Ted's teaching tips

4th December 1998 at 00:00
A "traditional" Christmas? What can this mean nowadays? We celebrate it, but do children know why?

Then and now

This idealised picture is from Victorian times. What is similardifferent between this scene and now? (size of family, special meal, cooking own dinner rather than convenience food, decorations, kind of presents?). Why did Victorian women have to work such long hours in the home? (compare cooking, washing, heating, shopping, cleaning, in modern and former times).

Religious festivals

Why is Christmas celebrated? What and how do religions celebrate? (births, deaths, events; processions, musicdance, worship, fastingeating, ceremonies, holidays). What religious festivals do the class know about?

Commercial aspects

Is Christmas now too "commercial", and what does this mean in practice? Do you like all the hype? (endless adverts, shops starting with Father Christmas in late October, naff songs top of the charts, pressure to spend). What sort of Christmas presents do you give and receive, and do you use or play with them for long? Should we change Christmas? If so, how?

A Christmas story

Our best known piece of fiction is Dickens's "A Christmas Carol", written in 1843. Can anyone tell the story? Write your own 1998 version, where somebody famous has an experience which makes them think about the life they lead.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University.

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