Lesson Plan

Who's Telling My Story?

Lesson Plan

Level: Grade 9-12

Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

Duration: 2 to 3 hours

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson students learn about the history of blackface and other examples of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters such as White actors playing Asian and Aboriginal characters and non-disabled actors playing disabled characters. They consider the key media literacy concepts that “audiences negotiate meaning” and “media contain ideological and value messages and have social implications” in discussing how different kinds of representation have become unacceptable and how those kinds of representations were tied to stereotypes. Finally, students discuss current examples of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters and write and comment on blogs in which they consider the issues raised in the lesson.

This lesson is part of the That’s Not Me: Diversity in Media lesson series.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • learn about the history and implications of majority-group actors playing minority-group characters
  • consider the importance of self-representation by minority communities in the media
  • state and support an opinion
  • write a persuasive essay

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Lesson Kit: