As adolescence ambles on, young
people tend to have more and more problems with their parents
and other adults. Facing the "who am I?" question and
moving toward adulthood, their expectations clash with those of
the authority figures around them, sometimes for the first time.
This time in adolescents' lives can be confusing and frustrating,
and we discovered that the media pushes certain images and standards
of this conflict, which can serve to reinforce rather than help
In order to bring this subject out in the open, we decided to center our unit plan around the theme of conflict between generations. We aim the unit toward tenth graders, because these students are old enough to really be involved in these struggles. They are somewhat settled into high school and are also just getting to the driving age, so the issues of independence and peer-versus-adult influence are at the forefront.
We use and allow our students to share various forms of media (film, music, written text, and television) to give the students both multiple sources to critically examine the conflict as well as the opportunity to call into question the media's manipulation of the images of this conflict. We hope to arm them with the analytical skill to critically look at the media for these manipulations outside the classroom.
Beyond identifying and questioning conflict as presented in various media, we want our students to go just a bit further to create their own texts. We have incorporated opportunities for creative writing and producing, so that students can take what they have learned and apply it for themselves, going beyond inquiry and reflection to action. We feel that this opportunity will not only allow students to use their creative abilities but will also give them an outlet for their feelings and thoughts about conflict between generations in their own lives. Furthermore, it will give them a chance to challenge the images of conflict presented in other texts.
Our emphasis on creative writing/producing is also a springboard into the next unit. In this unit, our class will be exploring in depth various forms of creative writing/producing. Though our unit on generational conflict does not delve into creative expression, we would like to use it to gauge students' areas of interest/abilities in the subject for their future activities.
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