Wednesday, May 24, 2006

all look same? yes, indeed

The site All Look Same? has been around for a couple years. It tests your ability to tell East Asians apart: is this dude Chinese? Japanese? Korean? What about this chick? What about this person? When I took the test a long time ago (in 2003), my own score was horrible: 7 out of 18.

Today, I brought my 1pm English conversation class into my office and showed them the site. I challenged them to take the test, and asked them whether they would like to answer as a group for each question, or answer individually. They chose to answer as a group (which was funny, because we've got one Japanese student in that class; her presence caused something of a disturbance in the telepathic communion among the other girls).

Confusion reigned as the test began. Some of the same excuses I'd made a couple years ago were made by the students: "You can only see their head and shoulders... they're wearing glasses and those get in the way... his hairstyle throws me off..."

Result: the collective wisdom of my class produced a 6 out of 18.

The students were dead sure about many of the photos they saw: "Korean!" they shouted when they saw a particularly distinct-looking face. As it turned out, my students had the most trouble picking out Chinese people. If I recall correctly, when I took the test, I had trouble differentiating Koreans and Japanese.

It was an interesting activity, and a welcome break from the usual textbook-y routine. And now we know that some students are actually as clueless as I am about racial differences-- something we knew already, eh?

We need to do a white-person version of that site. Something with French, Germans, Irish, Scots, Amurricans, Aussies, and Kiwis (and perhaps the odd Icelander). I'd fail that one, too.



Anonymous said...

I got 10 out of 18.

Maven said...

I got "inversely amazing" I think I got 3 correct.