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THE CONTROVERSY OVER HATE CRIMES

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Procedures for teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson
Extensions -- Additional activities




Media Components

Computer Resources:
  • Modem: 56.6 Kbps or faster.
  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 4.0 or above or Internet Explorer 4.0 or above. Macintosh computer: System 8.1 or above and at least 32 MB of RAM.
  • Personal computer (Pentium II 350 MHz or Celeron 600 MHz) running Windowss 95 or higher and at least 32 MB of RAM
  • RealPlayer
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 4.0 or higher. Download the free Adobe Acrobat reader here: http://www.adobe.com/products
    /acrobat/readstep2.html
    .
Materials:

Teachers will need the following supplies:
  • Board and/or chart paper
  • Ideally, a screen on which to project the video clips
  • Copies of the Academic Controversy Handouts
  • Copy of "In the Life -- Setting the Record Straight," Episode #1409 -- June 2005
  • If students do not have Internet access in the classroom, you will need to make copies of the above listed sites. You may want to insert additional resources; if so, be sure to select materials that you have thoroughly reviewed, are appropriate to students' reading levels, and include a variety of different resources, i.e.: articles and essays, maps, graphs and other visuals, and primary documents. This may also be a good opportunity for your students to conduct their own research.
Students will need the following supplies:
  • Computers with the capacities indicated above
  • Notebook or journal
  • Chart paper
  • Wide felt-tipped pens
  • Pens/pencils
  • Resource Packets
  • Copies of the student handouts
Web and video resources:

Tip: Before teaching this lesson, bookmark all of the Web sites used in the lesson on each computer in your classroom, create a word-processing document with all of the Web sites listed as hyperlinks, upload all links to an online bookmarking utility such as www.portaportal.com, or make paper handouts of necessary Web pages so that students can access the information on these sites. Make sure that your computer has necessary media players, like RealPlayer, to show streaming clips (if applicable).

Preview all of the sites and videos before presenting them to your class.
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--Lesson 1 (Academic Controversy) --

Introductory Activities:

Goal: To introduce the students to academic controversy

1. Have students brainstorm a list of the kinds of communication and collaboration skills necessary for this type of project - e.g. active and respectful listening, "I" messages, no shouting (referred to in Student Handout A and Student Handout B). Ask the class to identify characteristics of healthy communication and collaboration. Keep track of the students' responses on chart paper and display in the classroom for the remainder of the lesson. Distribute Student Handout A and Student Handout B, and ask the class to read them silently. Then ask a couple of students to identify what was listed in the handouts that the class hadn't yet come up with in the brainstorming activity.

2. Ask students to describe a typical debate. How is it structured? What is the end goal? Discuss with students the difference between the Academic Controversy model, with an emphasis on a "win-win" resolution, and the traditional debate model, which results in one side winning and the other side losing. Emphasize that the desired outcome of this lesson is the synthesis of the best reasoning from both positions, and the creation of a new position that all involved can articulate, defend and live with.

Distribute Student Handout 1 and Student Handout 2, the Academic Controversy Steps and Checklist and the Rules for Academic Controversy. Allow a few minutes for students to read the handouts, encouraging them to underline main ideas. Then call on two to three students to summarize the main ideas represented in these handouts and discuss any other items of interest. For example, in Step 3 of Handout 1, "Engage in Open Discussion," a student might identify "continuing to advocate for their positions and refute the evidence and the reasoning of the other side" as a main idea. In Student Handout 2, "Rules for Academic Controversy," a student might underline the phrase "even if I don't agree" under rule number 4, to remind her that listening quietly to another student's ideas does not mean she concurs. Have another student write the main points the class comes up with on chart paper and display in the classroom for the remainder of the lesson.

3. Ask the students the following questions:
  • Why are we using this process?
  • How can this benefit us?
  • What purpose is there to switching sides?
  • Why is it important to be able to create a new position?

This will help students think about the value of the process. For example, a student might explain the importance of switching sides as an opportunity to "stand in someone else's shoes." Another student might highlight the fact that the creation of a new position could resolve the conflict that exists between the two sides. Ask a student to write the responses on chart paper to display in the classroom.

4. Warm-up Activity: "Trying on" Academic Controversy (approx. 25 min)

Select a student to model the Academic Controversy process with you. Select another student to time the controversy and a third student to track the strategies the class identifies after each step. Explain that after each step in the structured controversy (draw their attention to Student Handout 1), you're going to stop and ask the class what they noticed. What strategies or approaches worked best in presenting each position? What strategies or approaches worked best for the reversal of perspectives? And what strategies or approaches worked best for the synthesis of the strongest elements from both perspectives? (Have these questions written out on chart paper beforehand and post them during this exercise). A student will keep track of these answers on chart paper.
  • Assign the student you are modeling with the following position: The school day should start later so teenagers can get more sleep in the morning and attend school in the afternoon when they are more alert.
  • Assign yourself the following position: The school day should not alter so that teenagers can continue to have their afternoons free to devote to extra-curricular activities, employment or academics.

