Sunday, October 08, 2006

V for Vendetta lesson plan for ESL/EFL

Nearly every day somebody comes to the blog looking for a V For Vendetta lesson plan. I have talked about how much I liked the film but until now I haven't had the chance to write about a lesson that could be used to teach EFL/ESL stuff.

Many of you might question why I keep on insisting on using things such as films, songs and video games to teach. Isn't learning a serious enterprise ? I grew with comics, movies and video games and I believe that many of the things that make me the person I am today have their roots in these media. For example my political education cames as much from comics such as 2000AD as anything I learnt in school. They taught me more about the horrors of racism, class consciousness and the dangers of authoritarianism than anything than was then available in the British educational curriculum of the 70's and 80's.

Lesson plan (for advanced level students)

1 Tell students that they are going to see a scene from a film which depicts an important event from British history (Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605). They have to take notes on what they see and hear in order to do some research of their own.

2 Ask students to see the first scene form the movie (preferably on DVD with the English subtitles) and take notes.

3 Students get together in pairs or groups and discuss their notes. Show the scene again.

4 If students have access (I wish, sigh) at the school they then go off for ten minutes and find out as much as they can about the event. Otherwise ask them to do this for homework.

5 Students the report back to the class/teacher on what they learnt.

6 Ask students to talk about the coups, rebellions, revolts or revolutions that have happened in their country in the last hundred years (you may have to work on the vocabulary before starting the discussion).

7 Ask them to make a timeline.

8 Ask students to discuss whether violent social change is ever justified.

Next lesson

9 Show a short scene from the later part of the film (for example chapter 18 to 19) and ask the how the world shown in the film is different/similiar to the one we know today.

10Students discuss their answers in groups.

11 For homework ask students to watch the film at home.

What is its basic message?
What evidence does it give to support it?
Do you agree? Why/why not?

12 Students discuss their answers in pairs then in groups then as a class.

Essay question

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. "



ManWith2Faces said...

i agree with you, i believe V for Vendetta should be taught on the classrooms, but please dont use the movie in your lesson plan, use the graphic novel. The movie COMPLETELY BUTCHERED the graphic novel, butchered the story, butchered the message, its a travesty what they did to the novel. next time you go to the bookstore pick up the novel and go to page 222, and read v says to evey. it starts with him saying "Anarchy wears two faces, both creator and destroyer...." im sorry for the rant but whenever someone talks about the movie it riles me up

Anonymous said...

I would highly encourage you to read Dean A. Kowalski's chapter in the book Homer Simpson Goes to Washington: American Politics through Popular Culture edited by Joseph J. Foy (chapter 2). Dr. Kowalski uses the movie V for Vendetta to analyze the political theories of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke to explore the American political founding and American political thought. It is an outstanding piece that is very insightful, and I integrate it into my American politics courses each semester to very receptive classes.

In response to the previous post, I know that the graphic novel and the film differ from each other. Kowalski discusses this in his chapter briefly. The primary difference is that one is a conversation between fascism and anarchism (the graphic novel) and the other is a conversation between Hobbes and Locke and the theories of a just state and society (the film). Both have strengths and weaknesses, but I think both can stand on their own merits as demonstrated by Kowalski's work.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting your plan. :) I used a modified version of this lesson plan in a much smaller class and it served as a springboard for an assignment on civil liberties and what it takes for people to give them up. Please keep posting your unique ideas.