Quebec Competencies Chart - Viewing a Crime Drama

Author: Mark Zamparo
Level: Secondary Cycle Two
Subject Area: English Language Arts
Lesson Link: Viewing a Crime Drama

Description: In this lesson students explore how the stereotypes and technical devices used in television crime dramas impact real life attitudes and perceptions about crime. Technical devices explored include elements such as film and shooting techniques, lighting, music, sound effects, recurring visual patterns, plot and characterization. Stereotypes that are discussed include representation of policemen, policewomen, criminals, women, old people, teenagers and minorities. This lesson also provides students with a series of key media concepts that can be applied to this genre.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To use information
  • To solve problems
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To be creative
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To work with others
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy
  • Citizenship and Community Life

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

COMPETENCY 1 uses language/talk to communicate and to learn

  • Compares the affordances of written, media and multimodal languages in achieving a specific purpose
  • Constructs criteria for choosing the mode of spoken language in a specific context, by considering audience needs and demands of the context

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

Constructing a Reading of a Text

  • Focuses on a topic and/or issue that is of interest to her/him to construct an efferent reading, (e.g. makes sense of the text by coming to terms with the ways in which a topic has been developed by a writer/producer)
  • 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

Distinguishes between “open” and “closed” texts:

  • analyzes the degree to which the text may be considered “open” to multiple perspectives/ interpretations (i.e. is complex enough to allow different perspectives to emerge) and interprets how these influence the view of the world presented.
  • analyzes the degree to which the text may be considered “closed” to multiple perspectives (i.e. runs along formulaic lines that indicate its lack of complexity and make only a limited number of perspectives possible) and interprets how this influences the view of the world, e.g. in a pulp romance novel or a comic book, recognizes some elements of plot structure that are formulaic and repetitive

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
    • recognizes how authors and producers of written persuasion and argument, whose views are accorded great respect in our society and culture, influence her/his interpretation(s), i.e. in particular, of what can be considered factual, objective
    • analyzes the representation of different groups, including interest groups, in the press in relation to controlling ideas, opinions, main ideas
  • 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

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

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
  • evaluates the affordances of genre and mode, e.g. why a news article works better in a certain situation than a memoir
  • 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

Applying Codes and Conventions

  • Explores the representation of gender, race, appearance, culture, social class

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

Going Public

  • Makes final adjustments before presentation