    Remind the class that you are only modeling how to engage in a structured Academic Controversy, and you are not going to be including the first step (creating the best case for a position). Explain that you are also spending less time on each section than they will when they practice Academic Controversy next or when they do the actual Hate Crimes Academic Controversy in the next few days.

    Have the timer give you each two minutes to present your positions. Then pause and ask the class what strategies or approaches worked best in the presentations of each position - what worked best in persuading them one way or another? Students will brainstorm and have the note-taker write the responses on the chart paper.

    Have the timer give you two minutes to engage in open discussion. At this point, you and your partner continue to support your positions; you also have the opportunity to respectfully refute your opponent's points and ask for clarification.

    Then you will reverse positions. Remind students that the task is not to find the loopholes in their opponents' arguments, but rather to identify and argue those points that are the strongest and most persuasive as if they were their own. Have the timer give you each two minutes to argue for the opposite position. Then pause and ask the class what strategies or approaches worked best for the reversal of perspectives - what are good ways to argue the other person's position, especially when you were refuting that position just moments ago? Students will brainstorm and have the note-taker write the responses on the chart paper.

    Have the timer give you and your partner three minutes to synthesize. Remind the class that at this point, you and your partner need to take the most persuasive arguments from both sides and create a new position. Ask the note-taker to write down the key decisions or points that both sides agree on in order to come to consensus. Then pause and ask the class what strategies or approaches worked best for the synthesis of the strongest elements from both perspectives - what are good ways to resolve this conflict and create a new position that both sides can live with? Students will brainstorm and the note-taker should write the responses on the chart paper.

    At this point the notes from the class' reflections on each step of the controversy will be displayed in front of the class. Ask students the same questions you asked them earlier. This time their answers will be informed by the modeling exercise. "Why are we using this process? How can this benefit us? What purpose is there to switching sides? Why is it important to be able to create a new position?"


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4. Hand out copies of the rest of the Student Handouts:


You will need to provide several copies of Handouts 5, 6, and 7 to each student because their note-taking may require more than one sheet. Review Student Handout 1, the Academic Controversy Checklist, which will help students stay organized as they proceed. Student Handout 3, the Rubric for Assessing Performance in Academic Controversy, will help students understand how they will be evaluated throughout the process and should make explicit what is considered superior, good, satisfactory, and unsatisfactory effort and performance. Student Handout 4, the Rubric for Assessing Performance In Academic Controversy: Written Report and Oral Presentation, will help students understand how they will be evaluated on their written report and oral presentation (if applicable) and should make explicit what is expected of them. Student Handout 5, the Research Note-Taking Form, should be used by students for note-taking and comments during their research position development. Student Handout 6, the Presenting Positions: Note-Taking Form, should be used by students for taking notes on the key points and their comments while listening to the opposite side's position. Student Handout 7, the Reaching Consensus: Synthesis/Resolution Form, should be used by groups of students to identify and articulate all the key elements of their new position, one that melds together the best elements of both Position A and B.

Explain to students that they will be responsible for using these handouts at each step throughout the lesson, and that they will need to turn Student Handouts 5, 6, and 7 in with their joint report at the end of the lesson for credit. Tell them they will get some practice using the handouts during the practice exercise they are about to do.

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4. Organize the class into pairs by having the class count off in twos. Each student finds a partner - every 1 should partner with a 2.
  • Assign all the "Ones" the following position: Afterschool detention is an effective punishment for students.
  • Assign all the "Twos" the following position: Afterschool detention is not an effective punishment for students.

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4. Remind students that they need to employ active listening for this activity, which means that they cannot talk or ask questions while the other person is speaking, and they should take notes on what the other person says (see the Tips section). Explain that each person in Group 1 will have two minutes to present his/her position, while those in Group 2 take notes using Student Handout 6. Then those in Group 2 will get two minutes to present their position, while those in Group 1 take notes using Student Handout 6. Tell the class that you will time these presentations, and that you will shout "Time" when two minutes are up.

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4. When both sides have presented their positions, give the partners three minutes to engage in open discussion. Remind students that at this point they should continue to advocate for their positions, while trying to refute the reasoning of the other side.

