Monday, July 14, 2014

Intro to POV Analysis Using the Editorial Section of a Newspaper

I have been thinking a lot about different ways to help students learn how to conduct point of view analysis, to focus on the unstated, subtext of a source rather than ONLY on what is stated, what is literal.

Throughout our social studies/history courses, students (I hope) will spend considerable time engaging with the text, subtext, and context of various sources.

As an entry point or fairly non threatening activity, you might try something like this.
Find an article in the newspaper that has a point of view that you think is fairly accessible. All sources have POV, though some are easier to detect and articulate than others.

I used this text, which I read on the op-ed page of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Prompt: Write 100 words conducting a POV analysis for this source excerpt.
Source: Op-Ed Page, Phila Inquirer, 7/13/2014

Information about the Author: Perry Brown is director of pediatric education at the Family Medicine Residency in Boise, Idaho. He wrote this for the Idaho Statesman.

“There are certain injuries that I, as a pediatrician, would like to see on more kids these days: skinned knees, poison ivy, and blisters.”

Dr. Brown penned an Op-Ed arguing that parents and children need to get outside and play much more than they currently are. As a pediatrician, he is naturally concerned with the health and well being of children. On a daily basis, he sees the adverse consequences of a sedentary lifestyles, the biggest of which is likely obesity. As a result, he believes that  Americans are doing themselves a disservice by not connecting with nature and exercising more. The Dr. values the natural environment, physical activity, and promoting a healthy lifestyle. By getting this piece published in a large newspaper, he is hoping to influence an audience well beyond his medical practice.    

You'll notice that in this exercise students are only being given information about where the source comes from, a sentence about the author, and a sentence pulled from the text. This is done intentionally, for use as an introductory exercise. Over time, you can increase the amount of information students are given in the source excerpts. Also, you will  notice that in my example I increased the font on certain words. These words are helpful triggers when conducting point of view analysis. After students have completed this exercise, have them read the text and discuss the following questions: After reading the text, how would you assess your POV analysis?
Did the author surprise you in any ways?
Did the author make points, use examples that you expected?
Did you read this text differently *because* of the POV analysis?
If so, in what ways?

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