[Editor’s note: The author is the UFT chapter leader at John Dewey HS.]
Aim: How can the ability to identify and understand basic propaganda techniques empower you to make better informed decisions?
Do Now: Read and briefly discuss with a partner “Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic”
Motivation: How many of you have ever been excited to purchase an item, partake in an activity, or follow a course of action, only to find yourself disappointed by the outcome? Who would like to share the situation? Elicit a response or two. Why did you specifically make the decision that you did? What led you to make the decision?
SWUT: The best way for the individual not to be manipulated into making decisions not in their best interest is to understand propaganda techniques.
Step 1: Briefly discuss and elicit examples of the propaganda techniques found in Cuesta College’s “Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic”
- Have students work in groups of four or five to do a close reading (pen, pencil, and/or highlighter in hand to underline main ideas of each paragraph, write notes, and/or write questions/comments on doc) of DOE “Turnaround” doc, dated January 13, 2012.
- Have roughly half of the students in each group answer the following questions:
- (p.1) What evidence of additional support have you seen this year? Have support services and or programs increased or diminished this year?
- (p.2) Based on the context of this paragraph, how does Walcott define meaningful system? Does the paragraph imply that the current evaluation system is meaningless?
- (p.3) Does the misuse of the plural possessive form in the first sentence imply Walcott is performing poorly in his educational duties? Why would the specific “conditions the UFT insisted on” be left out of this document? Is there any evidence to show the replacement teacher would better serve our students?
- (p.4) Is “real accountability” clearly defined? If so, what does it specifically mean? If not, why not?
- (p.5) Does Bloomberg currently have the authority to carry out his plan? Why would the DOE hold back the details of their plan?
- (p.6) What specifically will be used to screen the existing staff? What are “rigorous standards for student success”? Why is the term “significant portion” used? Is there an insignificant portion?
- (p. 7) Does the DOE currently have the authority to carry out their plan? Is the approval of the plan presented here the only course of action in restoring the funding? What does the phrase “whatever it takes” mean? What details are provided to clarify “best equipped”?
- Using one sentence, clearly describe the DOE’s plan to improve your educational experience at John Dewey High School.
- Have the other half of students in each group use the DOE source doc to try to identify examples of the four propaganda techniques listed in “Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic”
- Have the groups discuss and share out their answers.
Closure: Exit slip: Other than the “turnaround” model, decide what other solutions are possible?
HW: What appropriate and viable means are available to students to influence major decisions made regarding their education?