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Is everyone judging you?

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Is everyone judging you?

Mr.Bennett showing stereotyping categories.

Mr.Bennett showing stereotyping categories.

Ariana Cross

Mr.Bennett showing stereotyping categories.

Ariana Cross

Ariana Cross

Mr.Bennett showing stereotyping categories.

It is a requirement for all freshmen to take a semester of health at Orcutt Academy High School. The curriculum covers topics such as physical and mental well being and safe sex. One of the most memorable topics discussed in Orcutt Academy’s health class, however, is others’ perception of you.

 

In both Mr. Joshua Bennett and Mr. Chad McKenzie’s health classes, the students do an activity where they anonymously stereotype their peers. In Bennett’s health class, the students write down one stereotype for each classmate, and each stereotype is later given to the student it’s about. The list of stereotype options includes titles like “jock,” “hipster,” “band geek,” and “promiscuous,” along with twenty-four other options. Bennett explains that the activity is used to “explore deeper concepts.”

 

In McKenzie’s health class, the activity is done a little differently. Students volunteer to stand in front of the class while their peers raise their hands and assign a stereotype to them. Some worry that the activity can make students feel bad about themselves. It can be hard for high schoolers to hear potentially hurtful things being said about them.  Freshman Mittie Fisher, suggests that it would be better if they didn’t do the activity out loud. “I found it to be more of a joke; everyone was laughing and it seemed like they just built off of each other rather than coming up with their own ideas.”

 

The activity holds a much deeper meaning than simply stereotyping students. Bennett shares that the activity is meant to teach students that “stereotypes are pervasive in our society but not necessarily true.” Bennett and McKenzie want students to learn not to generalize someone without getting to know them.

 

Junior Joley Smith shares her enjoyment of the activity, stating, “It was really fun to see what other people thought and how wrong they could be based on outside interpretation.” In contrast, Senior Trenton Kozel found the activity to be inappropriate, explaining, “It felt like we were actually judging people instead of doing a learning activity.”  

 

Bennett explains that he sees a lot of students actually considering people’s opinions of them and how they want to be seen. He often sees a change in people’s actions for the better after participating in the activity.

 

Whether students appreciate the activity or not, it’s certainly memorable. When asking Spartan students about the lesson, almost everyone remembered participating in the stereotype activity. I think most students can appreciate a nontraditional lesson in the health curriculum.

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About the Writer
Ariana Cross, Reporter

Hello, my name is Ariana Cross. I am a Junior here at Orcutt Academy. I’ve lived here in Orcutt for most of my life and attended all Orcutt schools....

4 Comments

4 Responses to “Is everyone judging you?”

  1. Hope Davidson on December 4th, 2018 9:23 AM

    This activity can be interesting, but it should be an optional activity to participate in. For some students, it may be hurtful to hear what others think of them, especially if they are self conscious, so it should be an option for those who are interested to know what people think of them, but not required.

  2. Peyton Heath on December 6th, 2018 8:02 AM

    I remember this activity being fun and very funny to see what people thought of me, but I realize that it could be potentially harmful for other students. Many of the stereotypes could be perceived negatively, and it could be bad for some students who struggle with self-esteem issues or otherwise. I think this activity is fun and should still be done, but if any students have any concerns, they should be allowed to opt out (like what Hope said in her comment).

  3. Sonia Wasserman on December 6th, 2018 8:03 AM

    I think the health teachers should teach students to be less self conscious and more self confident before this. People should learn that most things done to them are not personal and that it is important to know what kind of impression you leave on people.

  4. Michael on December 7th, 2018 9:32 AM

    I think this is a really interesting activity that probably has a lot of merit–both of the teachers care about their students and are thoughtful, so I bet they ensure it is a learning experience. If there are concerns of hard feelings, perhaps another alternative would be to do this with “unknown” people on the Internet, as opposed to people in the room. Potentially it can also lead to a discussion on keyboard courage posters who rip others to shreds based on an image. Good article.

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