Sometimes the timing of something perfectly lands an idea right in your lap. Cathy Wilcox’s Australia Day A-Z cartoons in the smh did exactly that. When I first saw it just a few days before I was to start teaching Society and Culture to a new bunch of Year 11s, I knew this was my hook, my illustration of society and culture and the various concepts we use in the course, to be specific: society, culture, persons, environment, time, power, authority, gender, globalisation, identity and technologies.
After showing Cathy Wilcox’s cartoons to the students, talking through how they linked to the course concepts, the students were required to do an A-Z to represent the culture of the school. This turned into a particularly interesting social exercise for the class because in Years 7-10 only boys attend, meaning all the girls were brand new to the school. Groups were organised with roughly 2 boys and 3 girls in each to allow the boys to explain some of the significance of what they wanted to include. The students took about half an hour to come up with the A-Z ideas (at end of the first class where I showed them the Australia Day versions) and then an hour (the next lesson) for the ideas of the drawings and actually doing them. They had a lot of fun doing it, they learned a lot about each other, the school and the course. I enjoyed watching the relationships develop and seeing them grapple with the concepts and how they relate to the school. So far, they appear to be an interesting and interested class. I hope the enthusiasm and thinking brains stay focused.
I’ve uploaded in SlideShare (and embedded here) a combined ‘A-Z of our school‘ of the three groups to illustrate the result: