This lesson comes from the world of K Pop but don’t worry. There will be absolutely no horsey dances and I am the only chubby guy involved in this post. If your fears are assuaged, please…
Just a little context for those of you who are unfamiliar with the intriguing and scandalous world of K Pop. Ga In is a member of Brown Eyed Girls and is known for her ‘Asian’ appearance and embracing her sexuality. She has recently embarked on a promising solo career and is raising eyebrows with the video of her first single “Bloom” from her new luridly titled mini album Talk About S. Sami over at theoneshots.com argues this video is a critique of IU and the image she portrays. More on that here. Let’s turn from our femme fatale to the flower maiden. IU is the “Cutie” and portrays the innocence Korean men adore. She was recently involved in a scandal when she tweeted a pic of herself with another Korean idol who had his shirt off (oh my!). Such a devastating blow to her virginal image ^^.
It was in this context I asked my students to choose sides. The gloves are off. Who will be victorious? Will it be the seductress Ga In or the virginal IU?
This is obviously an opinion/persuasive/argumentative essay lesson with a bit of compare and contrast thrown in for good measure. The rhetorical elements primarily focused on in class were developing a clear and concise thesis (they’ve been having some trouble with this), developing a stronger voice, and acknowledging as well as refuting the counter argument.
- I showed the class the above photographs of Ga In and IU.
- We discussed the singers and what they are known for.
- I asked the class which performer they prefered and why.
- Grouped the students according to preference.
- Groups discussed the two K Pop stars and the reasons why they preferred one over the other.
- Develop a concise thesis stating their opinion. For example, If the groups wrote, “I like IU more than Ga In because she sings better,” I wouldn’t let that slide. I questioned and helped them further develop their opinion until it was something like, “IU is a more well-rounded artist than Ga In because she is a singer songwriter while Ga in is just a performer.”
- Shared opinions and support with the class.
- Groups took note of counterarguments during discussion.
- Each group went to their own whiteboard and composed an opinion paragraph on either Ga In or IU.
- Learners were free to move around and get ideas from other groups and to learn more about the counter argument.
- I walked around helping with language and asked questions to help the groups build support for their opinions.
- Paragraphs needed a thesis (topic sentence since we were only writing one paragraph), counter argument, concession and/or refute.
- After composing their paragraphs, each group analyzed a paragraph from the counter argument.
- Learners had to find and analyze the paragraphs thesis, counter argument, and refute.
- Students also had to take note of their favorite supporting evidence from the paragraph.
- Class discussed each paragraph and if an element was missing or not expressed clearly, we worked together to fix it.
- As you can see below, the first paragraph was much more successful than the second. When we analyzed the second paragraph, we found that it lacked cohesion, counter argument, and refute among other problems.
Ideas for Homework
- Students can write similar opinion essays in the voice of one of the pop stars for extensive writing.
- Write an essay taking the side of the counter argument for extensive writing.
- Write a reflection on the lesson using guiding questions posed by the instructor.