Tag Archives: Television

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.

A Funny Recipe

27 Oct

I often find it quite difficult to get my students to articulate the features/conventions of a particular genre.  To make the activity more interesting I recently asked my students to create a recipe for a sitcom.  To do this they had to identify a selection of ingredients, outline the process for combining the ingredients and specify how long and in what manner that finished product should be cooked.

The activity, predictably, elicited a number of humorous additions.  Lines that I particularly enjoyed included:

  • “One large bowl (or hyperbole) of exaggeration”
  • “Roast in oven for 22 minutes”
  • “One can laughter”

Hello Stranger

25 Oct

Hello Stranger is an ABC documentary series which seeks to meet a range of individuals and then follow one story home.

I recently watched the Hello Stranger episode entitled ‘Straight Outta Footscray‘ about Bangs, a rapper who hails from South Sudan and has achieved internet fame for a much derided song entitled ‘Take U to Da Movies’.  The episode allows responders to learn about Bangs, his hopes and his dreams.

I think I want to play the ‘Take U to Da Movies‘ clip to my students first, asking them to offer their thoughts about the clip and the man who stars in it.  Then, I want to show them the short documentary, asking them at the end if their perspectives have changed and why.

Mockumentary

24 Oct

I recently introduced my students to the mockumentary form and the role of satire in revealing truths about our society.

It has been really interesting watching my students engage with We Can Be Heroes, picking apart the construction to reveal the truths communicated.  They have been quite perceptive, noting how the opening montage features predominantly white males, thus engaging with our stereotyped understanding of Australian identity.  Students have also raised some interesting ideas about privilege and voice as a result of realising that all key characters are played by Chris Lilley.

So, I’ve been watching a lot of television…

4 Oct

It is the school holidays and I am watching more television than usual.  As I am a teacher, I cannot help but make connections between what I am watching and what I have seen before and, to think about how I could use these texts in the classroom.

I have caught a few episodes of Black-ish.  It occurred to me as I watched this show that it should really be studied alongside some episodes of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.  Why?  Well, both shows seek to engage with the intersections of race, class and identity.

Now, if only I could find space in the program to explore this further with one of my classes!

Language and Gender related material

3 Oct

I cannot stop thinking about the different types of texts I would introduce students to as part of the ‘Language and Gender’ elective in Extension 1 English.  As such, I have started to compile a list (see below).  I plan to keep revisiting and updating this list as new ideas come to me.

  1. The Bluest Eye (novel)
  2. Beloved (novel)
  3. Americanah (novel)
  4. ‘Girl’ (short story)
  5. The visual album accompanying Beyonce’s Lemonade
  6.  Girl Rising (film)
  7. Poetry of Maya Angelou
  8. Poetry of Warsan Shire
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (autobiography)
  10. Bad Feminist (collection of essays)
  11. The Twyborn Affair (novel)
  12. Annie John (novel)
  13. Quiet‘ (spoken word poem)
  14. Anzac Girls (television series)
  15. Call the Midwife (television series)
  16. The Help (film and novel)
  17. Love Child (television series)
  18. House Husbands (television series)
  19. Black Eye‘ (spoken word poem)
  20. Spear‘ (spoken word poem)
  21. I think she was a she‘ (spoken word poem)
  22. Real Men‘ (spoken word poem)
  23. She Said‘ (spoken word poem)
  24. Macbeth (play)
  25. ‘One Word’ (short story)
  26. The Color Purple (novel)
  27. Mr Selfridge (television series)
  28. Scandal (television series)
  29. Bush Mechanics (television series).

Pairs of texts

31 Mar

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about interesting textual pairings for study as part of a comparative unit.  Many of my ideas are not suitable for my school context or the ability levels of my classes.  However, I do think that, in the right contexts and with the right classes, all could form the basis of interesting and engaging units.

