Structural Inequalities

Last week marked the first full week of having modules, and I loved it!

One of my modules is called Values: Self, Society and the Professions. On the Tuesday afternoon, we had a workshop for this module. When we arrived in the workshop we were all sat in to four groups and each group was handed an envelope numbered 1,2,3 or 4.

Derek, our lecturer, told us that our task was, using the resources inside our envelope, to create something that would be useful to a student starting at Dundee university.

On my group opening up our envelope, we found:

A post it note

A rubber band

3 paper clips

A pencil

We were all pretty confused as to how we would manage to create something with such little resources. However, we continued on and managed to create something with the little amount of resources given. (We managed to create a pencil topper that was complete with a map of the campus on it). On doing the task, I looked around at the other groups and noticed how different each groups resources were.

Group 1 had loads of resources such as pens, paper, post it notes, scissors, sellotape to name a few. Group 2 had very similar resources but of a fewer number. Group 3 had even less than group 2 and then our group had the least.

What I also noticed was that Derek highly favoured group 1 whilst being very ignorant to our group and not helping us in any way, which made our group feel embarrassed, dissapointed and jealous.

In the end, the whole point of the exercise was to identify strucutural inequalities in communities. Derek was showing that people, generally higher class, get treated better and have better resources whereas people of a lower class do not have access to as many resources and often fall off the radar.

Upon reflecting on this workshop, I thought about how children in schools may be like this, where some children have a lot of support and money for resources whilst others struggle and do not get the amount of support they should. If I were a child who was of a lower social class and wasn’t getting the support I deserved, I would feel very isolated and would feel like I had less chance of succeeding than those who were better off.

Overall, I feel that the exercise was really useful in helping everyone identify that there are structural inequalities everywhere, whether it be in school, work or in everyday life. It is in our profession to try and overcome these structural inequalities and ensure everyone has equal chances in life and that all are able to succeed and do whatever they want to do, regardless of their personal lives and upbringings.

I would also like to apologise to Derek for all the dirty looks that Danielle and I were exchanging between the workshop about the way in which we were treated. At the end of the workshop, he actually told us that he had to leave the room to stop himself from laughing at our expressions.


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