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Archive for the ‘teaching ideas’ Category

Single mothers

In institutions, social groups, teaching ideas on December 2, 2008 at 11:53 am

I’ve encouraged my students to google a phrase to get texts on a more specific topic.  Demonstrating it with “single mother”, some of the first-page hits I got were: this Guardian piece on J K Rowling and her rags-to-riches story (from July 1997); this Independent comment by Kate Saunders on her own experience (from Apr 2007) and this wonderful example from the Daily Mail about a single Nigerian mother who lives in a big house that – guess what – we the taxpayers are funding (from Nov 2008).  There’s clearly enough here for an investigation, but any of the texts could also be used as part of an ‘institution’ investigation into the idea of Family, or further texts about J K Rowling or Omowunmi Odia could be found for a piece on individuals.

Ideas for ENGA2 coursework projects – wikis

In teaching ideas on November 21, 2008 at 10:44 am

We’ve spent about a month with 4 classes on the ENGA2 work so far. Our classes are all taught by 2 teachers with one doing ENGA1 and the other doing ENGA2, so it means we get 3 periods a week on coursework.

In my 2 classes we’ve done some early work on social groups and individuals, with students using our college VLE (Moodle) to track a celebrity/ individual in the news and post their links to a wiki. It’s a pretty simple idea but if you’ve not come across a wiki before, it might need some explanation.

Basically, a wiki is a lo-fi website that allows students to create their own pages with text, images and links to other sites. We’ve got it set up so each student has their own wiki and we can, as teachers, access all their wikis to check on progress. The kinds of things they’re posting are links to stories about their chosen individuals and celebs, so one student has been looking at how Jean Charles De Menezes has been represented in the press during the inquiry into his shooting, several have looked at Barack Obama in the run up to and afternmath of his election, some have looked at Madonna, Guy Ritchie, Kerry Katona, Sarah Palin, Lewis Hamilton, Gordon Brown…the list goes on. But they’re posting the links to their wikis and keeping tabs on evolving news stories, so that’s a start.

The difficult bit is getting them to then select the most useful stuff from these stories to analyse for representation. We’ve spent about 3 lessons so far selecting and analysing anything from 2-3 word noun phrases (“troubled Amy Winehouse”, “former drug abuser Kerry Katona”) to whole paragraphs of text where more complex discourses are presented.

They’re now moving onto a 2nd tracking exercise on events, issues or institutions, before we do a third and final one at the end of term on social groups.

Alongside this, we’ve started getting them to do some analytical work to show them what kinds of frameworks are relevant, and for this I’ve used extracts on how young people are represented. I’ll post up the links or files later this week.

Anyway, what’s everyone else doing or planning to do? I can’t claim that our approach is particularly original or successful (who knows what’ll actually get written for the coursework) but it’d be good to hear of any other approaches from teachers of ENGA2.