Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Lesson on Rape in Mr. Marszalek's Class 11-5-08

Cait and I went into Mr. Marszalek's class on Wednesday morning to discuss rape as a tool of war in Darfur.  It was a difficult lesson, but the class responded respectfully, and we felt that they were able to acknowledge the gravity of the situation.  We decided to make a large circle, as that had worked well for this lesson last year.  We began by distributing a different fact or personal account to each student and then we asked them to read their note cards out loud to the group.  This went fairly well, but we had to continually ask them to speak louder.

Cait and I then started asking them the questions on the sexual violence worksheet.  They were a little hesitant to speak in the large circle setting. We were able to maintain a question-and-answer style discussion fairly successfully, but we would have preferred more of a free-flow discussion like we often get in smaller groups.  

Reading and talking as a large group took the majority of the class, but we had time left to show them a short video clip about rape in Darfur.  Since youtube is blocked in the high school, Cait and I brought our laptops into the classroom and split the class in half so they could all see a screen. After watching the clip, we discussed separately in our two groups.  The students respond really well to media, and they asked very thought-provoking questions related to what they had seen.  One girl, Whitney, had an epiphany toward the end of class.  It was amazing to hear her talk about her realization that rape is used not just to harm the women, but to tear families and communities apart.

Overall, this was a rewarding class, and we feel that they now have a good grasp on the widespread use of sexual violence by the Janjawid and government officials in Darfur. Cait and I realized that it is difficult to only have two Wesleyan students in the classroom, and we would prefer at least three from now on. 

We're going into the classroom three times next week, so that should be really fun! Keep thinking about how to make these lessons even better for next semester :) 

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