Category Archives: 1.1 Social Justice

Why Me?

Following our very first ‘values module’ lecture on Tuesday, we then had our first values workshop later in the day. When I arrived, I sat down at table, not knowing that my choice had a significant effect  on my experience of the workshop. After everyone had arrived, large brown envelopes were placed onto the centre of the table and the task was explained. Using the resources that were in the envelope, each group (we were group three) had to create something that would be beneficial to a student just starting at the University of Dundee, just as we are.

We opened the envelope and all that it contained was: 3 sheets of paper (2 white and 1 blue); 3 rubber bands; 3 paper clips; a small white envelope; 2 post-it notes; a small lump of blue-tack; a pen and a pencil. We sat for a while, thinking of what we could possibly do with the lack of resources. We finally came up with a survival guide that contained a timetable, a map, top tips and much more. We saw Derek walking around giving praise to the first 2 groups, and barely glancing in our direction. The time came to present our idea back to the other groups. Alan was chosen to talk about what we were planning to create and he explained our idea very well. However, Derek looked less than impressed with it.

After presenting our ideas back the other groups, the time came to actually create the survival guide. We used all of the resources given, and did a pretty good job to create what we did, with as little as we had. We even added some hashtags to the front page (#uodedu) in an effort to impress Derek. The final product was then presented back to the other groups, and Derek was to rate them out of 10. It then became clear that as the groups progressed from 1-4, the less resources that they had received, with group 4 only have a pencil, a post-it note and a few paper clips.  Group one received 9, group two received 7, group three (us) received 4 and group four received 2!

We were shocked when we only got a score of 4/10; even so much that the girl sitting next to me, Kirsten, turned to me and said “Why doesn’t he like us?”. We were sure that Derek held a grudge against us as our idea was not bad enough to only be scored a 4.  I was left thinking ‘why me?’. I felt disheartened and also slight anger at the favouritism that had clearly been shown towards group one and two.  It wasn’t fair that we had been given less materials than the other groups and then scored without that being taken into consideration. It all became clear soon enough though that it was, in fact, all a wind up. I have to admit that Derek’s acting was impressive as I had really believed that our work was disappointing and he truly didn’t like us.

Being one of the groups that had the negative experience, it really opened my eyes to a few things. The same results cannot be expected from everyone if they do not have the same resources, and this needs to be taken into consideration. Encouragement is also a major factor in this. I realised that being put down for my work had such a backwards effect, and made me not want to continue and improve. Someone should not be put down just because they are not performing to the standards of everyone else. Every pupil needs to be looked at as an individual, as everyone is going through different things in life and may not always have what they need, whether that be resources or even support.

This is an experience I will certainly never forget and will carry the experience of it with me into the classroom.