A Class Divided Paper

Principles of Sociology

Critical Thinking Essay 

A Class Divided

Your assignment is to dig deeper into the socialization process. Watch A Class Divided, a famous PBS documentary from the 1980s. The film features Jane Elliott, a third-grade teacher who engages her students in an innovative exercise on racial discrimination. Though the film is somewhat dated and contains offensive language with regard to race and ethnicity, it is quite relevant to our lessons on socialization and the social construction of reality. 

Tip: the film is divided into 5 chapters. You’ll have to watch at least three to complete the assignment.  

Writing Prompt:

Use A Class Divided and the materials in the Section 3 folders in Blackboard to answer the questions below. 

  • Pick EITHER the looking glass self OR the self-fulfilling prophecy; discuss the concept and explain how it is relevant to the film. Use specific examples from the film to support your ideas. 
  • Based on what you learned from this film, discuss how labels and stereotypes might influence children’s experiences in school. Incorporate specific ideas from the textbook into your discussion. 
  • Use the film as a point of reference to discuss the importance of school as an agent of socialization. Incorporate specific ideas from the textbook into your discussion. 

Writing Guidelines:

Essays should be at least 500 words in length. Work to keep your responses in this range; I’m looking for quality over quantity. This length requirement is to give you a sense of the minimum level of detail expected in your writing. Papers should demonstrate that you understand the information well enough to explain your ideas in your own words, can draw from course content to support your ideas, and provide original examples where appropriate. Plan to use course sources, exclusively, to complete this assignment and to cite your sources/attach a works cited page using the MLA or APA format. 

Specifically, you will be graded on:

  • The quality of your answer content: Did you demonstrate critical thinking in your response? Did you integrate specific facts and ideas from the assigned readings, videos, and activities into your writing? Did you use sociological concepts in a meaningful way?
  • The clarity with which you present your ideas: Did you carefully proofread your work to minimize writing errors? Are your ideas readily understandable to the reader?
  • The accuracy of your citing and works cited page: Did you use in-text citations? Is your paraphrasing comprehensive? Did you attach a works cited page? Did you use course sources exclusively? 


A Class Divided Documentary- https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/film/class-divided/

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