Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times is a graphic and entertaining illustration of two lessons from Bill Bigelow and Norm Diamond’s The Power in Our Hands, also included at the Zinn Education Project: Paper Airplane Simulation and Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing.
Paper Airplane Simulation demonstrated the transition to increased management control and the lessened skill levels and less meaningful work that followed. Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing gave the historical background. Here students see the workplace consequences. Although the movie is a caricature, it highlights people’s real experiences. Notice the absence of black workers, who will shortly become an important force in unionizing heavy industry.
The Power In Our Hands—Available for Download
This is one of the 16 lessons available from The Power In Our Hands. Other lessons available for individual download are:
Unit I: Basic Understandings
Unit II: Changes in the Workplace/”Scientific Management”
- Paper Airplane Simulation
- Free to Think, Talk, Listen, or Sing
- Modern Times
- “Taylorizing” Burgers: A Fantasy
Unit III: Defeats, Victories, Challenges
Unit IV: Our Own Recent Past
- It’s a Mystery—White Workers Against Black Workers
- Southern Tenant Farmers’ Union: Black and White Unite?
- 1934 West Coast Longshore Strike
- Union Maids
Unit V: Continuing Struggle
Order the book online from Rethinking Schools.