Perspective – Challenging our thinking
Duration – 23:31
Authentically apply the concept of perspective to teaching and learning experiences through exploring quality texts.
Perspective – challenging our thinking
Welcome to professional learning about the English textual concept: Perspective - challenging our thinking. This professional learning meets standard 6.2.2 'participate in learning to update knowledge and practice targeted to professional needs in school and or system priorities.'
Your understanding of the concept of Perspective and the two supporting concepts will be developed through the exploration of example texts that can be used in the Stage 3 classroom and appropriate teaching and learning activities and resources. You may register this professional learning with NESA as Teacher Identified Professional Learning.
The essential resources for any planning of teaching and learning through the English textual concepts and learning processes are the English K-10 Syllabus which can be downloaded from the NESA website, the English textual concepts and learning processes, sometimes referred to as the 'grey book' and the English textual concepts related syllabus content booklet, in this professional learning, for Stage 3, is the green book.
These English textual concept resources can be downloaded from the English textual concept website. All links will be available in the attached document. This shows the Perspective progressions from that grey book. It is recommended that you have the grey book, as well as the Stage book and the syllabus on hand, due to the comprehensive definition it provides and a concept progression it outlines with each concept and learning process.
This progression is from Early Stage 1 to Stage 3. Having a look at each progression really helps see where the students are headed and where they have come from. This can help shape your pre-assessment as well as provide you with vocabulary base, from which to build upon. Referring to the concept progression for Stage 4, also found in the grey book, is useful to know where your students are heading towards.
Whether you have a print copy of the English textual concepts and learning processes grey book, or if you are using the online version, you may like to pause the video here to read through those statements.
Here is where the English textual concepts and learning processes sit within the teaching and learning cycle. The understanding, applying and assessing structure guides our practice, as well as the way we design the supporting teaching and learning materials. Effective teaching and learning occurs when conceptual knowledge, texts, syllabus outcomes and assessment align to challenge and extend what students already know.
When exploring the concept Perspective, a great place to start is to watch this video, which can be found on the Department of Education's website or by using the link in the attached word document. We'll also provide you with a definition for Perspective along with examples.
It is one of 15 videos that are engaging and clear and designed for both teacher and student reference. These videos were created with the NSW English Teachers Association and The School Magazine. You may like to pause this presentation at this point and watch the video.
Perspective, what is it and why is it important. Perspective is the lens through which we learn to see the world. It shapes what we see and the way we see it. It includes the values that the responder and composer bring to a text. These values are expressed or implied through the composer's language and structure which may position the reader to accept them. If that's our perspective then why is it important? It's important because students need to understand that neither texts nor they themselves are neutral. It's also important because students accept certain views of the world.
Whilst the focus for this professional learning is Perspective, we'll also model how you can use other supporting concepts using sample Stage 3 texts. Notice how Code and convention runs across, because an understanding of the Code and convention of a text is vital to communicating how meaning is made and communicated.
A supporting concept of Representation, is the depiction of a thing, person or idea in written, visual, performed or spoken language. In representing, we make choices from the language offered by those modes. Representation may aim to reflect the natural world as realistically as possible or may aim to convey the essence of people, objects, experiences and ideas in a more abstract way. In Stage 3 students, understand that Representation positions audiences to adopt a particular response.
Context refers to factors acting upon composers and responders, that impinge on meaning. Context and text are in a symbiotic relationship in the production of meaning. To understand Context, we need to look beyond the text and consider the world in which it was produced and the world of its reception. In Stage 3 students begin to recognize how Context may be expressed in texts. If we look at the Stage 3 concept progressions for Perspective, students understand that perspectives may differ and that these differences need to be considered.
In Stage 3, students learn that Perspective may be expressed in different ways through the values represented in texts and the language used. They learn that text may construct a perspective that challenges accepted ways of thinking and they learn that different perspectives can be adopted for particular purposes. Looking at the Stage 3 Stage statement, we're able to create guiding questions to help with units of work.
The English textual concept progression statement terminology has been used to develop these guiding questions. The Stage 3 guiding questions are connecting to key terminology from the progression statement. Firstly we begin by shifting the statements into questions and these can be 'why' and 'how' style questions.
Our activity structure utilises the learning processes and explicitly connects to the syllabus outcomes. These can be easily modified to suit a different Stage of learning. Some resources are an activity starting point and they are there to give you an idea of how you could introduce an aspect of the text into the Stage 3 classroom. The outcomes that have been selected for Stage 3 fall under objectives A, B and D. The syllabus content dot points have been identified and come under 'respond to and compose texts.' Remember though, these content dot points work towards achieving these outcomes and are there to help us achieve those outcomes.
