Transcending Single Stories

The focus of the second activity in the Standing Up for Democracy unit is on the power of assumptions based on a single experience or point of view. Class members begin by journaling about assumptions others make about their identity based on their appearance. They then analyze a cartoon with the same theme, and watch Chimamanda Ngoz Adichie's dynamic video of the dangers of letting a single story form our opinion of others. The two-day lessons ends with class members reflecting in their journals about the connections between single stories and stereotypes.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Introduce and have class members practice the Concentric Circles discussion format
  • Prior to the lesson, preview the entire resource to become familiar with the rationales and contexts for the various aspects of the lesson
Classroom Considerations
  • Requires a free login to access materials
  • Second of 15 lessons in the Standing Up for Democracy unit
  • Presumes a protocol is in place for a safe, respectful discussion of sensitive issues
  • Requires copies of multiple materials
  • The lesson encourages individuals to make personal connections to the central theme by asking them to reflect on stereotypes others apply to them
  • None