Teaching the Classic “12 Angry Men” Movie in High School

12 Angry Men: How We Make Judgements and Decisions

1. Subjective/Personal Views (which get in the way, create ‘blindness’)
• On the basis of past experiences: including conflicts, personal failures
• Personal agendas, ranging from immediate distractions, frivolousness, and whims to the insistence of ‘being right’
• Prejudices: ‘us’ vs. ‘them, pigeon-holing, stereotyping, name-calling, excluding, bullying
• Care-less indifference and irresponsibility (e.g., “I don’t care”, “not my problem”); separation of self from society/others
• Emotional views (e.g., taking things personally, making smart-aleck remarks), verbal abuse, “might is right” or “majority is right” comments

2. Objective Impartial Reasoning
• Use of facts, specific evidence—an interest in accuracy and fairness
• Open-mindedness: the state of being open to argument and persuasion
• Imagination: in order to conceive of hypotheses, possible scenarios, motivation from others’ perspectives
• Empathy: being able to look beyond surfaces and to consider others, to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes’
• Curiosity: asking questions, desiring to know
• Desire to seek the truth no matter where it leads; a desire to be accurate, just and fair
• Serious-minded reflection

*Which jurors exhibited the above characteristics?

Conflicts in the Film
• Personal vs. social; the individual vs. the group
• Close-mindedness vs. open-mindedness
• Conservative vs. liberal orientation
• Frivolousness vs. serious-mindedness
• Disrespect and rudeness vs. respect and courtesy
• Satisfaction with surfaces vs. digging deeper
• Prejudice and hate vs. tolerance and understanding
• ‘Us vs. them” divisiveness vs. fundamental common humanity

*Which jurors exhibited the above characteristics?
*On what bases do people judge and exclude others?

Other Questions
1. What was the key evidence in the case?
2. Was justice finally served or obtained? Explain with reasons.
3. What were some of the other minor or incidental factors which determined the case’s outcome?

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply