Ted's teaching tips;The Big Picture

5th March 1999 at 00:00
This painful-looking cartoon raises trivial and serious issues, from changing fashions to eating disorders in childhood and adolescence.

Fashion

When do we use words like "fashion" and "fashionable" (talking about clothes, jewellery, cars, leisure pursuits, holiday resorts, food and drink)? Are any fashions silly, or even dangerous (platform shoes, slim-waisted clothes, rings and studs)? How do advertisers make you follow fashion (stress popularity, modernity, attractiveness, being "old-fashioned" if you don't buy)?

Health

Do girls' and women's fashions promote an unhealthy attitude to weight (teenage girls far more worried about their body shape than boys, believing they are "fat", when their body development is normal; female "super models" often ultra slim, but male sports stars not)? What are "anorexia" and "bulimia" (eating disorders)?

Conformity

Do you follow latest fashions, or are you above it? Why do people like to "conform"? What is a "role model", and who influences your choice of clothes (models, pop singers, film and TV characters, sports stars, your friends)? Why do these people influence you (identify with them, envy, admiration)?

Humour

Write a funny caption for the picture ("Are you sure this is the best way to learn skiing, mother?"; "Is it worth it, just for the school disco, Mrs Jenkins?"). Or write a dialogue.

Ted Wragg is professor of education at Exeter University

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