Activities will help students:
- Practice critical reading skills.
- Use expressive oral language to stand up against prejudice.
- Practice metacognitive reading strategies in viewing advertisements.
- What biases do advertisements most commonly perpetuate?
- What happens in our own minds when we see and hear these biases on a constant basis?
- How can we prevent the biases in ads from affecting the way we think and feel about ourselves and others?
- Have the
students collectively view the advertisement below or a similar advertisement
that perpetuates stereotypes. The advertisement here perpetuates the idea that
girls should look a certain way, that girls care primarily about their
appearances and are somewhat ditzy, that it is “cool” to be a fake sort of
tough, etc. Guide students to use critical reading strategies developed in lesson
two to analyze the advertisement.
- Explain to students that, as they have seen over the course of this series, some advertisements are full of biases. They perpetuate stereotypes, use unfair representations, and teach unjust ideas about how people are and how people should be.
- Ask students to talk with a partner about what goes through their minds when they see an advertisement. Encourage them to be as honest as possible: Maybe the first thing they think of is whether or not they want the product being sold. Have them be really specific in explaining what they think and how the advertisements affect them.
- Then tell students that their task is to come up with a list of three to five techniques for “reading” an advertisement such as the one presented in this lesson without letting its biased messages influence them. In other words, since we cannot avoid, how can we work to minimize their impact on our self-esteem and the way we view others different from ourselves? Explain to students that there is no right or wrong here, but they should think of what strategies would be genuinely effective. Students may work independently, in partnership or as a group, depending on the needs of the class.
- After students have developed their lists, publish them and display them prominently. Encourage other students to read the lists and practice putting the strategies into action!
The real test of the strategies students come up with is whether they work outside the classroom. Give students photocopies of their lists to take home and post in their rooms or elsewhere in their homes. Challenge them to put the strategies into action over the course of the week. Then give them a chance to report back on whether and how the experience has changed the way they look at advertisements.