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Exploring Stereotypes


Divide the Pioneers into groups of five or six. Give some of the groups task A and some of the groups task B.

Task A

Write the word American on a flip chart sheet. Ask the children to work in groups and write down how they might describe an American person: What do they look like? How do they dress? What do they eat? Are they rich or poor? What games do they play? What kind of music do they listen to?

Task B

Ask the children to draw a Traveller child and an African child in their homes.

When the groups are ready, record the ideas from the task A groups on a flip chart sheet. Pioneers may give stereotypical answers, such as Americans are rich, or fat, etc. Work through some of the answers, raising awareness of stereotyping by asking: Is this true about all Americans? Why do we say it? What do we call this? – stereotyping.

Secondly, ask the groups who completed task B to show the others what they drew. Children may draw stereotypical images – e.g. of children living in huts. Ask the Pioneers if all African children live in huts. How do they know? Do all Travellers live in caravans? How do they know? What do we call this? Is it a good thing? Why do we stereotype? What is another word for it? – making judgements.

Through making uninformed judgements, we stereotype when we don’t know a person well. If stereotypes are often untrue, then why do we think they exist? Discuss where we get our ideas from – the newspapers, television, our parents etc. Can we rely on what other people tell us?

Resources Required

Flipchart paper; crayons; pens; pencils; other paper


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