Four envelopes, four groups, one task.
Our first workshop for the values module was, to say the least, eventful. Each group was handed an envelope which contained some resources that we had to use to complete the task. Our task was to make something that would benefit a first-year student on their university journey. Our lecturer also told us that we were going to receive a mark out of 10 for the finished product, this seemed relatively easy. However, when we opened up our packets we quickly realised that this was going to be a harder task than first thought as all our packet contained was:
- 2 sticky notes
- 5 paperclips
- an A4 piece of paper
- blu tack
- 2 elastic bands
Upon further observation, we saw that other groups had better resources than us, for example, one group had scissors, multiple sheets of coloured paper and tape. When the group saw all the supplies they had we were confused, however, we worked on the task with the resources that we were provided with and tried out best to make a functional piece of equipment that a student could use. We decided to make a map of the Dalhousie building as most of the group felt that it is quite a hard building to understand as there are so many rooms. We used all our equipment and we were very proud of our end product, even though we felt we were at a disadvantage.
When our lecturer went around all the groups and asked them to present our ideas, we were looking at the group with loads of supplies with envy. They received a score of 9/10, it was now our turn to present our idea and finished product, we presented it with enthusiasm and pride but yet when we received our score which was 3/10 our spirits were brought down massively. We felt cheated and very hard done by. She then went around all the groups and asked if they had noticed that all the groups had different resources. Whilst the two groups who had the most resources said no, as they were too engrossed in making their product, my group and the other group, who had also not been given that many resources said that it was the main thing that they noticed.
Our lecturer then proceeded to link this to how we treat the less fortunate or disadvantaged children. She explained that if you asked the members of your class to go home and make a rocket ship out of the materials that they have at home this may put some children at a disadvantage. A child from a privileged family might come in with a huge rocket made of loads of different materials, that mums helped them make, whereas, a child from a less privileged family might come in with a small rocket made out of few resources, that they’ve done all on their own.
This showed us that we can not discriminate against children from disadvantaged backgrounds as it is not fair. It opened our eyes to the fact that just because they don’t have fancy materials, doesn’t mean that they haven’t put the same amount of effort or work in as a child who has a wide variety of materials to work with.