Ted's teaching tips;The big picture

23rd April 1999 at 01:00
The thought of a 15-year-old girl marrying a 14-year-old boy will shock many pupils, but this picture of mother and daughter opens up all kinds of discussion points, which must be handled sensitively, given the range of family patterns in a typical class.

The picture

Who are these people? (not many will assume that the cigarette-smoking coalminer is the mother). Why would the mother want to talk her 15-year-old daughter out of marrying a 14-year-old boy, when such a marriage is legal in that part of the United States? What would you say to the girl and her boyfriend?


Why do people need to think carefully about marriage? (could live to be 100 or more; serious promises made during ceremony; are they suited to each other?). What promises do people make in a marriage and what do they mean? Love? Honour? Obey (optional in Anglican services since 1980)?

Sex roles

Are you surprised at the girl's mother being a coalminer? If so, why? What are "traditional" sex roles and are they changing (more women going out to work)? What are regarded as traditional women's jobs ( secretary) and men's jobs (airline pilot). Would you be willing to do a job traditionally done mainly by the opposite sex (female engineer, male nurse)?

Dramarole play

Improvise a scene where some pupils play the motherfather trying to persuade their sondaughter not to get married too young.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now