The first learning activity that will be unpacked is a cartoon for Stage 3. Just to note, all permissions have been granted from the cartoonist Isabella Bannerman to show and discuss her cartoon. A little bit of information about Isabella Bannerman - she's an American cartoonist, known for her role as one of the contributors to the comic strip Six Chicks. Bannerman's cartooning career began in 1987 when she won a cartoon contest in the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She's also worked in the television industry as an animator on the TV series Doug. All social media contacts with Isabelle Bannerman will be shared in the attached document, for you to explore her work further.
The purpose of a cartoon is to challenge our thinking through humour. We'll focus on Perspective, but also take the opportunity to model how you can use other supporting concepts of Representation and Context. Perspective is the lens which the composer and responder sees the world. The lens can clarify, magnify, distort or blur what we see. It includes the values that the responder and composer bring to a text. In a text, these values are expressed or implied through the composer's language and structure which may position the responder to accept them.
In Stage 3 students understand that perspectives may differ and that these differences need to be considered. Having a look at the cartoon by Isabella Bannerman in the Stage 3 classroom, there are a number of discussion, questions that could be explored. These questions could include;
· 'Can we see the perspective of the cartoonist?
· Why did Bannermen select 2 female hikers?
· There is no male representation, what does this suggest about Bannerman's perspective?
· Can we, as responders see the perspective of the factory owner?
· I wonder what his or her perspective would be?
There are also silence perspectives in this text, what perspective has been silenced?' We could discuss with the students that the economic and industry perspective is not shown. 'I wonder what their perspective would be?'
Having class discussions around the perspectives of the composer, the hidden perspectives and also the two characters in the text, will challenge students ways of thinking. It will challenge students to look at the environment versus the need for industry. A guiding question that we shared on an earlier slide for Stage 3 was, 'How can texts challenge accepted ways of thinking?'
By exploring cartoons similar to the one shared now will allow students to dive into this guiding question. Possible guiding questions for classroom discussion around Representation could include, 'What do the hikers represent?' Students may express things, such as, they represent health, they represent naturalist, they represent independence.
'How are the values and attitudes represented by two females?' As a class you could look at the females being represented as strong and independent.
'What does the composer use to create these representations?' Discuss with students the females are wearing sporty clothes. 'How are they standing? What is their body language showing? Where are their hands and what is this representing?' Again, there are no males represented in this comic. I wonder why the two females are standing up high on green land? What do students think that this may represent? Some Stage 3 students may need a number of prompts and 'think alouds' to see these representations.
We can also unpack the concept of Context. In this cartoon, context to be considered should include the context of composition, and the context of response. With students, we could unpack the following discussion questions, 'What do students think the purpose of this cartoon is, and who's the intended audience?' When thinking of context, explore with students when the cartoon was published, and that was 2015. 'What was happening in the world at that time? Were there political elections? Were there debates taking place? Were any new policies being implemented?' Our Stage 3 students may not know the answer to any of those questions posed, it may require some research and teacher prompts because we meet our students where they're at.
When students are aware of context they've realized that all meaning is contingent upon a range of factors, not simply in the text, but also outside it. The previous slides discussed a range of ideas that could shape our discussions and possible activities for the classroom. Looking at the concepts of Perspective, Representation and Context. In terms of assessment, we'll identify an activity that has a through line, from concept to learning process, to outcome content point.
From the syllabus to the assessment opportunity, remembering any activity that we do in our class can be used as a formative assessment opportunity. For this particular activity we'll look at the outcome EN3-1A, the content point is 'to participate in and contribute to discussions, clarifying and interrogating ideas, developing and supporting arguments, sharing and evaluating information, experiences and opinions.' Through the learning process of 'engaging critically' students recognise that texts can influence and position responders, they analyse and evaluate different ideas and values and texts.
This assessment activity will allow students to do just that. The assessment activity is all-around a role-playing. There are a number of role-play opportunities that students could perform for this cartoon, students can role play a conversation between the two females in the cartoon - what perspectives are they both bringing that will impact on the conversation? Their perspectives may not be the same when we look at their body language and posture, their beliefs and values may differ.
Students could also role-play a conversation between one of the females and the factory owner. Students could also role-play a scenario between the factory owner and a nearby neighbour. Role-playing will allow students to develop supporting arguments, taking into account perspectives, experiences and opinions.
Stage 3 students will be aware that texts may challenge accepted ways of thinking. As a teacher, I would share with students that every person has their own way of looking at things even when we speak the same language. We can misunderstand each other because we can't see into other people's minds and hearts. You can never assume you totally understand another person or assume they understand you completely. We come from different families, have different ethnic backgrounds and cultures and have different personal experiences and values. We want different things from life and different things from each other. We have different dreams, goals and expectations. This is what provides us as humans with our perspectives.
