Beyond Broadcast

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES:Activity 1: Individual Responsibility

Individual Responsibility--Inaction Is Action

Learning Outcome
Students will become aware of the impact an individual can have on a community and develop a sense of their own power to act on their convictions.

photo of an old woman Video Segments

A. Excerpt length: 2:30 minutes. Begins approximately 40 minutes from the start. In cue: "Don't record what I'll tell you about Poles." Out cue: "What was his name?"
B. Excerpt length: 8 minutes. Begins approximately 24 minutes from the start. In cue: "As a part of the plan to erase..." Out cue: "Two and a half thousand of them in this town."
C. Excerpt length: 7 minutes. Begins approximately 43:35 minutes from the start. In cue: "We return to the parish." Out cue: "I have to think about it."


Part One

  1. View video segment A.

  2. Ask students to write two short paragraphs which complete the following two sentences:
    I was proud of my behavior when I ...
    I was not proud of my behavior when I...

    Students should choose incidents that were very important to them, even if they think they will not seem important to others.

    Have students discuss their responses in pairs. Then ask for volunteers to share their responses with the whole class. (Students may choose not share immediately. Give adequate time and wait for students to speak up. Acknowledge how difficult it can be to share in a large group. Don't record the students personal responses.)

  3. Facilitate a discussion and record responses to the following questions.
    • What do these examples have in common?
    • Which examples involve other people?
    • Which examples required an independent act that countered the mainstream opinion?
    • Which examples centered on inaction?
    • How many were impulsive acts?
    • How many were based on deeply held beliefs?
    • How many involved taking a stand?
    • How many involved a conscious decision not to take a specific action?
    • How many had an important consequence for the student, the community, or others?

Part Two

  1. View video segment B and C

  2. Nechama Tec, a Sociology Professor who has studied rescuers, says that all the rescuers were, "people with the courage to act on their own convictions."
    Divide students into small groups and have them discuss how her description does or does not apply to the characters portrayed in the film. What factors might have affected the formation of their beliefs? What factors might have prevented them from acting on their beliefs?

Lesson Length
Each part can be completed in a single class period.

New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE


New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE


New Content Copyright © 1998 PBS and WGBH/FRONTLINE
FRONTLINE / WGBH Educational Foundation