Who is to blame?

Graduating Teacher Standard 6a:

recognise how differing values and beliefs may impact on learners and their learning.

Adolescents have a lot going on. School, family, friends, sports, music, and other extra curricular activities. And it is no secret that all adolescents come from different backgrounds. As a teacher it is near impossible for me to know everything about each of my students, but I can plan activities that let them know whatever they have been told, and however they have been raised, it’s not all their fault. Subject to the “personal fable” it may be often that students think something is all their fault – be it family, school, or friends.

This is an activity that shows adolescents many factors contribute to the outcome of something, it is never just one persons fault.

I did this with Romeo and Juliet, but it can be modified to be done with other Shakespeare tragedies or novels/film with tragedy in them.

1. Ask students to write in their books, with three lines in between each one – Romeo, Juliet, Tybalt, Mercutio, Lady Capulet, Lord Capulet, Friar Lawrence, Nurse, Montague, Prince, Paris, Friar John.

2. Students are to write under each one why they could be to blame for the tragedy at the end. E.g. Romeo went to the party and met Juliet.

3. Now, get students to rank the characters from 1-12 with 1 being the most responsible.

4. Put students into groups of four, ask them to compare answers and compile a list of the top 5 most responsible for the deaths.

5. Students to put forward their top five, write these on the board. (I found that almost all the names were suggested)

Get discussion going about who is responsible – lead the discussion towards suggesting that no one exactly is responsible – it is the combination of everyone’s choices that resulted in the deaths of the lovers. There is no black and white.

 Extension: Students to pick who they think is the most responsible and write a paragraph explaining why.

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