1 . Topic-
Understanding Stereotypes
 
2 . Content-

Assumption
Definition: An idea that is taken for granted but not necessarily proven .
Context: Non-Asians often make the assumption that Asians are smart .

Bias
Definition: Attitudes or behaviors based on stereotypes of people .
Context: When we omit people of color in our history lessons, we display a bias that suggests that their contributions are not important .

Ethnicity
Definition: A categorization of people according to shared culture, language, or geographic region .
Context: The terms "Italian" and "Irish" describe two distinct ethnic groups .

Race
Definition: A categorization of people based on shared biological traits such as skin color, hair texture, and eye shape .
Context: One function of the U . S . Census is to count the citizens by race, which is categorized as Black, White, Latino, or Native American .

Stereotype
Definition: A generalized picture of a person, created without taking the whole person into account; to make such a generalization .
Context: When we stereotype a group of people, we depict all of the individuals within that group as having the same characteristics .

Vocabulary:
assumption:An idea that is taken for granted but not necessarily proven .
Context:Non-Asians often make the assumption that Asians are smart .
bias:Attitudes or behaviors based on stereotypes of people .
Context:When we omit people of color in our history lessons, we display a bias that suggests that their contributions are not important .
ethnicity:A categorization of people according to shared culture, language, or geographic region .
Context:The terms "Italian" and "Irish" describe two distinct ethnic groups .
race:A categorization of people based on shared biological traits such as skin color, hair texture, and eye shape .
Context:One function of the U . S . Census is to count the citizens by race, which is categorized as Black, White, Latino, or Native American .
stereotype:A generalized picture of a person, created without taking the whole person into account; to make such a generalization .
Context:When we stereotype a group of people, we depict all of the individuals within that group as having the same characteristics .

 
3 . Goals: Aims/Outcomes-
1 . Understanding respect for others in a group
2 . How to contribute to the overall effort of a group
3 . Understands how the diverse elements that contribute to the development and transmission of culture (e . g . , language, literature, the arts, traditions, beliefs, values, behavior patterns) function as an integrated whole .
4 . Assumptions can lead to stereotypes and unfair judgments about individuals and groups .
5 . Stereotypes and biases affect our lives .
 
4 . Objectives-
1 . Students will understand the following

2 . Stereotypes and biases affect our lives .

3 . Assumptions can lead to stereotypes and unfair judgments about individuals and groups .
 
5 . Materials and Aids-
Writing paper

Flip chart and/or large sheets of paper

Magic markers

Art supplies (construction paper, scissors, tape, glue, magazines to cut up, etc. . )

Take Home Activity Sheet: Identifying Stereotypes in the Media (see printable version)
 
6 . Procedures/Methods-

A . Introduction-

1 . Begin by discussing with students how people often use labels or categories to describe others and how these labels can be based on such characteristics as clothing, looks, the way a person talks, or the groups to which he or she belongs .

2 . Explain that categorizing things or people is a natural human inclination; however, people often make assumptions about groups of people they don't even know .
 

B . Development-

Ask the class to brainstorm categories that are used at school to group people . Categories could include labels such as "jocks" or "brains . " Write each category the class generates onto the board and then have students narrow that list down to five major categories . Write these major categories onto five separate pieces of flip chart paper and post these around the room . Give the class 10-15 minutes to travel to each posted sheet and write down adjectives related to the category headings . Remind students that they should only add new descriptions to the list .
 

C . Practice-

1 . When they are finished, ask students to take a moment and look at the adjectives that the class has generated under each group heading . Use the following questions to lead a discussion about what they recorded:
- Do assumptions apply to everyone in a group?
- Do most people hold the same assumptions about a group? Why or why not?
- Do assumptions tell us anything definite about a categorized individual?
- How do assumptions affect your behavior toward others?

2 . Now ask students to help define the word "stereotype . " Explain that when we make assumptions about an entire group of people, those assumptions are referred to as stereotypes . When assumptions and stereotypes influence our attitudes, we may find that making a fair judgment about someone or something is difficult . This influence on judgment is called a "bias . "
3 . Take another look at the adjectives recorded and hold a class discussion around the following questions: Do these adjectives describe stereotypes? How can they be unfair or hurtful?
 

