Quebec Competencies Chart - Images of Learning: Secondary

Author: MediaSmarts
Level: Secondary Cycle Two
Subject Area: English Language Arts, Drama
Lesson Link: Images of Learning: Secondary

Description: This lesson helps students become more aware of the stereotypes associated with portrayals of students and teachers on television and on film. On Day One, students discuss the reasons why television producers and writers use stereotypes to represent various groups of people - and the advantages and disadvantages of doing this. Using a worksheet, they compile a list of common television stereotypes from the school-based television shows they enjoy and create a list of humorous clichés about TV students and teachers. On Day Two, students look at representation of students and teachers in movies and compare their findings to the stereotypes found on television. On Day Three, students assume the role of television producers and create a series outline for a school-based television show and perform a scene from an episode.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To use information
  • To solve problems
  • To exercise critical judgement
  • To be creative
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To work with others
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy

This lesson satisfies the following English Language Arts Competencies from the Quebec Education Program:

COMPETENCY 2 Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts

Constructing a Reading of a Text

  • Focuses on the relationship between self as reader and the text to construct an interpretive reading
  • Activates relevant prior textual knowledge before, during and after reading text(s) to monitor the meaning(s) s/he is making, (e.g. uses what is known about a writer/producer and her/his style to make predictions, draws on knowledge of structures and features of a specific genre, applies knowledge of codes and conventions particular to specific texts)
  • Activates relevant prior personal knowledge and experience to make sense of a text which is frequently expressed in text-to-self connections, text-to-world connections, text-to-text connections
  • Asks questions of self, writers(s) and text(s) as s/he reads to clarify and focus reading
  • Determines the most important ideas/messages/themes in a text
  • Draws inferences from a text
  • Retells or synthesizes what s/he has read, e.g. attends to the most important information and the quality of the synthesis itself to better understand the text

Reader, Text, Context

Draws inferences about the view of the world presented in a text

  • Identifies dominant elements and interprets their use, e.g. point of view, specific literary conventions, structure and sequence of argument, patterns of cause and effect
  • Identifies the characteristics of the writer/producer and evaluates how these influence meaning, i.e. how stance, socio-cultural context, values and/or beliefs shape the world of the text
  • Explores how power relationships are constructed in the text
  • Examines how language (word, sound and image) is shaped to present ideas and information
  • Makes connections between the depiction of different groups in texts and the context or setting of a text

Justifies her/his interpretation(s) of texts on the basis of own fluency as a reader

  • Evaluates the way specific codes and conventions of a spoken/written/media text are employed to have an impact upon the assumptions, actions, values and beliefs of readers:
    • codes and conventions of a specific genre that are employed to have an impact on readers in general or on a target audience in particular
    • mode(s) of representation (sound, word and image) that influence the message(s)/meaning(s) of a text and how these reveal the intention(s) of the writer/producer(s)
    • linguistic and textual features that situate or position the reader, e.g. connotations and denotations, stereotypes and bias, aspects of characterization and setting that evoke a specific emotion or response, appeals to mainstream values and beliefs
    • issues and topics that present alternative values, beliefs, lifestyles in order to evaluate meanings for self as part of a process of interpreting a text
    • features and conventions of favourite genres and how these are used to special effect, e.g. in a mystery or a romance novel, in a magazine article
  • Interrelates characteristics of the writer/producer(s) of a text and self as a reader:
    • identifies characteristics of the writer/producer(s) of a text and applies this knowledge to determine how the text is designed to appeal to self as a reader, e.g. writer’s style, producer’s values or intent
    • evaluates a perspective or point of view and its impact on self as reader
    • recognizes the use of rhetorical strategies, e.g. use of first person to convey attitudes and feelings about an issue/topic, appeals to common beliefs or values in a culture, appeals designed to evoke a certain age group
  • Makes inter-textual connections between texts read in and out of class:
    • compares and contrasts alternative and mainstream values, mores, lifestyles within a range of literary and popular narratives
    • compares and contrasts the socio-cultural, literary or historical contexts and conventions in texts

COMPETENCY 3 Produces texts for personal and social purposes

Researching as a Writer/Producer

  • Develops topics that are personally and socially relevant:
    • draws on repertoire of texts to make inter-textual connections, e.g. a comic book featuring sports icons or own friends
    • looks at multiple perspectives on the topic, e.g. pros and cons of an argument, how different people perceive the issue
    • considers open-ended question(s) to facilitate topic development
    • broadens and/or narrows the scope of the topic

Assuming Roles as a Writer/Producer

  • Adopts a stance to a topic and audience appropriate to the genre
  • Explores different dimensions of a character, issue
  • Applies language conventions to establish relationships, e.g. using gestures to elicit sympathy; using statements, conditions and commands to imply control and power; tilting the camera up to show authority
  • Experiments with register:
    • adjusts register to the formality/informality of the context, e.g. uses academic language in an essay, jargon or slang in an advertisement
    • establishes the tone, e.g. uses dispassionate tone of anchor on news report, intimate tone when writing in a journal
  • Exploits generic conventions
  • Plays against audience expectations for specific effect

Characterizing an Audience

Investigates how different target audiences use and respond to particular texts:

  • identifies factors that constitute a target audience and evaluates how media texts are shaped to suit them
  • compares and contrasts own responses, reactions and use of texts with those of peers, family, other households and more distant audiences

Analyzes characteristics of audience for own productions:

  • chooses an audience depending on context for production
  • draws on previous experience with audience
  • generalizes factors such as age, gender, cultural background, race, location, level of education
  • analyzes the expectations of audience, e.g. the uses the audience will make of the text (for entertainment, for information, for escape), generic conventions

Public and Private Space

Conducts a genre analysis:

  • compares and contrasts texts within a social function, i.e. Why do people produce them? Who has access to these texts? Do they serve the same purpose? How do they communicate the values of a community?
  • evaluates the structures, features, codes and conventions used
  • examines how language (sound, word and image) is shaped:
    • to represent and/or exclude people, events, ideas and information
    • to organize and develop ideas
    • for special effect

Uses texts as models to guide production:

  • refers to model text(s) throughout the production process
  • creates criteria for guiding production
  • identifies specific structures and features to reproduce own interests, purpose and audience

Applying Codes and Conventions

  • Applies conventions of the genre:
    • chooses textual structures and features
    • chooses linguistic codes and conventions
  • Combines and/or manipulates codes and conventions of specific genres for special effects (multi-genre texts)
  • Combines and/or manipulates codes and conventions of different modes (multimodal texts), e.g. the PSA draws on conventions of sound, word and image. It uses music to appeal to the emotions, includes a voiceover of a well-known person to draw attention to the cause and uses images to shock or jar the audience
  • Explores the representation of gender, race, appearance, culture, social class

Production Process

Media Practices

  • Manages production constraints, e.g. time line, deadline, group roles and responsibilities
  • Respects genre constraints, e.g. format, layout, target audience’s expectations, industry standards such as time allotment

Planning and Drafting

  • Brainstorms ideas, clarifies and extends thinking by talking with peers and teacher
  • Uses strategies to work out ideas, plan and draft, e.g. concept map, free writing, storyboard
  • Makes preparations prior to production

Going Public

  • Makes final adjustments before presentation
  • Presents text to intended audience

For specific topics, relate broad area of Media Literacy to:


Creates a Dramatic Work

Applies ideas for the creation of a dramatic work

  • Explores various ways of conveying creative ideas through dramatic action
  • Plans a creative project

Presents his/her dramatic creation

  • Remains attentive to classmates
  • Adjusts his/her actions to those of classmates