  1. A Lesson Before Dying (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  2. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Freedom Writers (film)
  3. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Girl At War (novel)
  4. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  5. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Schindler’s List (film)
  6. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  7. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & The Devil That Danced on Water (non-fiction)
  8. A Long Way Gone (memoir) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)
  9. Americanah (novel) & selected episodes of Black-ish (television series)
  10. A Monster Calls (novel) & Boy (film)
  11. A Monster Calls (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  12. A Monster Calls (novel/film) & Frankenstein (novel)
  13. And Then There Were None (novel) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  14. Animal Farm (novel) & Selection of episodes of House of Cards (television series)
  15. Antigone (play) and Home Fire (novel)
  16. Anzac Girls (television series) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  17. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & For Colored Girls (film)
  18. Bad Feminist (collection of essays) & When I Hit You (novel)
  19. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  20. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & The Dreamer (novel)
  21. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & The Kite Runner (film or graphic novel)
  22. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  23. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & Boy (film)
  24. Becoming Kirrali Lewis (novel) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel)
  25. Beloved (novel) & Dracula (novel)
  26. Beloved (novel) & Frankenstein (novel)
  27. Beloved (novel) & Icarus Girl (novel)
  28. Beloved (novel) & Uncle Tom’s Cabin (novel)
  29. Beloved (novel) & Unconfessed (novel)
  30. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Americanah (novel)
  31. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Selected short stories of Chinua Achebe (short stories)
  32. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Desdemona (play)
  33. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & God Help the Child (novel)
  34. Boy, Snow, Bird (novel) & Kissing the Witch (novel)
  35. Brave New World (novel) & The Crucible (play)
  36. Brave New World (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  37. Brave New World (novel) & V for Vendetta (film)
  38. Briar Rose (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  39. Briar Rose (novel) & Lion (film)
  40. Briar Rose (novel) & Night (autobiography)
  41. Briar Rose (novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  42. Deadline (novel) & Dead Poets Society (film)
  43. Deadline (novel) & The Fault In Our Stars (film)
  44. Deadline (novel) & The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (film)
  45. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  46. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  47. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Invictus (film)
  48. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Remember the Titans (films)
  49. Deadly, Unna? (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  50. El Deafo (graphic novel) & The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel)
  51. Etiquette and Espionage (novel) & Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (film)
  52. Exit West (novel) & Romeo and Juliet (play)
  53. Exit West (novel) & The poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  54. Exit West (novel) & The poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  55. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & After the Storm (film)
  56. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & 11’09’01 (collection of short films)
  57. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (novel) & Lion (film)
  58. Face (novel) & The Intouchables (film)
  59. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & Persepolis (graphic novel or film)
  60. Fahrenheit 451 (novel) & V For Vendetta (film)
  61. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & When I Hit You (novel)
  62. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When the Rainbow is Enuf (choreopoem) & Mustang (film)
  63. Frankenstein (novel) & Boy, Snow, Bird (novel)
  64. Frankenstein (novel) & Frankenweenie (film)
  65. Frankenstein (novel) & The Iron Giant (film)
  66. Frankenstein (novel) & Metropolis (film)
  67. Frankenstein (novel) & Never Let Me Go (film)
  68. Frankenstein (novel) & The Rocky Horror Picture Show (film)
  69. Frankenstein (novel) & The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (novel)
  70. Girl Rising (film) & Poetry of Maya Angelou (poetry)
  71. Girl Rising (film) & When I Hit You (novel)
  72. Hamlet (play) & A Monster Calls (novel/film)
  73. Hamlet (play) & Nutshell (novel)
  74. Hamlet (play) & The Lion King (film)
  75. Hiroshima (novel) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  76. Jasper Jones  (novel) & The Help (film)
  77. Jasper Jones (novel) & To Kill a Mockingbird (film)
  78. King Henry IV, Part I (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television show)
  79. King Henry IV, Part I (play) & Selected episodes of Scandal (television show)
  80. King Richard II (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television show)
  81. Life of Pi (novel) & Castaway (film)
  82. Lord of the Flies (novel) & Where the Wild Things Are (film)
  83. Lord of the Flies (novel) & The Hunger Games (film)
  84. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Designated Survivor (television series)
  85. Macbeth (play) & The Dressmaker (film)
  86. Macbeth (play) & The Gods of Wheat Street (television series)
  87. Macbeth (play) & The Kite Runner (graphic novel, novel or film)
  88. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of House of Cards (television series)
  89. Macbeth (play) & Selected episodes of Scandal (television series)
  90. Maus (graphic novel) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  91. Maus (graphic novel) & Night (autobiography)
  92. Maus (graphic novel) & Schindler’s List (film)
  93. March (novel) & Little Wome(novel)
  94. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (novel) & The Fault in Our Stars (film)
  95. Night (autobiography) & A Long Way Gone (memoir)
  96. Night (autobiography) & Beatrice and Virgil (novel)
  97. Night (autobiography) & Girl At War (novel)
  98. Night (autobiography) & Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography)
  99. Night (autobiography) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  100. Night (autobiography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  101. Night (autobiography) & The Seven Stages of Grieving (play)
  102. Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel) & Pleasantville (film)
  103. Nona and Me (novel) & Looking for Alibrandi (film)
  104. Nona and Me (novel) & September (film)
  105. Of Mice and Men (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  106. Othello (play) & Boy Snow Bird (novel)
  107. Othello (play) & Desdemona (play)
  108. Othello (play) & Gone Girl (film)
  109. Othello (play) & Jasper Jones (novel)