In this activity, students are provided with two images of completely different settings. In this case, the two settings will bring values, opinions and perspectives in. In these activities students will explore where they would like to go for a holiday. Perspective is a lens in which the composer and responder see the world. In Stage 3 students understand that perspectives may differ and that these differences need to be considered.
We have identified the driving question: how can texts construct a perspective that challenges accepted ways of thinking? Possible classroom ideas and discussion points for Stage 3 could include, 'Is this the place you would like to visit? Why or why not?' Students will provide an explanation, justification and reasoning as to which location they would prefer to visit.
With our students we could then unpack that further; what values and life experiences impact our justification? What are students bringing to this image? Placed around the image are a small number of impacts that students could be bringing. Let's have a look at the water park image. A student who lives on a farm in rural Australia who is experiencing drought and extreme hardship, may not like the idea of wasting water at a water park. They therefore may not like the idea of holiday or visiting them.
This perspective may be different from a child in the city who does not share the same values for water and land. Even though we're looking at the same image, what we are bringing to that image shapes our response and may challenge our ways of thinking. We will discuss with students the factors outside of the text that impact on them as a responder.
Some activities that you could do in the classroom around Perspective for these images, besides the discussion questions already mentioned, could include a senses poem. Looking at the same image, students compose a senses poem; what they see, feel, hear, taste and smell. This activity will allow for students perspectives to be showcased. All students are seeing the same image, however what they are bringing to that image is very different.
Students could also write two persuasive pieces: one piece around why coming to the park will be socially and emotionally beneficial, and another piece around why coming to the park could be environmentally detrimental. Students could also explore a consequences flowchart and a compare and contrast chart. All activities would allow and create discussions and explore moral, ethical and social dilemmas encountered in texts, which is a Stage 3 content point from the syllabus.
We have discussed a range of ideas that could shape our activities and discussions for the classroom. Looking at the concepts of Perspective, Representation and Context. In terms of assessment, let's identify an activity that has that through line, from concept through to assessment. We'll be looking at the outcome EN3-5B, the content point is 'to consider and develop sustained arguments and discussions supported by evidence.'
This assessment task will showcase that a discussion is a text that presents both sides of an argument. Students will compose a discussion using the visuals as the stimulus discussion. Topics could include: Should we ride elephants when we are on holidays? Should we visit a water park when Australia is in drought? This task will allow students to showcase two different perspectives as they will present both sides of the argument.
This will challenge accepted ways of thinking. Song lyrics are another great text to use to showcase Perspective. Take for example Archie Roach's, 'Took the Children Away.' Archie Roach was part of the Stolen Generation, a policy that ran from 1909 until 1969, where Indigenous Australian children were forcibly removed from their family by Australian government agencies and placed in an orphanage.
Roach wrote 'Took the Children Away' about this experience. Australian musician Paul Kelly invited Roach to open his concert in 1989, where he performed the song. His performance was met with stunned silence followed by shattering applause. The song became significant as it was released at a time where there was increasing public focus on the Stolen Generation. Stage 3 students could explore the perspectives and context of this song.
What perspective is Archie bringing? Stage 3 students could also explore the perspectives of the parents, the government and the orphanage staff. What are they all bringing that is shaping their lens of the world? When exploring these song lyrics, it would also be beneficial to expose students to the 'Sorry speech' by Kevin Rudd, about the Stolen Generation and the government apology. It's also worth noting that in 2015, musician Briggs remade Archie Roach's classic into a song called 'The Children Came Back.'
Again, all links and references will be available in the shared document. When selecting text remember that a text that is used in the Early Stage 1 or Stage 1 classroom can most likely be used in the Stage 2 and Stage 3 classroom as well, however the same cannot be assumed the other way, a text recommended for Stage 3 is unlikely to be a good fit for Early Stage 1. It is also important to remember that a whole text doesn't need to be read every time, the chapter or paragraph may be a perfect illustration of Perspective. Have a clear purpose in your mind when selecting a text.
These texts are appropriate for exploring various aspects of Perspective. This is not a definitive list by any stretch and as we know a text should serve multiple concepts. A shared document for perspective text suggestions has been created, please contribute to that list. All links and resources that have been suggested in this session will be available in a separate word document.
Please do not hesitate in emailing the English team if you require further support. We love to hear about your trials and adaptations, we love to celebrate successes. Try some of these ideas with your class and let us know how your students respond.
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