Ted's teaching tips

20th November 1998 at 00:00
(Photograph) - background must be handled sensitively, as many children feel self-conscious if asked about their own family or home circumstances.

The photograph

Look at the expressions and posture of the four children in the picture. What do the faces and stances of each of them suggest? Disdain,contempt, respect, bewilderment, apprehension, indifference, amusement? What about their dress, formal or informal? What sort of family do you think they come from?

Social Class

The British are supposed to be "class conscious". What does this mean? Is it true? Does the social background of other people matter to you? How are people grouped socially? ("upper", "middle", "lower" class; "professional" and "manual" jobs, A, B, C, D, E according to type of job, income, etc). Why do newspapers boast of their "AB" or "ABC"readership? (to impress advertisers). What are "status symbols"? (cars, designer clothes, expensive trainers). Is class more important than other factors, like someone's religion, lifestyle, honesty, loyalty, determination, imagination?

Prejudice

If these four children were in a balloon and one had to be thrown out to save the rest, which would you eject? Did you pick the public school boy? Supposing he is actually very nice. Did you pick one of the others? Why? Are you prejudiced?

Humour

Write speech bubbles for the four boys ("Can you spare 50 quid for a cup of tea, guv?". "Go away, peasant").

Ted Wragg is professor of Education at Exeter University

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