As a part of this society, we are all informally “taught” how to perceive the people who come from different places. When issues of race and poverty are involved, we are almost always taught to expect less and to enviision a future of failure. Below are links to video clips from the HBO series, “The Wire.” Beginning in season 4, the show followed a former police officer into the classroom where he became a middle school math teacher.

Clip 1: Mr. Pryzbo observed the students’ interest in math in the form of a poker game. In the midst of Mr. Pryzbo teaching the students ‘the numbers” underlying poker,one of the students asked if the numbers functioned in a similar way with “dice,” which is a far more common form of competition in their neigjborhood. In the midst of raiding the school’s supply room for dice, through which to teach a lesson on probability, Mr. Pryzbo makes a startling discovery. What does Mr. Pryzbo’s discovery tell us about the school’s perception of the students? Was Mr. Pryzbo right or wrong for using gambling as a way of teaching students mathematical content?
Clip 2:, A student who regularly sells candy to make money around the school, discovers that he can get far cheaper prices for his product online than he can from local merchants in his neighborhood. The problem is that the only way he can gain access to this cheaper candy is through the use of credit card. Not having a credit card, the student asks Mr. Pryzbo if he can purchase the candy for him with his credit card. Mr. Pryzbo says that all of the cash has to be provided up front. However, he warns the student that if he comes in to school the next day with the money, he will assume that he got it on “the corner.” (eg. selling drugs). On the way home from school the student sees a dice game and decides to get the money implementing the probability lessons he learned in school. He gets all the money he needs for the candy. Needless to say, he comes into school the next day and hands Mr. Pryzbo a wad full of money from which to purchase the candy. What do you see the future holding for the student who obtained the money?

clip 1:

clip 2


Alternative Perception