In a recent seminar within our values module we were set into five groups and handed out an envelope. My group watched as each group was handed their envelope and once it got to our group we noticed that we had a much flatter envelope than those before us. At this point we grew suspicious that we were not being treated fairly.
Despite coming to the realisation that we had a much emptier envelope than the first two groups that had been handed their resources, we had not noticed than the two groups given their envelopes after us had been given even emptier envelopes than us ourselves.
The tutor told us all that the task we were set was to craft something that we thought would be helpful for a fresher. As every group looked in their envelopes everyone began to suss out the resources they had and started to brainstorm ideas about what we would create. My group began to look over at the other two groups’ tables and we started comparing our resources to theirs. We said things such as, “How come they get so many pieces of paper?” But again though, we failed to recognise that the two groups given their envelopes after us had so much less than we did.
We gleefully carried on though with high hopes that if we gave our best effort then we would be credited for working with the little resources that we had. We decided to create a colour coded map of the campus with the Dalhousie Building as the centre point with arrows shooting of in different directions from it in order to give a rough idea of the location of the buildings needed for students. We then also made a spare student ID.
Once all of the groups completed the task, the tutor marked each creation out of 10. She rated the first groups as 10 and 9, then she rated our group a 5 and then the others a 3 then a 1! She praised the first two groups and clearly favoured them over my group and the others. This sparked anger and frustration among my group. The group members began saying things like, “This isn’t fair.”, “She spent all of her time helping them!” and “We did the best we could with what we had.”
After a few minutes of us all mumbling among our groups, the tutor revealed the truth to us. She deliberately had been favouring the first two groups over the rest of us!
This was to teach us that people are not always given equal opportunities or treated fairly by society. This task showed us that some children need more help than others because of their lack of opportunities an that we as teachers need to be able to recognise this.