Frontline: Season 3, Episode 9

A Class Divided (26 Mar. 1985)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary
8.4
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An expanded edition of William Peters's classic study of the unique eye-color lesson in prejudice and discrimination taught by Iowa schoolteacher Jane Elliott. This new edition continues ... See full summary »

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Title: A Class Divided (26 Mar 1985)

A Class Divided (26 Mar 1985) on IMDb 8.4/10

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Episode credited cast:
Charlie Cobb ...
Himself - Correspondent
Jane Elliott ...
Herself
...
Himself (archive footage)
...
Herself - Anchor
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An expanded edition of William Peters's classic study of the unique eye-color lesson in prejudice and discrimination taught by Iowa schoolteacher Jane Elliott. This new edition continues the story of Elliott and her sixteen third-graders of 1970, eleven of whom returned to their hometown in 1984 for a reunion with their former teacher. Peters reports on that meeting and its evidence that the long-ago lesson has had a profound and enduring effect on the students' lives and attitudes. Written by Anonymous

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26 March 1985 (USA)  »

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Powerful
15 February 2004 | by (Somerville, NJ) – See all my reviews

Despite the comments of another poster, this documentary and the experiment contained therein was not sadistic. Had the teacher implemented the brown eyes/blue eyes hierarchy in the classroom and then done nothing to debrief -- that would be sick. Instead the students in her classroom understood discrimination in a way that I, as a fellow teacher, have no ability to do regardless of the number of days I show "Eyes on the Prize" or devise ways of comprehending the evil underlying the Holocaust. The film's follow-up with her old students demonstrates the lasting effect her teaching had.

Although modern ethics -- and a lawsuit happy public -- preclude a teacher from doing this kind of thing these days, we can still screen the film for our students and discuss the issues. Not quite as effective, but still powerful.


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