Longer Necks, Glossy Lighting and Media Manipulation

“Could you hit the switch for me? Thanks.”

My students had been chattering, having finished the day’s journal entry about media and its role in shaping public opinion. In a previous journal, they had assured me that they were impervious to the media’s influence.

I thought I’d show them the light. Naturally, the classroom itself was dark, a few rays coming in through the cracks between the blinds.

“Are we going to watch a movie?”

I chose not to dignify that with a response, instead playing the minute-long ad.

“I can’t hear anything. Is it a silent movie?”

The questions dropped off once they started watching it. For good reason, too — it’s provocative.

Immediately afterward, I played the original. This one had sound, yet the class was still silent. I could tell I got their attention.

I had them consider their journal from the previous day — has their position changed? What effect does the media have on public perception? They scribbled furiously.

Once we got over that, the discussion went pretty well. I think they really understood the media’s power to influence public thought, and we touched on the dangers of the media itself being manipulated.

I can’t wait until we hit the freedom of speech unit. With my master teacher’s approval, I have another great clip ready.

Moral of the story? Teachable moments aren’t always spontaneous.


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