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Are my people really using hate speech?

Peer Mentoring

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Recap

The SEL activities supported the learners in identifying the importance of context in framing the emotional response of the viewer. In other words, what was the intended meaning behind the statement and the importance of understanding the surrounding conversations, context and commentary.

The Media analysis unit provided learners with an opportunity to explore hate speech statements, distinguishing fact from fiction, and truth from hate speech.

The Media production unit activities provided learners with an opportunity to explore the characteristics of online hate speech, categorising sample statements into hate speech and not hate speech.

The Citizenship unit activities give learners the opportunity to present the hate speech detection algorithm they produced to a wider audience, in order to discuss and refine it.

Main Activity

The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:

“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”

Activity 1 (Warm up): The “I am more likely to…” game

Note: Works best with 8-10 learners.

What you will need:

  • The “I am more likely to…” game resource. You will need one resource per participant. On page 3 of the resource, you have a series of short statements in grey boxes - cut these out individually and put them in an envelope (include the blank grey boxes too). There should be one envelope for each learner.
  • A pen for each learner.
  • A stick of glue or some sticky tack for each pair of learners.

Preparation:

  • Remind learners that the SELMA toolkit is a set of modules designed to address hate speech through a social and emotional learning approach. Learners will be participating in this activity designed to encourage reflection on the way that being part of a group may impact on our behaviour.
  • It’s important that learners feel safe, comfortable and warmed up before participating in an activity. Check out our handy “How to” guide for general recommendations on how to introduce your peer-mentoring activities.

Instructions:

  1. Provide each learner with pages 1 and 2 of the resource, and the envelope containing the cut out boxes from page 3.
  2. Explain that, in this activity, learners will be thinking about those things they are more likely to do alone versus those they are more likely to do as part of a group.
  3. In the envelope, they will find a series of behaviours - from “going to the cinema” to “teasing someone”. They will also find a few blank statement boxes. Ask learners to ignore the blank boxes for now, and just leave them in the envelope; we’ll return to them later.
  4. Explain that learners will have five minutes to stick each of the statements on one of the two pages you have given them. Page 1 is for all those behaviours that the young people think they are more likely to do alone (“I am more likely to… on my own”, and page 2 is for those behaviours they think they are more likely to do as a group (“I am more likely to… with a group”).
  5. Explain to learners that there may be some behaviours on there that they do not like to do at all. The purpose of the activity is not to say whether they would or would not do that behaviour, but to say whether they think they would be more likely to do it if they were alone, or if they were with a group. If there are some behaviours that they think they would be equally likely to do alone or in a group context, they should not stick them on either page, and just keep them on the desk.
  6. Now, ask learners to work in pairs. Give each pair of learners a copy of page 4 of the resource. Explain that learners should work through the three questions on page 4 of the resource and be prepared to summarise them later as part of a wider group discussion.
  7. Once each pair of learners has finished discussing, ask them to take five minutes to jointly come up with two activities they would be more likely to do alone and two activities they would be more likely to do with a group. They should write these on the blank grey boxes found in their envelopes and stick them on page 1 or page 2.

Activity 2: The battle is on

Note: Works best with 8-10 learners. The activity is designed for learners to work individually, but it can be adapted for learners to work in pairs (they’d work as a team, as though they were one participant, and the activity can remain as is).

What you will need:

Preparation:

  • Remind learners that the SELMA toolkit is a set of modules designed to address hate speech through a social and emotional learning approach. Learners will be participating in this activity designed to encourage reflection on group dynamics and the implications this has for how we think about hate speech.
  • It’s important that learners feel safe, comfortable and warmed up before participating in an activity. Check out our handy “How to” guide for general recommendations on how to introduce the peer-mentoring activities.

Instructions:

