Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

Monthly Update sign up
Mailing List signup
LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of an elementary school student.
LINK: Understanding Stereotypes Home
About the Class
LINK: Watching the video
LINK: Connecting to Your Teaching
LINK: Standards
LINK: Resources
About the Class

Classroom Profile | Lesson Background

Read this information to better understand the lesson shown in the video.

Content: Defining Stereotypes
A stereotype is an oversimplified, generalized concept or belief about a person, group, event, or issue, usually based on prejudice rather than on fact. People use stereotypes to analyze and categorize others by group rather than considering their individual differences. People come to see their own group as "we" and others as "they." Stereotyping can lead to ridicule and discriminatory behavior by one person or group toward another.

A brief description of stereotyping includes:

  • grouping people together based on their race, ethnicity, religion, language, customs, appearance, gender, or culture;
  • denying people rights because of the group they belong to; and
  • believing that one's own group is superior; other groups are inferior.

Ways to reduce stereotyping include:

  • promoting firsthand knowledge through personal experiences,
  • putting oneself in another's shoes and considering multiple perspectives, and
  • working toward a meaningful goal with others when all share equal status.

Image of a U.S. stamp with a Negro League baseball player.The Negro Baseball Leagues
From the toss of the first official pitch in 1846, baseball has been America's national pastime. Invented in America, the history of baseball is inextricably linked to the history of the nation.

In 1846, slavery was still widely practiced in the United States. Even after the Civil War and the emancipation of the slaves, Jim Crow laws kept blacks and whites from associating. Early in baseball's history, there were a few black players on major league teams, but that ended with a ban to shut black players out. In 1867, several black baseball teams applied for membership in the National Association of Baseball Players, but they were rejected. In society at large, the Supreme Court's 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson made "separate but equal" the law of the land.

The first Negro league was formed in 1920. Negro league games were well attended -- sometimes drawing larger crowds than the major league games. A few black players signed on with the minor league, but not until 1947 did Jackie Robinson sign and play regularly with a major league team, the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Teaching Strategy: From Concept to Action
Helping young students understand generalizations and stereotypes can be difficult. The concept of stereotyping may seem abstract. And while highlighting examples brings stereotypes into focus and underscores their prevalence, both past and present, it can also leave young students feeling demoralized by the power of stereotypes, or at a loss as to what they can do to affect change.

However, encouraging students to acknowledge the power of stereotypes is the first step to helping students understand that, as citizens, they have a right and a responsibility to take action. Civic action can take the form of a letter to a book publisher, as in Ms. Sinclair's lesson, an elected official, a newspaper editor, elected official, a community advertisement, or other constructive ways of changing public perceptions. Civic action helps students apply what they've learned in the context of their citizenship and community.

<< Classroom Profile


© Annenberg Foundation 2017. All rights reserved. Legal Policy