Teaching Students About the 227 Cast: Integrating Television History into the Classroom


In today’s fast-paced media landscape, it is essential for educators to find creative ways to engage their students. One such avenue is through exploring and discussing the history of television programming. A classic example that can provide students with valuable knowledge and insight is the 227 Cast – a group of talented actors that made up the popular sitcom “227.” This article will discuss various aspects of the show and provide tips on how to integrate this knowledge into your classroom in an interactive and engaging way.

Synopsis of the Show

“227” was an American sitcom that aired from 1985 to 1990 on NBC. The show was created by C.J. Banks and was based on a play of the same name. It revolved around the lives of residents living in an apartment building at 227 Lexington Place in Washington, D.C. The show primarily focused on the main character, Mary Jenkins, played by Marla Gibbs, and her neighbors and friends. The series dealt with various social issues during its time, including race relations, family values, and feminism.

Notable Cast Members and Characters

The 227 Cast featured several talented actors who portrayed various memorable characters throughout the show’s five seasons. Here are some notable cast members:

1. Marla Gibbs as Mary Jenkins

2. Hal Williams as Lester Jenkins (Mary’s husband)

3. Regina King as Brenda Jenkins (Mary’s daughter)

4. Alaina Reed Hall as Rose Lee Holloway (neighbor)

5. Jackée Harry as Sandra Clark (neighbor)

Integrating 227 Cast into Classroom Discussions

There are several ways educators can incorporate discussions on the 227 Cast into their curriculum:

1. Teach about Television History: Showcase “227” as an example of a successful sitcom during its time. Discuss how television has evolved since then.

2. Analyze Social Issues: The show dealt with various social issues relevant during the 1980s. Use episodes as discussion starters to examine how these topics are still relevant today or how much progress has been made in addressing those issues.

3. Character Study: Students can study the growth and development of characters during the series’ run, focusing on character arcs, relationships, and the impact of their decisions on other characters.

4. Media’s Role in Society: Discuss how “227” portrayed African Americans on television during its time and compare it to the representation of African Americans in current television shows and movies.

5. Careers in Entertainment: Have students research about the careers of the 227 Cast members before and after their involvement in the show. This can serve as an avenue for understanding careers in acting and entertainment.


Incorporating the 227 Cast into your classroom discussions can provide an engaging method to enhance your students’ understanding of television history, social issues, character development, media representation, and careers within the entertainment industry. By using this classic sitcom as a teaching tool, you’ll not only be sparking captivating conversations but also introducing your students to a vital part of cultural history.

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