hand-written text that reads

Lesson plan: Four people four lives

Timeframe

This exercise should run for about 30 minutes, but we recommend allowing for the flexibility to adapt to group dynamics and discussion.

Outcomes

  • Students have exercised critical thinking to interrogate the content that they’re seeing on social media and explored the role that they play in curating their online experience Students have reflected on their own online behaviours, limits and potential to create positive change
  • Students have tested stereotypes and other limiting social assumptions that lead to marginalisation or victimisation of others
  • Students have an improved understanding of diverse perspectives among their peers and other people in their online community

Description

This activity will help students to explore the shortcomings of social labels and engage in critical thinking to challenge snap judgements in the context of gender and social stereotypes.  The first part of this activity will be completed individually. Afterwards there are follow-up questions to spark group discussion.

You’ll just need a copy of the ‘four people, four lives” worksheet (which you can access here) for each student. Or, use a projector to display and adapt the activity for the class to complete together.

Instructions

Give every student a handout and explain that their task is to match each statement to an image by writing the number of the image next to the statement – make sure they know that each of the statements is actually written by one of the people pictured and is true. They should only need a couple of minutes for this task. Once the students have matched the statements to one photo, tell them you will read the true captions written by each of the people in these images:

Four different people - a girl smiling, a guy looking off to the side, a guy standing in front of a mountain and another girl

The true pairings are as follows:

Photo #1: Hi I’m Mim. I play forward flank for my football team, the Morphettville Roos in Adelaide. Right now we’re at the top of the ladder in our division and I’m pretty determined to keep it that way!
Photo #2:  Hey, I’m Matt and I’m really into filmmaking and playing music, bass guitar, piano, drums and trumpet. I hope to get into documentary filmmaking, but to be honest, Frozen is one of my favourite films.
Photo #3: Hey, I’m Habib. I moved to Australia in 2007 from Afghanistan. I did my work experience at a law firm. Now I’ve finished high school and am a youth worker.
Photo #4: Hi, I’m Georgia. My favourite thing to do is dance and hang with my mates. I have a blackbelt in karate and have never lost a fight.

Discussion questions

  • Were you surprised at all by your first impressions and the real answers? (you could do this as a hands-up survey) Which parts?
  • How accurate were your matches? Have a look at whichever ones you didn’t get correct. What was it about those photos that tricked you?
  • In what ways do you think your first impressions of these people would affect how you’d interact with them?
  • Can you think of a time when you caught yourself making a snap judgement about someone and tried to overcome it or it turned out to be wrong?
  • What are some of the reasons why our first impressions of people may be wrong? (push past the ‘can’t judge a book by it’s cover’ response)
  • What are stereotypes and how do they influence our first impressions of people? Where do they come from? (e.g. upbringing, the media, friends) What types of attributes are stereotypes based on? (e.g. looks, gender, age, ethnicity, sexuality)
  • How do stereotypes and social labels contribute to bullying and prejudice?
  • Can you think of any examples of well known people who aren’t what they seem at first glance? (encourage students to give current and relevant examples)

This lesson plan is provided as part of PROJECT ROCKIT Digital Ambassadors, powered by Facebook and Instagram. You can learn more about this partnership here.