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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Listening Project Follow Up

As I promised over the summer (see my earlier post Teaching About Various Viewpoints in America) I planned on making use of The Listening Project in my introductory unit to my American humanities class.  I found great success with it and my students seemed to take away a great deal from watching the film.

I am not one to use worksheets at all, and so before we started the film, I introduced the students to three questions I wanted them to take notes on throughout the film:
1. What did you learn about your view on America by viewing/hearing the viewpoint of foreigners?
2. Were there any parts in the film where you thought those interviewed were wrong?
3. What questions would you have asked if you had the opportunity?

I asked students to respond to these questions and be prepared to discuss the film when we finished it.  The conversation was not very structured, we started off with what struck us the most from the film and then moved on to talk about the three questions they responded to.

At the end of the discussion, I asked them to write down on an exit card one idea they think every person who watches this film should leave knowing.  Here are some of their thoughts:

  • "America always wants to say something, but we don't listen to what other people say."
  • "It is easy for America to speak, but not listen to what everyone else has to say."
  • "You don't really know about other people and their countries until you have gone and seen for yourself, and see what they have to go through."
  • "God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we could listen more.  I think that it is important to have opinions but to also have perspective."
  • "The U.S. isn't the only country in the world.  There are other people out there.  Make a change, offer your help."
  • "A lot of American have suffered because of Americans, what we do has an impact on everyone else."
  • "I think that everyone who watches this video should know that people have opinions, some may be kind but others are rough, but either way have an open mind."
  • "People from other countries know a lot more about us than we know about them."
  • "We're not citizens of a country, we're citizens of the world."
  • "One thing that really struck me was that most people in Iraq didn't want us to be there fighting and most of us don't want to be there either.  So why are we fighting?  It is becoming pointless."
  • "Why is it the world knows so much about America and yet we know so little about the world?"
  • "We should realize that to help others, we have to listen first."
  • "A lot of our country's freedoms and items we take for granted were established at the cost of others."
  • "I think people should know that America has a lot of power, but we have been using that power in wrong ways."
  • "You need to know your neighboring countries as much as they know you."
  • "Most people just need help from the American people.  They are disappointed that most citizens are turning a blind eye to the needs around the world."
  • "Not everyone hates America.  We are all family."
  • "Even though we've made some bad decisions and have hurt a lot of people, some people are still very open and kind with us."
  • "An unbiased opinion has little to no effect for change."
  • "People, especially Americans, shouldn't believe everything they hear; they should take the to visit, research, and understand themselves before they come to conclusions."
  • "America somewhat controls more than they know."
  • "Americans are generally good people with good intentions.  We just tend not to do the best things."
  • "People want more respect from America."
  • "Be grateful of where you come from and get to know those who are around you."
  • "America need to be careful with the amount of power they have because when America falls no one is going to be there to help them."
  • "Know that your views will change, know to be open minded."
  • "America is not perfect."
  • "Stop, think, listen.  Other countries matter as well."

As you can see, this film, discussion, and activity was a success.  It only took two class periods!


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