I discovered the global project called “Debunking Stereotypes” while going through the iEarn catalog of collaborative projects, and I can’t wait to use it this year with my middle-school students.
In this project, students research stereotypes that people outside of our country have about us/our country. Through interviews, internet research, and discussion groups, students will attempt to debunk those stereotypes that are not true. As a final culminating project, student groups are asked to create a blog detailing what stereotypes the students found and how they debunked them.
There is an absolutely beautiful example of this project on the webpage: http://media.iearn.org/v/activities/iearn-stereotypes.
This specific project was by a group of students in Pakistan who communicated with students in Portugal to determine what stereotypes were connected to Pakistan. In the resulting video, the students addressed such stereotypes as: Pakastani people are violent, terrorists, and religious fanatics. Additionally, they discussed the perception that women in Pakistan are oppressed and discriminated against, and that the people of Pakistan are religiously intolerant. I was amazed at the final product-educational, informative, with great cultural significance.
The hope is that this project will help to strengthen relationships between countries “through improving the images of people around the world.” Of course the project doesn’t end with your students’ blog or video. Rather, it is through reading and watching all of the other projects done by students in countries all over the world that will help to educate our students and encourage greater tolerance and compassion and understanding.