  110. Othello (play) & New Boy (novel)
  111. Othello (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  112. Othello (play) & V For Vendetta (film)
  113. Over a Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Girl At War (novel)
  114. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  115. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Lion (film)
  116. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Maus (graphic novel)
  117. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Night (autobiography)
  118. Over A Thousand Hills I Walk With You (biography) & Schindler’s List (film)
  119. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bride and Prejudice (film)
  120. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Bridget Jones’s Diary (film)
  121. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & Mustang (film)
  122. Pride & Prejudice (novel) & The Wedding Plan (film)
  123. Refugee Boy (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  124. Refugee Boy (novel) & The African Doctor (film)
  125. Refugee Boy (novel) & The Arrival (picture book)
  126. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Alex and Eve (film)
  127. Romeo & Juliet (play) & A United Kingdom (film)
  128. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  129. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Hairspray (film)
  130. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Meet the Patels (film)
  131. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Mustang (film)
  132. Romeo & Juliet (play) & My Big Fat Greek Wedding (film)
  133. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Tanna (film)
  134. Romeo & Juliet (play) & The Fault in Our Stars (film or novel)
  135. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Titanic (film)
  136. Romeo & Juliet (play) & Viceroy’s House (film)
  137. Romeo & Juliet (play) & West Side Story (film)
  138. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television show)
  139. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & The Green Bicycle (novel)
  140. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & The Kite Runner (novel or graphic novel)
  141. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Wadjda (film)
  142. Safana and Aunt Sarrinah (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  143. Scattered Lives (play) & Americannah (novel)
  144. Scattered Lives (play) & Freedom Writers (film)
  145. Scattered Lives (play) & Looking for Alibrandi (novel)
  146. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Peter Skrzynecki (poetry)
  147. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Selina Nwulu (poetry)
  148. Scattered Lives (play) & Poetry of Warsan Shire (poetry)
  149. Schindler’s Ark (novel) & Hotel Rwanda (film)
  150. Speak (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  151. Speak (novel) & The Lovely Bones (novel)
  152. Speak (novel) & The Scarlet Letter (novel)
  153. Speak (novel) & When I Hit You (novel)
  154. Stargirl (novel) & Wadjda (film)
  155. Station Eleven (novel) & A Midsummer Night’s Dream (play)
  156. Station Eleven (novel) & Hag-Seed (novel)
  157. Station Eleven (novel) & Never Let Me Go (novel or film)
  158. Station Eleven (novel) & The Tempest (play)
  159. Stolen (play) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  160. Stolen (play) & The Rabbits (picture book)
  161. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  162. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (memoir) & Queen of Katwe (film)
  163. The Color Purple (novel) & For Colored Girls (film)
  164. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (novel) & Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (film)
  165. The Dreamer (novel) & Billy Elliot (film)
  166. The Drover’s Wife (play) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  167. The Drover’s Wife (play) & ‘The Drover’s Wife’ (short story)
  168. The Drover’s Wife (play) & When I Hit You (novel)
  169. The First Third (novel) & Boy (film)
  170. The Fault in Our Stars (novel) & Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (film)
  171. The Handmaid’s Tale (novel/television series) & Never Let me Go (novel/film)
  172. The Help (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  173. The Help (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  174. The Help (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  175. The Outsiders (novel) & Hunt for the Wilderpeople (film)
  176. The Outsiders (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  177. The Outsiders (novel) & Yolngu Boy (film)
  178. The Rabbits (picture book) & Deadly, Unna? (novel)
  179. The Rabbits (picture book) & Poetry of Oodgeroo Noonuccal (poetry)
  180. The Rabbits (picture book) & Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)
  181. The Real Inspector Hound (play) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  182. The Real Inspector Hound (play) & And Then There Were None (novel)
  183. The Scarlet Letter (novel) & Easy A (film)
  184. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & The Real Inspector Hound (play)
  185. The Skull Beneath the Skin (novel) & Selected episodes of Trapped (television series)
  186. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (novel) & The Drover’s Wife (play)
  187. The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman (novel) & Freedom Writers (film)
  188. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle (novel) & Hamlet (play or film)
  189. The Kite Runner (novel) & Big Fish (film)
  190. The Kite Runner (novel) & Boy (film)
  191. The Queue (novel) & Animal Farm (novel)
  192. The Queue (novel) & Brave New World (novel)
  193. The Queue (novel) & Fahrenheit 451 (novel/film)
  194. The Queue (novel) & Nineteen Eighty-Four (novel)
  195. The Queue (novel) & Persepolis (film/graphic novel)
  196. ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ (short story) & Icarus Girl (novel)
  197. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & A United Kingdom (film)
  198. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Boy, Snow, Bird (novel)
  199. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Hairspray (film)
  200. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Poetry of Langston Hughes (poetry)
  201. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Jasper Jones (novel)
  202. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Pleasantville (film)
  203. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Remember the Titans (film)
  204. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & Selected episodes of Redfern Now (television series)
  205. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Blindside (film)
  206. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Hate U Give (novel)
  207. To Kill a Mockingbird (novel) & The Help (film)
  208. To This Day (graphic novel) & Wonder (novel)
  209. To This Day (graphic novel) & Face (novel)
  210. Vernon God Little (novel) & Elephant (film)
  211. Vinegar Girl (novel) & The Taming of the Shrew (play)
  212. Vinegar Girl (novel) & 10 Things I Hate About You (film)
  213. Voices from Chernobyl (non-fiction) & Grave of the Fireflies (film)
  214. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Siegfried Sassoon (poetry)
  215. War Horse (film) & Poetry of Wilfred Owen (poetry)