D . Independent Practice-

1 . Begin with a discussion on the concepts of race and ethnicity . Write each word on the board or on a flip chart and ask students to list the attributes that define the terms "race" and "ethnicity . " Record their ideas . Next, ask students for the names of five different racial or ethnic groups .

2 . Prepare five large sheets of paper (flip chart paper) . At the top of each sheet, write the name of one of the groups that the students named . Divide the class into five groups and supply each student in the class with a marker . Give each group one of the five sheets of paper . Ask them to list as many stereotypes that are commonly used to describe the category of people written at the top of paper . Give students three minutes to complete the exercise . Emphasize that students should list stereotypes that they have heard, not ones that they necessarily believe to be true . When they are finished, rotate the sheets of paper between groups so that each group works on a new sheet . Have them add any unlisted stereotype adjectives . Rotate every three minutes until every group has worked on every sheet . Post the sheets in class where everyone can see them and give students five minutes to read the sheets .

3 . For homework, review the Take Home Activity Sheet: Identifying Stereotypes in the Media with the class . Over the course of several days, they will use this sheet to keep a log of stereotypes they notice in television shows, commercials, or movies . Students should record the name of the show, movie, or product advertised; the group stereotyped; the stereotype portrayed; and any thoughts or feelings the student experienced while watching the program . Explain that this exercise might not be as easy as it seems; many of us are so accustomed to seeing certain stereotypes that we don't even notice them . Encourage students to look for patterns in the images they watch .
 

E . Accommodations (Differentiated Instruction)-

Work with students to define the word "assumption" and point to examples of assumptions from the student-generated lists for boys and girls . Students should take part in a free writing exercise on a personal experience when an assumption was made about them because of gender . Students can then create a collage that combines the student-generated assumptions relating to gender, their own personal experiences, and related newspaper and magazine clippings .

Younger children may not have an understanding or awareness of the concepts of race and ethnicity as they operate in society . However, they can be introduced to the concepts of categorizing, making assumptions, and stereotyping by exploring gender bias in a one-day activity . Limit categories in the exercise to "boys" and "girls" and brainstorm with students a list of adjectives that come to mind when they think of either group . Work with students to define the word "assumption" and point to examples of assumptions from the student-generated lists for boys and girls . Students should take part in a free writing exercise on a personal experience when an assumption was made about them because of gender . Students can then create a collage that combines the student-generated assumptions relating to gender, their own personal experiences, and related newspaper and magazine clippings .
 

F . Checking for understanding-

1 . What are stereotypes and how do they affect people's lives?
2 . Can you think of any events in history that were influenced by stereotypes and biases?
3 . How do people learn to make stereotypes? How might they unlearn them?
4 . How can the media (newspapers, television, movies) help to reduce stereotyping?
5 . Do you think certain groups are more subject to stereotyping than others? If so, why?
6 . What do you think an individual can do to help reduce bias and stereotyping?

This lesson is designed to affect attitudes and receptiveness to new ideas, which are learning outcomes unlikely to be measurable by traditional assessment methods . Teachers should look for students' willingness to participate, openness to new ideas, and their level of empathy toward targets of bias and discrimination . It is important that the basic principles of this lesson freedom from bias and stereotypes and recognizing individuals are interwoven into the classroom environment throughout the year . Changing attitudes around bias requires continual reinforcement .
 
7 . Evaluation-
This lesson is designed to affect attitudes and receptiveness to new ideas, which are learning outcomes unlikely to be measurable by traditional assessment methods . Teachers should look for students' willingness to participate, openness to new ideas, and their level of empathy toward targets of bias and discrimination . It is important that the basic principles of this lesson freedom from bias and stereotypes and recognizing individuals are interwoven into the classroom environment throughout the year . Changing attitudes around bias requires continual reinforcement .
 

This Lesson Plan is available at (www.teacherjet.com)