"Students appreciate the opportunity to share their experiences in a different way, and they enjoy coloring in class."
Desired outcomes for the activity
This section summarises the knowledge, understanding, or skills that students are expected to acquire by the end of the activity.
Students will come out with a better understanding of their experiences of privilege and oppression, as well as those of other students.
This section explains how to conduct the activity, and might include a step-by-step description or session plan for the activity.
Students are given the drawing of a flower: a circle in the middle surrounded by petals. Each petal has the name of an axis of differentiation/marginalization. Some examples are race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, language, ability, immigration status, class background.
Students are told to color the inside half of the petal if they feel marginalized in that particular category and to color the outside half if they feel they are privileged. They can also color the full petal if they feel they are both privileged and oppressed in a certain category.
At the end of the exercise students share their flower with other students.
When looking at all the flowers, students see that they are different, and also that some flowers show more marginalization than others.
This is followed by a conversation on the exercise: What did students learn about privilege and oppression from coloring their flower and seeing those colored by others? What categories were missing from the petals? Are some categories felt in a stronger way than others?
This section includes copies of resources used in the activity, and any relevant background research or supplementary reading.
Reflection on the experience of planning and/or delivering the activity
This section includes a reflection by the member of staff or student who submitted the activity, on their experience of developing and/or facilitating the activity.
This activity has worked well for me in the past. Students appreciate the opportunity to share their experiences in a different way, and they enjoy coloring in class. Some students resist the activity, though. Some of them wonder what coloring has to do with their classes and some don’t want to share their experiences of marginalization with everyone.
In the future I would make the flowers anonymous when the sharing takes place. I would also let the students draw their own flowers and give each petal a different size depending on how important each category is to their experience of the world.
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