‘Living With the Enemy’

6 Jan

I recently viewed episode 3 of the SBS show Living with the Enemy.  The premise of the series is to have individuals engage with those who have ideologically disparate perspectives from their own.  The episode that I viewed focused on immigration, placing a Sudanese Australian and an Australian with right-wing political views together for a ten-day period.

I think this series (or select episodes of it) would be an interesting text to show to a Year 11 Standard English class as it would help them to understand the terminology and subject matter relevant to Go Back to Where You Came From.

I also think it would be an interesting text to show to a Year 9 or 10 class, perhaps as part of a bigger unit about the migrant experience.  Not only would it allow students to come to understand (and hopefully question) the documentary form, but it would present a real life representation of the tensions within our society.

National narratives

18 Oct

The most recent episode of The Verdict featured an interview with actress Miranda Tapsell.  In that interview, one of the things discussed was whether or not Miranda identified as Australian.  She noted that she did not as national narratives and celebrations marginalised or excluded Aboriginal people.

In an earlier acceptance speech at the 2015 Logies, Tapsell also touched on the notion of what it means to be Australian, calling on television writers and executives to feature greater diversity in Australian television as a means of reflecting and celebrating the myriad voices and faces of Australian society.

Together, the interview and speech highlight the importance of literature (in broad form) in presenting portraits and shaping perceptions of national identity.  In other words, if the diversity of Australian society is not represented on our television screens, in our films, and in our written texts, them certain groups becomes marginalized or excluded from the public national narrative of what it means to be Australian.

Prime Time

6 Oct

I have written previously about my desire to introduce students to a range of different Crime Fiction texts (see, for example, here & here).  One way to do this is to show students a series of opening sequences for crime shows and ask them to use these sequences to make inferences about the key components of the genre.

With this in mind, I have started to compile a list of possible trailers/opening themes/ads to use:

I am looking to expand this list, and also to supplement it with DVD covers and advertising material.