A Fresh Take on Social Issues

18 Nov

It came as a surprise to my students that sitcoms, such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, can convey important social messages.

To get my students critically engaging, we played a game of ‘Agree/Strongly Agree/Disagree/Strongly Disagree’ in which students had to move to the side of the classroom that best described their response to a set of deliberately provocative statements.

Statements included:

  • The sole purpose of a sitcom is to entertain.
  • It is impossible to communicate perspectives about important social issues in 22 minutes.
  • Sitcoms serve important social purposes.

It was great to see students engaging with their wider knowledge when defending their viewpoints.  It was also great to see students changing positions as they became convinced by the arguments of their peers.

After the game we watched a selection of Fresh Prince episodes, stopping after each one to revisit and explore the questions in light of what we had watched.

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