize that ethnic conflict can have economic, political, and cultural sides. Review examples of each. Tell students they will look at these issues more closely through a case study. Then continue with the next activity.

 

2. Case studies (30-45 minutes; some tasks can be done as homework)

· Distribute the Eritrea case study. The case study can be assigned for homework and/or read in class, as a whole group, in pairs, or individually.

· After reading the case study, students will analyze it using one or all of the five strategies provided: 1. writing directly on the text, 2. organizing key points in a table, 3. creating a timeline, 4. creating a concept map, and 5. answering questions. These strategies vary in terms of difficulty, allowing the teacher to choose appropriate tasks for learners of different abilities. Suggestions:

- Choose one or two strategies that are appropriate to your students' level and assign them to all students. Have students work individually or in pairs to complete the task(s).
- Break the class into five homogeneous skill groups and assign each group one of the analysis strategies appropriate to the groups' level. The group is responsible for turning in the appropriate document and for providing evidence of how everyone in the group contributed to the task.
- Divide students into heterogeneous groups of five. Assign each student one of the analysis strategies appropriate to his/her level so that all five strategies are represented in each group. The group is then responsible for turning in a complete set of documents (a marked text, a concept map, etc.)

· After students are done with the analysis, have them present their work. Emphasize the following key points throughout the discussion:

- On the causes of the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia: Eritrea's location on the Red Sea and the resulting economic and political benefits (trade, ports for military power, etc.) has made it a target of colonizers throughout history. The control of Eritrea by Italy, Britain, and then Ethiopia increased the people's desire for autonomy.
- On the impacts: Discrimination of Eritreans under the rule of Ethiopia happened through economic means (denying Eritreans property and a right to make a living), political means (dissolving their parliament and preventing self-determination), and cultural means (prohibiting language, books, and education).
- On the responses to the conflict: The repression of Eritreans under Ethiopia and Eritreans' desire for economic, political, and cultural autonomy sparked the war. Many citizens were forced to flee the country and withstood dangerous trips through the desert to refuge camps in Sudan.

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SECTION C: Positive Steps Against Ethnic Discrimination (45 minutes; optional projects) Guiding questions: What is being done to combat ethnic discrimination? What can I do?
 

About this section
This section provides ways for students to combat against ethnic discrimination at three levels: 1. personal, 2. community, and 3. international. The activities are described below; clicking on each will take you to the relevant student handouts. The directions for the activities are self-explanatory and are provided on the students' handouts, as are websites for on-line projects.

Activity 1: Personal Actions: Students identify personal steps they can take to address ethnic discrimination. Sample ideas are provided. An optional set of project planning tools provide guidance for students who would like to plan and implement their own actions.

Activity 2: Learning About Ethnic Groups in the Community:
Students use census data and other resources to learn about the experiences of major ethnic groups in the community. Ideas for presenting information in a website, newsletter, or exhibit are provided.

Activity 3: Learning About International Policies: Students brainstorm ideas to combat ethnic discrimination at the international level, and compare their ideas to a UN declaration. Students then conduct research to determine if and how their country has signed and/or implemented the UN declaration.


 

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