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ghosts of rwanda

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Pre-Viewing Lesson Plan
  • Learning about Rwanda
  • Student Worksheet #1
  • Student Worksheet #2
  • Lesson Extension: Genocide in World War II and its Aftermath
  • Student Worksheet #3

  • Viewing Lesson Plan
  • Student Viewing Guide
  • Student Worksheet #4

  • Post-Viewing Lesson Plan
  • The Big Picture
  • Lesson Extension: The Aftermath of Genocide
  • Lesson Extension: Reconciliation and Reparations in Rwanda

  • Further Resources

    Printable .pdf of Entire Guide
    (Adobe Acrobat required)

    » Viewing Lesson Plan:

    Student Viewing Guide

    » Lesson Objectives:

    In this lesson, students will watch the film and familiarize themselves with the main events and people in "Ghosts of Rwanda."

    Note: Because this is such a powerful and emotionally affecting film, students will need time to debrief immediately after seeing it. If possible, try to see the film ahead of time so that you can be more prepared for student reactions.

    » Materials Needed:

    » Time Needed:

    Two hours to watch the film; 90 minutes to debrief and to hear student reports

    » Procedure:

    Part I:
    1) Break the class into seven groups and hand out the student worksheets.

    2) Assign each group to track one of the following groups or individuals while viewing:

    • The United Nations
    • The United States
    • The International Red Cross (IRC) and Monique Mujawamariya (Rwandan human rights activist)
    • Carl Wilkins (the only American to remain in Rwanda)
    • The Tutsis
    • The Hutus
    • The journalists

    3) Students will view the film together. Tell them that they will be viewing a documentary that examines the possible causes, events, and continuing effects of the 1994 Rwanda genocide. After viewing and discussing the documentary, tell students that they will be responsible for contributing to class discussion, with a focus on the constituency they have been tracking. Teachers should encourage good note-taking.

    Part II:
    1) Following the viewing, engage students in debriefing and discussion using the following questions as starting points:

    • What had the most impact for you in the film?
    • What did you learn from watching the film?

    2) After the initial debriefing discussion, students should get into their six groups for further discussion. Encourage students to be prepared to talk about and refer to:

    • The concerns of the group they have been tracking
    • At least one anecdote about each of the constituencies/individuals they have been tracking

    3) After the groups have had 10 to 15 minutes to talk, reconvene the class as a whole to give students an opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts from the small groups. Discuss the following questions:

    • Who in the film do you think might be haunted by "the ghosts of Rwanda?" Why?
    • Some of those involved have suggested that racism may have been a factor in the international community's decision not to intervene in Rwanda. Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
    • At what points could someone have intervened and possibly changed the history of the genocide?
    • Why was the Red Cross more effective in Rwanda than the U.N.?

    Encourage students to look at their notes on Student Worksheet #4 during the debriefing discussion. The discussion should naturally move back and forth between the larger questions and the concerns of the specific groups.

    » Assessment:

    Students' notes
    Participation in classroom discussion

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