Form and content
Like the written task, the further oral activity is a marriage of form and content. Students can do a debate, interview or role play based on their understanding of 'course material' and 'texts'. However, if you study the FOA criteria carefully, you will see that textual analysis is at the core of the task. Criterion A and B refer to 'texts', 'language' and their relation to 'subject matter'. It's tempting for students to do a 'cut and dry', good old-fashioned presentation. In fact that may be the best starting point for many students. There is nothing wrong with this. Creativity, after all, is not (directly) rewarded.
For students who are up to the challenge however, role play, campaign pitches, speeches or interviews may be very appropriate. One of the aims of this course is to develop the 'powers of expression' in various contexts. This means that students should be exposed to a range of different types of 'speech acts' (which is like the term 'text type' for the spoken word). What is the language of a speech? What do good interviewers usually say? What does a campaign pitch look and sound like?
This lesson takes a step in answering such questions. We will look at three speech acts: speeches, campaign pitches and presentations. We will focus on the use of language that defines and distinguishes these three. Finally, we will ask how the analysis of an awareness campaign on blood diamonds could be carried out in the form of one of these speech acts.
Before we explore various speech acts, we have to take a step back and ask ourselves: what do we want to demonstrate our knowledge of? The best FOAs are rooted in a primary source. Below you see three ads from a blood diamond awareness campaign, designed by an art student, Michael Griffith, in 2008. Imagine these are your primary sources on which your FOA is based. You have to show your understanding of how these ads use language (and image) to construct meaning. Write a bullet-pointed list of ideas that show your analysis of these three ads.
3 Conflict diamond awareness ads
Now that we know what to say, the next question is: 'How do we say it?' After course material has been explored, you can discuss which speech acts are appropriate. Although the guide says that students should plan activities 'in consultation' with teachers, it is recommended to limit students to two or three types of activities in the beginning.
Below are three examples of speech acts: a speech, a presentation and a campaign pitch. As you watch each speech act, take notes on the defining structural characteristics of each speech act.
For the sake of argument
Killing Us Softly 3
The Kodak Carousel
The language of the activity
Each speech act comes with its own set of language. There are certain phrases that you can and cannot say in certain contexts. Below are several statements that could have been taken from FOAs on the conflict diamond awareness campaign. For each statement, discuss whether the language is typical of a speech, a presentation or a campaign pitch. Some statements may belong in multiple categories.
- I have decided to analyze three counter ads that make you more aware of the effects of ‘blood diamonds’.
- What do you think of when you think of diamonds? Do you think of violence, death and African wars? Probably not. But these ads will make you stop and think of these injustices next time you see a diamond.
- Thank you for inviting me here today to speak about the power of the media in shaping our views of Africa.
- These ads belong in your magazine because your target audience cares about these atrocities in Africa.
- Shocking circumstances require shocking ads.
- I find that the best way to criticize is through satire. My campaign satirizes the legions of ads we see for luxury products every day.
- Notice that the ads use the same type of cursive font seen in ads for beauty products.
- Through the use of Photoshop, we can manipulate images to give them new meaning. It’s a powerful tool in the hands of the media.
- How do you get people to care about the 500,000 deaths it takes to produce 300,000 carats of diamonds?
- To conclude, I feel that these ads are very effective in making the target audience think about blood diamonds.
- People are drawn to conflict. Remember those fights on the school playground? We look at ads like these with the same interest. Black / white, death and marriage, blood and diamonds. These are conflicts that intrigue anyone.
- Running these ads will give your magazine an edgy status. Controversy sells.
- In these times, these are the kinds of images that go viral and spread awareness.
How would you base an FOA on the conflict diamond ads from this lesson? Prepare a speech, presentation or campaign pitch, as if you were the chocolate biscuits man, Jean Killbourne or Don Draper. Use some of the language from the activity above.
This lesson raises several question on the nature of the FOA and how it is assessed. Should creativity be encouraged or discouraged? What is in the students' interest? More on this in the box below (click on 'show').