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A Class Divided

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2500 In analyzing the receivers of the message, as the grade three students, one would deduce that they could be easily swayed to believe that blue-eyed people are the better people than brown-eyed people, especially when it was brought to their attention on the first day. With their young minds and ability to understand the issue at hand, these grade three students could easily accept as factual whatever information and instructions were fed to their minds by their teacher, who had been known to them as an authoritative figure when it comes to providing instructional information. Finally, the message was introduced appropriately by providing a background scenario where Jane Elliot first brought the subject of brotherhood. She effectively asked a question that solicited the needed response from the students. She asked: “Is there anyone in this United States that we do not treat as our brothers?” (Frontline: The Daring Lesson). of which, a student replied: “Black people” (Frontline: The Daring Lesson). By introducing that the color of a person’s skin causes them to be treated differently, Jane Elliot effectively convinced the students that “it might be interesting to judge people today by the color of their eyes” (Frontline: The Daring Lesson). As such, the message that blue-eyed people are the better people than brown-eyed people (and vise Versa) was easy to be relayed to the children and they responded quickly and completely because: (1) it was easy to understand. (2) they initially thought that it would be fun to feel how it is to be judged by the color of their eyes. (3) it is something that each of the students have (blue and brown eyes) and that they can assume the role expected from the message. From the video, it was evident that the message would be easily understood if the elements of the communication process share similarities in perceptions, convictions and belief systems. As indicated, since the sender-receiver roles were those of a teacher-student relationship, the established bond created through their classroom experience make the message easily credible, believable and understood according to the purpose or the intent it was originally planned by the sender.