A few of my classmates, whose blogs you can find here and here, have been discussing the idea of teaching advertsing in the classroom. I find it to be a fantastically wonderful idea! Not having ever been taught anything about advertising myself, I am very appreciative of their blogs and lesson plans that they presented to the class. There’s so much floating out there on the internet regarding educating children about advertising, that I’m convinced it will be an acceptable practice in my future school district. Isn’t this exciting?
First, I did a little research about advertising that is being used within the schools themselves. According to EducationWorld.com schools get $25 to $35 dollars per student for having Coke or Pepsi products offered for student consumption. And though schools reject any ads with inappropriate content, some US schools are toying with the idea of accepting deals with shoe companies, restaurant chains, telecommunications companies, and hotel chains. Not only is Generation Y being constantly bombarded with advertising rhetoric outside of school, but budget cuts are likely to result in Pfizer sponsored chemistry classrooms. This means we gather arms, and give them the weapons they need to look at ads critically and to be able to use that rhetoric for their own purposes.
Second, I did a little poking around websites like TV411 and WebEnglishTeacher to find out what educators are teaching about advertising and how they’re doing it. One of the major issues teachers discuss about adverstising is fact versus opinion. Do advertisers lie? The Shreddies video points out that there is a fine line between lying and comedy. Other lessons focus on persuasive language and the ads we don’t even realise we’re seeing. Most of the suggested strategies involves an advertising project for the children.
I encourage all English teachers to ingage your students in a conversation about advertisements. As children they need the guidance, as English teachers it’s our responsibily.