Prejudice and Perspective – letters to the editor

In recent classes, we have been broadening our focus on prejudice and stereotypes from the novel (The Outsiders) to the real world. Our aims are to:

  • develop an open-mind that is capable of considering opposing viewpoints
  • learn how to express these ideas in a real world setting (opinion pieces / letters to the editor).

Here is our brainstorm of possible topics to investigate. Students will search for news articles about one of these topics. We will then practise the ‘Step Inside’ routine in order to consider multiple perspectives on the story.


We are also learning about the genre features of the ‘letter to the editor’ text type. Our initial brainstorm about features of this text type is summarised below. We then compared what we thought we already knew with some example letters.


Students will develop two letters in response to a news story, writing sensitively from two different perspectives.





Stereotypes of gangs (intro to The Outsiders)

Year 8 has just kicked off our third unit, which focuses on stereotypes, prejudice, and point of view. We started by brainstorming some ideas that came to mind when we thought about the ‘stereotypical gang’ member. We followed this up by listening to a podcast about Gangs at Harper High in Chicago in order to expand our understanding about what gangs are like. Original lesson and resources are here. Students showed the development of their thinking using the ‘I used to think… Now I think…’ strategy. Some of these ideas are recorded in the comments below.

“Storytelling and International Mindedness” Introduction to new unit on short stories from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Today we will be starting out final unit for your IBDP language and literature course, forming a section of part 3 – literature and cultural contexts.  We will be exploring short stories from Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and examining concepts such as cultural context (composition and interpretation), globalisation (colonialism, postcolonialism), stereotypes, multiculturalism and more.

To begin, let’s watch a TED talk from the author about the dangers of ‘the single story’.  Following this, we will complete three activities to help us ‘tune in’ to the unit.

Activity 1
Summarise Adichie’s main points in your own blog post (feel free to embed the video as well). Comment on these ideas and connect to your own experiences as well – have you had any experiences similar to what the author described in her talk?  (e.g. stories showing a narrow view of the world, stereotypes, cultural misconceptions). If not, you could also talk about any stories that create or overturn cultural misconceptions that you may be familiar with. What about your own reading history?  Where have the majority of books you have read come from? (Overwhelmingly from dead, rich, white men perhaps?)

Activity 2
Define some key terms in your notebook:
* culture
* multiculturalism
* culture clash
* culture shock
* stereotypes
* short story (genre features)

Then, working with a partner, create a plan for a short story with a character to reflect some of your own experiences with multiculturalism, stereotypes, cultural misconceptions, culture shock and so on.  Be prepared to share this with other groups.

Activity 3
Make a copy of the unit outline sheet and place in your Google doc folder. A paper copy will also be given to you for your notebook.  Read through the unit outline and expectations.  Then, write a tentative thesis in response to the unit question in the comments section of this blog post.

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Thank you and I hope we can all enjoy our final unit together!