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4. Those in Group 1 and those in Group 2 now reverse perspectives, adopting the view they were just trying to refute. Students in each group will have two minutes to present the best case for what was their opposing perspective. Remind students that this is the most difficult step in Academic Controversy, and that they really need to work at stepping out of their own shoes and stepping into the shoes of their partners, arguing for the reverse perspective.

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4. Give students five minutes to work with their partner to synthesize their two perspectives, drawing on the best reasoning from both positions and melding them into a new position. Both students in the pair are responsible for tracking this conversation and the key elements of their new position using Student Handout 7. Students turn these in.

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4. Evaluate students for this first day's work based on their participation in this exercise, and based on Student Handouts 5, 6, and 7 that they turn in. This is a good opportunity for informal assessment to learn if students understand the process or need some additional help.

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Learning Activities: Days 2-3


1. Ask the students to respond to the following questions and write their answers on the board:
  • How would you define hate crimes?
  • Do you know what federal or state hate crimes legislation states?
  • Do you think that there should be federal and state hate crime legislation?
2. Explain to your students that the class will engage in academic controversy surrounding the complicated issue of hate crime legislation. Explain that there is no right or wrong position, rather the point is to create a dialogue around the issue. Have students read the following article, "Does Hate-Crime Legislation Inhibit Free Speech?". This article contains a good overview and summary of hate crimes and some of the current controversy surrounding the support of, and the opposition to, hate crime legislation. Ask the students to write in their notebooks three items that support the use of hate crime legislation and three items that oppose it.

3. Show the students the segment on the Matthew Shepard case from the show IN THE LIFE. Begin the tape approximately 40 minutes into the show when Janeane Garofalo says "His face has been broadcast around the world..." Play the segment to the end, approximately 15 minutes. Tell the students to pay special attention to the segment that covers hate crime legislation and to note whether a specific federal or state hate crime law was used in the trial of the Matthew Shepard case.

4. When the segment is over define the controversy that the students will be engaging in for the next few days: "Hate Crimes: Should there be federal and/or state legislation that increases a sentence if the crime is also deemed a hate crime?"
  • Position A: Hate crime legislation should exist and be used to increase sentences for those who have been found guilty of committing a hate crime.
  • Position B: Hate crime legislation should not exist and should not be used to increase sentences for those found guilty of committing a hate crime.

5. Hand out print versions all of the bookmarked Web sites and introduce the resources that the students received.

6. Divide the class into groups of four. Explain that these will be the groups that students will remain in throughout the rest of the lesson. Student performance will be evaluated based on individual effort, participation, and contribution to the group. Assign a pair from each group to each position. Remind students that each team will thoroughly research the controversy in order to create the best case for their position. After they become knowledgeable about their position, they will need to organize and frame logical, compelling and well-reasoned arguments to use in the structured controversy.

6. Ask students to brainstorm a list of questions they will need to answer and terminology they will need to understand in order to develop the strongest argument for their particular position. Track these on chart paper. Then, if any questions have been missed, provide the following list to further focus students in their research:
  • As you conduct your research, define the following terms and concepts (writing the definitions on Student Handout 5): hate crimes, hate groups, racial violence, homophobia, xenophobia, gay panic defense, religious minority groups, overkill, free speech, anti-Semitism.
  • What is the reason for the conflict over hate crime legislation?

6. Students will need time to read and take notes, using Student Handout 5 as a guide, before joining their partners to develop their case.

6. Assign the following homework assignment the night before the structured controversy takes place: Ask students to review the notes they took while conducting their research, and to identify those elements that might be most persuasive in making a case for their position. They should highlight or "star" those sections of their notes that are most compelling and come ready to share them with their partners the next day. You can also have students conduct additional research at home.



Learning Activities (continued): Days 4-5


1. Ask one or two students to briefly describe in their own words why this issue is a controversy.

2. Have students re-group with their partners. Give the pairs 10-15 minutes to share the sections they highlighted for homework, and to strategize about how to make the strongest, most logical case for their position.

Present the best case for their positions

3. Remind students about the rules for Academic Controversy (refer them to Student Handout 2). Perhaps have a student read them aloud or paraphrase them.

3. Explain to students that you will be timing each pair's presentation and that the pair that is not presenting should be actively listening and taking notes using Student Handout 6. The listening pair should also be analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments. The listening pair cannot interrupt the pair that is presenting.

3. Allow each pair from four to eight minutes, depending on your time budget, to present the best case possible. It is often helpful to alert students when there are two minutes left.

Engage in open discussion

3. Allow five minutes for open conversation between the two pairs.

3. At this point, each pair continues to support their position and students have the opportunity to refute their opponent's points and to strengthen their own. This is a time for discussion, and also provides time for individuals to ask clarifying questions of the other pair.

