Jane Elliott Research Paper

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Jane Elliott was born May 27th, 1933 and is almost 82 years old. She was the fourth of five children and grew up in Riceville, Iowa on a farm. Eventually, she taught in the same small town of 840 people as an elementary 3rd grade teacher. What sets her apart though, and makes her an influential educator, is her exercise she conducted with her 3rd graders the day after Martin Luther King Jr. had been killed. The “Blue Eyed/Brown Eyed Experiment” or as Jane Elliott called it “Discrimination Day” would forever change her and her students. The day after Martin Luther King Jr. had died, her students were walking into her classroom and one particular boy asked “‘Hey, Mrs. Elliott. They shot that King yesterday. Why’d they shoot that King?”’ (Bloom, 2005) Jane Elliott knew she had to do something about this. She recalls in an interview for the documentary “Frontline: A Class Divided” that they had talked about racism from the start of the year, but they now needed to deal with it in a concrete way. (Peters,…show more content…
Jane started to provide informal tests to her students before the exercise. Then she would give the tests during the exercise and afterwards. There were two things that the tests showed. The first was on the day they had to wear the collars or being discriminated against their tests scored plummeted. Just that one day tests score dropped even the smartest kids had low scores. The second finding was that the difference between the scores before the exercise and after was noticeably different. Every single student improved and it stayed high the rest of the school year. (Olsen, 1988) Mrs. Elliott had done nothing else for these children to make these test scores zoom skyward. The side-effects of this exercise influenced them just as much academically as it did

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