  1. Explain that learners are taking part in a competition, and that the winner will be given a prize at the end (you may want to tell learners what the prize is, or leave this as a surprise). It’s important that learners are not able to see each other’s answers - ideally you want a horseshoe layout where learners have their backs towards each other.
  2. Explain that learners will be competing individually over three rounds, and that they will have five minutes to complete each round. In the first and third round, there will be a bonus question - so if learners finish the activity with time to spare, they should try to get those bonus points. They’ll be given a sheet to fill in for each round, and their sheets will be scored at the end. The learner with the highest total score will be declared the winner.
  3. Round 1: Give each learner a copy of pages 1 and 2 of the “The battle is on - Learner resource” as well as an envelope with the seven individually cut out definitions from your “The battle is on - Trainer resource”. Learners have five minutes to complete the activity. They will need to match the term on the left hand column of their page with the correct definition found inside the envelope - sticking the right definition next to each term. Tell them to try to answer the “Bonus points” question at the end if they finish the matching game in time. Explain that there is a place for them to write their name on the bottom of each sheet. Make sure they write it down as otherwise you won’t be able to give them a score! When the five minutes are up, collect the sheets and keep them to one side, face down.
  4. Round 2: For this round, it is especially important that learners cannot see each other’s answers! Give each learner a copy of page 3 of the “The battle is on - Learner resource”. Learners have two minutes to complete this activity. Explain that each learner must decide whether they want to cooperate with other learners in the room, or defect. The resource explains what their choice will mean for them in terms of points. If all learners choose to cooperate, they’ll all get 10 points. If everyone chooses to cooperate but just one person chooses to defect, the defector will get 20 points, and everyone else will get 0 points. If more than one person chooses to defect, everyone will get 0 points. Tell learners that the catch is they don’t know what everyone else is going to choose - so they need to think carefully about what their best option is. Explain that there is a place for them to write their name on the bottom of each sheet. Make sure they write it down as otherwise you won’t be able to give them a score! When the two minutes are up, collect the sheets and keep them to one side, face down.
  5. Round 3: Give each learner a copy of pages 4-6 of the “The battle is on - Learner resource”. Learners have five minutes to complete this activity (you may decide to extend this slightly if needed). Page 4 describes a famous experiment. Tell them that they should take their time to understand the experiment, and then try to guess what the result of the experiment was. Tell them to try to answer the “Bonus points” question at the end if they finish the matching game in time. Explain that there is a place for them to write their name on the bottom of each sheet. Make sure they write it down as otherwise you won’t be able to give them a score! When the five minutes are up, collect the sheets and keep them to one side, face down.
  6. Now that you’ve collected everyone’s answers, tell learners that you will need about 15 minutes to tally up the scores and see who the winner is. Tell them that during this time, they will be doing another activity, which will be key to deciding who wins the competition in case there is a tie. Give each learner a copy of the “The battle is on - Learner resource - In case of a tie” and let learners work through it while you tally the scores.
  7. When it comes to announcing the winner, do it in a staged way, in order to use this as an opportunity to work through the correct answers with learners. So go one round at a time and work through the answers, inviting learners to call out what they think the answers were. Then announce the winner of that round and move onto the next round. For Rounds 1 and 3, take the time to discuss the bonus answers, and you can use the “The battle is on - Trainer answer sheet” as guidance to prompt discussion. For Round 2, explain to learners that this is the classical “Prisoner’s dilemma”, where individuals have an incentive not to cooperate (a single defector would get double the points than they would by cooperating) but that many people defecting would hurt everyone. Relate this to the topic of group dynamics where, as a society, there is a constant tension between the incentive to cooperate with each other and the incentive not to cooperate and to just act in your own self-interest, especially when you can’t know for sure if others will cooperate too. That’s why as societies we need to think carefully about creating the right structures to encourage cooperative behaviour. Once you have discussed the learnings from all three rounds, announce the overall winner and give them the prize!

Key takeaways:

  1. Groups are more than the sum of individuals - they have their own dynamic and can powerfully influence our behaviour - in both positive and less positive ways.
  2. As individuals, we often like to conform to the standards of our group and obey authority. Neither of these things is bad in itself - but it means we have to be super careful about what those group standards are and what authority figures are asking us to do. Do these align with our own individual values and ideas? It’s important to keep questioning and resist the urge to uncritically follow.
  3. Being part of our “in-group” may make us feel a sense of belonging - and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, this can become a problem when that “in-group” comes to be defined in opposition to an “out-group”. Hate speech relies on the construction of an inferior or dangerous “out-group”, where individuals of that “out-group” are dehumanised - and seen as representatives of that group, rather than individuals deserving of respect. Once you see individuals as faceless parts of an “out-group”, it becomes much easier to use hateful language towards them. Try to become more aware of the ways that we construct “in-groups” and “out-groups” in our society. Then you can become a powerful part of challenging that.

Outcome Criteria

Appreciate the ways in which interpersonal power relations and group dynamics can give rise to, or sustain, hate speech.

Resources

Appreciate the ways in which interpersonal power relations and group dynamics can give rise to, or sustain, hate speech.

Resource

I am more likely to...

Appreciating the ways in which interpersonal power relations and group dynamics can give rise to, or sustain, hate speech.

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The battle is on - Trainer resource

Description of the 'Battle is on' activity for the leader.

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The battle is on - Learner resource

Learner resource for 'The battle is on' activity.

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The battle is on - Trainer answer sheet

Answer sheet for 'The battle is on' activity.

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Learner resource - In case of a tie

A sheet to use in the event of a draw, or tie, in the 'The battle is on' activity.

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Resource

Det er mere sandsynligt at jeg...

Appreciating the ways in which interpersonal power relations and group dynamics can give rise to, or sustain, hate speech.

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Kampen er i gang – Elev

Learner resource for 'The battle is on' activity.

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Kampen er i gang – Underviser

Answer sheet for 'The battle is on' activity.

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Resource

Das tue ich eher...

Appreciating the ways in which interpersonal power relations and group dynamics can give rise to, or sustain, hate speech.

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Der Kampf ist eröffnet - Schüler

Learner resource for 'The battle is on' activity.

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Der Kampf ist eröffnet - Leiter

Answer sheet for 'The battle is on' activity.

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Resource

Πιο πιθανό είναι εγώ να...

Appreciating the ways in which interpersonal power relations and group dynamics can give rise to, or sustain, hate speech.

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Η μάχη ξεκίνησε - Μαθητευόμενος

Learner resource for 'The battle is on' activity.

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Η μάχη ξεκίνησε - Εκπαιδευτής

Answer sheet for 'The battle is on' activity.

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