This is a conversation lesson adapted from “The Perfect School” on page 46 in Meddings’ and Thornbury’s book Teaching Unplugged: Dogme in English language teaching. Earlier in the semester we adapted “The Perfect School” to our English department. The learners actually held a meeting with the department head and proposed five changes they felt would benefit the department. The department head agreed with three of the five proposals and implemented the learners’ requests during the semester.
When it came time to discuss feminism, I wanted the learners to engage critically with the issue. We went back to “The Perfect School” and asked ourselves these two questions: “What are some problems women face in Korean society?” and “How can we make Korean society a better place for women?”
- We started with board work. I drew a Victorian lady on the board and we began discussing what ‘makes’ a lady (similar to A Gentlemanly Definition).
- We were writing the comments on the board when the class soon commented that being a lady is no longer relevant and that we should be discussing what ‘makes’ a career/independent woman.
- We then discuss as a class what problems women face in Korean society.
- In groups, learners brainstorm possible changes that should be made to fight gender inequality.
- I give each group a piece of B4 paper and have them write their five favorite propositions in headline form. (Sorry no photos)
- While they are doing this, I mingle with the groups giving suggestions, ask questions, and help with language when necessary.
- We share some of our ideas when the groups finish and go over emergent language.
- Homework: Groups will create prezis using their headlines and will present during the first half of the next class.
- Each group presents their proposals and we discuss as a class, e.g. pros & cons, further possibilities, and implementation.
- I participate in the discussions, take notes on the emergent language, and make suggestions on language when necessary.
- The class then votes on the their favorite three proposals which we briefly discuss further.
- For the second half of this class we discuss the treatment of women in the graphic novel Persepolis and relate it to the Korean context.
I wanted to engage the students as citizens on this issue outside of class, but was unable due to time and organizational constraints. That was the major failure of this lesson. I’ve got a few ideas for the next go around. Any ideas that would help this lesson promote citizenship and a stance against social injustice outside of the classroom are greatly appreciated. Cheers!