Friday, 11 September 2015

Using Advertisements in the Classroom

One of the skills that students need to learn is how to be media literate.  That means understanding who, how, and why media messages are created.  With the prevalence of personal devices and cell phones, kids are always just a click away from a new media message.  If they can't learn to think critically about those messages, they are not going to be able to fully operate in or contribute to the society that they are being prepared for.

So how can teachers address this need?  Many teachers bring advertisements into the classroom.  Here are some ideas on how you might use advertisements to support teaching and learning:
  • apply understanding of persuasive techniques (pathos, logos, ethos)
  • learn and apply new vocabulary
  • practice inference skills... pause the commercial and predict what will happen next
  • apply understanding of figurative language (hyperbole is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING in advertisements... see what I did there?)
  • analyze advertisements to understand technique and effectiveness
  • understand demographics and target audience
  • learn techniques to engage an audience - ads aim to engage an audience, and teachers aim to engage their students.  What techniques can we take away from advertisements?
  • create advertisements to display your own powers of persuasion
If you really want to delve deep into a study of advertisements, some different aspects that you might want to explore could be:

Colour theory:

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The psychology of advertising:

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Logical fallacies:

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Food for thought... how have you used advertisements or other media forms in your classroom instruction?

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