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To be surprised at DS's English lessons?

(45 Posts)
chocolateflakecake Sun 15-Feb-15 18:06:07

Have been looking through DS's English book.

The teacher has been completing a unit on tabloid and broadsheet journalism. The teacher has had them write 'don't believe everything you read' in big letters which surprised me since it's a church school.

They have been studying articles such as one from the daily mirror about overweight people claiming benefits, and an article about josie cunningham wanting to abort her baby to go on big brother. They had to detect bias in these as well as guardian and telegraph articles.

AIBU to think these topics are a bit mature (he is in year 9.)

DoJo Sun 15-Feb-15 18:18:31

I'm not sure I get the link between 'not believing everything you read' and the fact that it is a church school - could you elaborate?

Also, in terms of detecting bias and identifying attempts to fudge facts, we used propaganda from the Second World War for this purpose, so I suppose these are the modern equivalents. It has to be an emotive topic to really demonstrate the point, so I wouldn't have thought that these were inappropriate if they are discussed in context.

DoJo Sun 15-Feb-15 18:19:58

Ha ha - just realised that I have unwittingly implied that the Second World War was 'current events' when I was at school. I just meant that if concentration camps and bombing campaigns were considered appropriate when I was at school (only in the 90s I hasten to add!) then these stories don't seem too bad to me.

chocolateflakecake Sun 15-Feb-15 18:22:16

I suppose because the Christian faith is based on believing what you read - the bible, in other words smile

FinallyHere Sun 15-Feb-15 18:24:26

Learning to read the same story, and how it changes according to the publication, was possibly one of the most useful lessons I ever learned in school. It amazes my how many people missed it.

Id agree that they need emotive subjects, to get the point home.

Are your DCs really that insulated from the media usually: I'm wondering how you do that.

SantanaLopez Sun 15-Feb-15 18:25:53

What age is Year 9, please?

sparkysparkysparky Sun 15-Feb-15 18:29:16

Seems appropriate for Year 9

SantasFavouriteHo Sun 15-Feb-15 18:30:10

Santana think it's 13/14

EllenJanesthickerknickers Sun 15-Feb-15 18:32:17

Y 9, totally appropriate, age 9 maybe not so.

Lottie5 Sun 15-Feb-15 18:33:21

It's an excellent topic for English. It doesn't matter what the article is about, what they will be looking at is how language can be used in a provocative or sensationalised way to influence the reader's reaction. It's an important skill to learn as lots if people are duped by the media into thinking they are reading factual content because they are not attuned to how language is used to "sensationalise".

I think this has been specifically designed to encourage the children to understand the power of language and also to have a healthy scepticism towards the media. This wasn't done in the context of religious scripture so I really wouldn't have any concerns there.

attheendoftheday Sun 15-Feb-15 18:33:27

That all seems quite good to me, and ok for year 9 IMO.

MajorasMask Sun 15-Feb-15 18:34:01

Seems very appropriate for Y9 in my experience TAing. TBH i had a similar lesson for y11 kids but after very little media education I found that they did not detect bias even in Katie Hopkins on This Morning (for real, I showed a clip). Your child will be navigating a more complex media and political landscape due to this kind of scaremongering inaccurate journalism and actually I hope to return to media teaching at college level for this very reason.

Don't mean to be harsh but I don't see what is too mature about the topics, these are social issues that will shape his ideologies in the future and could change how he chooses to treat vulnerable people.

Mistigri Sun 15-Feb-15 18:34:18

Very appropriate for this age group IMO - they are massive consumers of media of all types but often still very naive and lacking in critical thinking skills.

Funnily enough we were talking about the obesity/ benefits issue at the dinner table tonight - conversation initiated by my 13 year old (14 in May so this age group).

Creatureofthenight Sun 15-Feb-15 18:34:22

Sounds like an interesting topic, and a useful lesson.
I went to a Catholic school and my RE teacher taught us not to take everything in the Bible literally...

susannahmoodie Sun 15-Feb-15 18:35:21

Seems fine for y9 and a very important lesson to learn.

Lottie5 Sun 15-Feb-15 18:35:43

It's a great topic for 13 to 14 year olds by the way. They are already soaking up so many media messages and it's important that they question the messages they are bombarded with.

ElephantsAndMiasmas Sun 15-Feb-15 18:36:25

I don't think the topics at all too mature for Year 9. I know some girls who had had abortions by Year 9, let alone heard about them.

Is there a reason you think 'don't believe everything you read' is a bad lesson to learn? Do you really want your son going out into the world giving credence to everything he sees in print? Honestly not being sarcastic.

It's important to think critically, otherwise you can be too easily led along. It's not saying "don't believe ANYTHING you read", it's saying: use your common sense, do your own research, look into opposing viewpoints - then make your own decision about what to believe.

MajorasMask Sun 15-Feb-15 18:37:02

Additionally I'm very glad to hear that this is going on in a religious school actually - the Bible shouldn't be taken at face value and neither should pretty much anything else. Critical thinking is really crucial even if you happen to be deeply religious, IMO. I went to a non religious secondary so I have no idea if these kinds of lessons are the norm but I would hope so.

Bakeoffcakes Sun 15-Feb-15 18:37:18

It sounds entirely appropriate.

I was teaching my DDs this kind of thing from about age 10. They have to learn to think critically about information they are given.

pointythings Sun 15-Feb-15 18:37:36

Totally suitable and appropriate for Year 9 and very useful. Being aware of bias is incredibly important. It's something we have been doing at home for quite some time.

Alisvolatpropiis Sun 15-Feb-15 18:38:47

That's the sort of thing I was doing in my English lessons at the same age just over 10 years ago.

wanderings Sun 15-Feb-15 18:41:13

I did this sort of thing in year 9. (I also had to read Wuthering Heights in year 9; I didn't "get" it at all.)

chocolateflakecake Sun 15-Feb-15 18:42:53

Fair enough. I'm probably guilty of thinking DS is still 4 smile

Treaclepot Sun 15-Feb-15 18:44:36

Completely appropriate. Sounds great. We did a similar thing with adverts at that age. Made me learn to read though the bullshit before it took a hold.

Surely it's good to get them to question all they read especially religious texts. To blindly believe stuff is awful.

KarmaViolet Sun 15-Feb-15 18:46:07

Being able to recognise bias in sources was a major part of my history GCSE in the 90s. We did it in English too. I'm glad it's still on the curriculum, it was one of the most useful things I learned at school.

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