The first value workshop provided a eye opener experience which focused on the main topic of structural inequalities. The workshop consisted of an activity without any of us knowing the lecturers underlying point. This made the whole situation astonishing as we as students got to experience it first hand.
We split into 4 equal groups and the lecturer handed each group a brown envelope. She then explained to us that we were to open the envelope and make something beneficial for a new student starting university out of the objects that were inside. I was in group 4 and when we opened up our envelope we were at a dead end before we even got brainstorming. Our pack included; 4 paperclips, 2 pens, 1 sheet of paper, 2 elastic bands, small piece of blue tack and 2 post-it notes. we struggled to begin with and i kept thinking “how can we possibly make anything out of this?”. We could tell immediately that we were being treated completely different from the lecturer just by the way she spoke to us abruptly and didn’t praise our work compared to the other groups. We had glanced over at the table next to ours and we could tell that they had coloured card, coloured pens and pencils, scissors, sellotape etc.
We set out the objects on the table and started to use the objects to symbolise areas of the Dalhousie Building which is challenging to find your way around. Therefore we started to design a map and used a key to represent our items. We were all really happy with the outcome of our task despite not having the same resources as the other groups. The lecturer then asked us to stand up and present our work to which she turned her body to the side and was very rarely looking at our work. This contrasted with the attitude she was showing the other groups as she clapped and encouraged them and was scoring them between 7-9 out of 10 and only scored my group a 3. Being treated completely different really did infuriate me a little as it was as if nobody could understand that our group had to work so hard to make something with so little and of course with the lack of resources it wasn’t amazing, however it was still well thought out and structured in a way that was clear and presentable.
At the end of the lesson, the lecturer explained to us what was going on. She said she encountered my group asking questions as to why the other groups had so much more than we did and then asked the groups who had loads of resources if they noticed that we had so little to which they replied no. This task conveyed to me the symbolic representation of something that happens in everyday life; people with more aren’t going to notice those who have less and people with less are always going to question those with more.
This task really opened my eyes up as your personal attitude can truly change a way a child feels about school and themselves. If you set a child a homework task to make something with their resources at home then it is so important to understand that not every child has the same and this shouldn’t be brought to the child’s attention to make them feel worthless. Children shouldn’t be marked on what they have, it should involve effort and determination and accuracy. This has truly made me aware of the way i speak to others and my body language towards the people around me.