Politics, power and the media

What an amazing picture!

Don't they look like they're great friends here, discussing a project or working out how best to get things done - together?

Well, as we all know, they're not friends.

They're opponents in the great race for US Presidency. The story is being covered globally, in every newspaper and on every news website... on every social site. It's not as if we can run away from it, now is it?

This situation prompted me to think that this would make great fodder for an EFL lesson on the role media and social networking sites play in politics.

The effects of Joe the Plumber or the Obama Girl have been tremendous - it seems everyone's jumping on the band wagon so why not us, English language teachers, too.

However, I do wonder what effect this will have on politics around the world.

Will all politicians create their own Youtube channels? Will they too twitter and flickr?

I've a tough time seeing Angela Merkel being loved this much - but I could be wrong. Maybe this is the new way to reach 'the people.'

What do you think, is it an effective way to preach a message? Does it seem strange to you or is it fascinating?

Don't decide, get your students to!

BarackObama vs John McCainAnd if you're hoping to do a lesson on this subject sometime over the next 10 days or so, check out the collection of youtube videos I've slapped together or visit the articles, images and more that I've saved on delicious.

You're welcome to send the links on to your students too. Get them to do the research at home and then come into class geared up for a great debate.

I've also made a "special edition" version of my SimplyConversationsTM: downloadable Politics set with a SimplyQuestTM for your students for free.

Don't hesitate to let me know how it all goes & may the best man win!

Here's an example video of social networking and media in action. This is a video which came via email. Very interesting - very effective.
If I was an American, if I was in the US, I'm pretty sure I know where I'd have been that Tuesday!!
Although, I did celebrate in Germany!

Useful links:

Articles, blogs and more
Youtube videos (various videos in the lead up)
Wordle cloud images (great for pre-teaching vocabulary: search for Obama & McCain or politics - new versions updated regularly)
Flickr photos (good for prompting discussions)

If you're not sure how to download videos on to your laptop go here.

Added 5 November 2008:
He did it!!!

The Guardian UK have a fascinating interactive map which you can use with students to discuss the demographics of the voters (and of America itself). Click here.

Obama's acceptance speech:

Higher quality (full) video can also be watched on the Guardian, transcript to the speech here.
The Changing Minds blog has written a very interesting analysis of the speech. You can find this here.

McCain's gracious defeat:

Still not enough materials to smack together a great lesson? Here's a flickr photostream!

Download the photos (or your students can) and use to discuss the probable feelings and emotions during the different scenes - in the lead up, when it happened and the aftermath.

Would work well with A2 students and above.

"He was nervous, he looks sad... she seems bored, she's excited etc."

The direct link to the photostream on flickr is here.

If you also teach kids or young adults, get them involved in a letter-writing project to Obama, details can be found on Nik Peachey's blog here.


p.s. If you would like to purchase a set of conversation cards on politics, you can find them here (€.79 for individuals, €2.39 for institutes). Free samples of other sets, here.

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