Reverse perspectives

3. Pairs now switch sides, adopting and arguing the point of view they earlier tried to refute. This is the most difficult step for students. It is hard to suddenly switch hats and to now have to powerfully and persuasively argue the opponent's position. It might be helpful to remind students here about the ultimate goal and expected outcome of Academic Controversy: a new position that both pairs can live with, a real win-win situation that leaves no one the loser.

3. Allow each pair from four to five minutes to prepare their new position, encouraging them to carefully review the notes they took during their opponents' presentation. Remind students that the task here is not to find the loopholes in their opponents' positions, but rather to identify and argue those points that are the strongest and most persuasive as if they were their own.

3. Allow each pair three or four minutes to represent the best reasoning of the opposite perspective. Restate what the two positions have been for this Academic Controversy:
  • Position A: Hate crime legislation should exist to increase sentences to those who been found guilty of committing a hate crime.
  • Position B: Hate crime legislation should not exist and should not be used to increase sentences of those found guilty of committing a hate crime.
Ask a representative from the Position A pair to summarize for the other three people in their group what the three to five most compelling, well-reasoned arguments they have made are. Ask a representative from the Position B pair to do the same thing.

3. Now opposing pairs need to come together to jointly select and agree on the best reasoning from both Position A and Position B. Ask the pair supporting Position B whether the arguments just presented by the pair supporting position A are the most compelling and well-reasoned. Ask the same of the Position A pair. What other key points were made that are missing from the list? Are any arguments not well reasoned (with supporting evidence) and persuasive?

3. Have each group of four use Student Handout 7 to identify and articulate all the key elements of their new position, one that incorporates the best elements of both Position A and B. Refer students to the goal of the exercise as explained on Handout 7: a solution that represents a synthesis of the reasoning behind both positions. Walk through how to use Handout 7, highlighting where students note the key points from both arguments and where they record their ideas for solutions.

The new position is more than just a compromise. It should represent new thinking and possibilities, and it should not force either side to "give up" too much. The new position may be something that requires new efforts, laws, or sensitivities. This is a chance for students to "think outside the box" - to imagine brand new ways of resolving the given conflict.

For this particular Academic Controversy, new positions might include:
  • Promoting respect for race, religion, disability, sexual orientation or other differences will reduce violent disputes.
  • Every state should adopt hate crime legislation and create mandatory law enforcement training on hate crimes.
  • Every state should allow judges or juries to decide the sentencing of crimes without using additional hate crime sentencing laws.


Culminating Activity/Assessment: Day 5/6
Creating a joint report

1. Each group of four will create a report that briefly describes the presentation and main arguments of the two positions; identifies and explores the key elements of and rationale for the new position; and provides a creative and persuasive case for the new position. You can also ask your students to come up with a "real-world" solution that could be implemented in the here and now and a "blue sky" solution that may not be realistic in the here and now but has potential.

2. Refer students to Student Handout 4, "Rubric for Assessing Performance In Academic Controversy: Written Report." Ask students to read through the rubric. Then, walk the class through one or two of the columns of the rubric, highlighting the differences between scores (1-4 points) and emphasizing the criteria you will consider when you evaluate their work. Allow time for students to ask any questions they may have regarding the rubric. Through this exercise, students should gain a clear sense of what is expected of them as they embark on the preparation of the joint report. This is also a good time for the teacher to discuss deadlines, and perhaps offer a timeline for the work that includes incremental deadlines (e.g. outline of report due Monday, bibliography of resources due Tuesday, etc.).

3. For the final joint report, each group of four will prepare a written report that includes a thesis statement that clearly advocates for a new position, a rationale for that new position, and a conclusion that includes next steps. Students might divvy up writing responsibilities after brainstorming together, or the group might outline the paper together and then divide up writing responsibilities among individuals or pairs.

4. Then, if time permits, each group can choose one of the following creative options as an additional joint-product to hand in.
  • A mural or collage (including text and visuals) chronicling the experiences of hate crime victims, family and friends.
  • The development of a resolution to the United States Congress regarding steps they should take to ensure the protection minority groups.
  • Letters to state or federal senator or congressman proposing their hate crime plan.
  • A poster to put up on school wall about what a hate crime is and how to stop hate crime.


Extension Activities
  • Using Academic Controversy, create two other opposing positions for students to debate, this time about the role of how the media should report hate crimes.
  • Have students research youth hate crimes and come up with suggestions for how to address young people who commit hateful acts.
  • Have students watch "In the Life -- Image Conscience" and create an activity or academic controversy on how lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gendered imagery have been portrayed throughout history.