Tips For Reading Between The Lines Of A Story.

Tips For Reading Between The Lines Of A Story.
Main Topic
Solidarity - Civic Activities
Additional Topic(s)
Empowerment and Inclusion – Diversity
1 day
Implementation Mode
Indoor F2F
● To understand the importance of perspective in interpreting content presented to us in the media.

● To acknowledge the increased misrepresentation of social issues in the media.

Expected Results

Upon completing this activity, young people will be able to acknowledge their own bias/privilege by identifying areas in which they have viewed a global issue through a single lens and acknowledge the impact this can have on providing solutions to global issues and local issues which may affect the young person.

By the end of the activity, young people should be better equipped to work towards more reflective practices and look within on their behaviours and attitudes.
Overview of Activity
This activity sets a young person up with the tools to reflect on how they view social issues from a local and global lens. It offers an opportunity to understand the importance of perspective in interpreting a story, image, media post, or news article. It provides the young person with the necessary skills required to recognise preconceived prejudices, biases and opinions they may hold and offers them an alternative view which they may not have acknowledged prior.

This activity is intended as an engagement activity which is introduced to a group of young people, through which the young people are offered various forms of media (Print media article, images, social media post) as a talking point or guide which should direct them in learning more about their behaviors and reflecting on how they have perceived society up to this activity.
Description of Activity
<b>Throughout this engagement, collect words and quotes from the learners, which will be presented back to them at the end and used as a reflective feedback activity.</b>

1. Activity - Telling a story through use of visuals

● Hang photos on the walls around the room, ensuring the context of the photo is hidden from the learners. Allow time for learners to walk around the room viewing the photos as if it was a gallery exhibition.

● Ask learners to pinpoint one photo that catches their attention the most, draws them in, or catches their eye.

● Ask learners to share feedback on their selected photo through the following questions –

i. Describe what is happening in this photo;

ii. Where might this photo have been taken;

iii. What story is this photo telling you;

iv. Does this photo unlock particular emotions in you;

v. What was the primary focus of this image;

vi. What was the secondary focus.

● Following the questions, provide the learner with the context behind the photo. Ask the learner the following questions.

i. Does the context alter your understanding of what is happening in this photo?

ii. Has the context changed your preconceived ideas of the issue portrayed in the photo?

● Take a sheet of paper and split it up into 4 sections –

o Using images as means for sharing a story;

o Can these images relate to issues on a global or local scale;

o What can I learn from global action on this issue versus local action from the group’s discussion of the images;

o How can we adapt our perceptions to ensure we are not aiding in a false narrative? ( )

● Discuss the above with the learners and write down responses.

2. Reflection – The danger of a single story

● Start by watching the first 5 minutes this video: The Danger of a Single Story

● Reflect for 5-minutes on your life and how your story has shaped your thinking of social issues. To aid this reflection, the learner can draw a timeline of their life and highlight moments of influence such as family connections, influential moments, friends, education, hobbies, travel, etc. Here are some questions to help you think but feel free to be as creative with your goals as possible:

o Who has shaped my understanding of the world?

o Has my home town had an impact on how I think?

o Has a particular class/lesson/book/movie led to a preconceived idea of global issues?

o If I reflect on my life so far, what lessons can I take away about privilege, bias or representation?

● For a further 15-minutes, learners can work alone on answering these questions:

o Is there a single story that others often use to define you? Can you think of other examples of “single stories” that may be part of your own worldview? Where do those “single stories” come from? How can we find a “balance of stories”?

o Adichie herself admits to sometimes defining others with a single story. Why is it that people sometimes make the same mistakes that they so easily see others making?

3. Activity – Telling a story through words

● Break the learners up into groups of 2-3 (max 4) and provide the groups with a news article.

● Provide each group with a flipchart page divided in four – Problem, Affected, Cause, Response – with the following questions

o What is the problem the article is about? (Problem)

o Who/where is the article discussing? (Affected)

o What is the cause according to the article? (Cause)

o What or Who is the article suggesting is the solution to the problem? (Response)

● Learners are encouraged to only answer based on what is written in the article and not answer based on their opinions, beliefs, knowledge on the issue, or feelings on the issue.

● Collect the answers from each group and discuss based on the impact of ‘The Danger of a Single Story’ video what elements of the problem the article fails to answer.

● If two groups received the same articles, use this as a comparative of narratives in the group discussion. i.e. compare elements of the articles which both groups addressed or failed to address.

4. Adapting the learnings into my life

In this final step, learners can complete this activity in the classroom or as a follow up activity depending on time and continuity of interaction with the learners.

● Learners are asked to design an activity seeking to collect information about how their community views social issues through the lens of a single story.

● This activity can mirror an activity from this engagement or could be an interview, questionnaire, etc. – The aim is to collect qualitative data.

● The learner must then present their interpretation on the results in line with the learnings from this engagement.

● The results can be presented in any medium of preference. This could be used to present back to the group or submitted to the facilitator as an evaluation of learning. The feedback should be no more than 600 words, if presenting a written interpretation.
Interpretations presented in other forms of media must include a small written explanation – 150-200 words. Encourage learners to get creative and truly engage with the concepts discussed in their engagement.

5. Finishing up

To finish up, learners are asked to reflect on their growth journey by using the words collected to create a poem about their experience in this engagement.

● Lay out the words you have collected throughout this engagement.

● Ask the learners to use the collection of words and other key words they have collected form the engagement to draft a poem highlighting their journey. This should draw on the three activities completed in this engagement as well as the learners own personal experience.

We suggest that you provide learners with examples of a Haiku or Limerick to aid in their poem development.
Sources & Additional Materials
● Paper & pen or flipchart & markers;

● IT equipment with internet access – such as a smartphone or laptop;

● Printer for images, articles

● Bluetac, Sellotape, something to hang images


● Stereotypes and Single Stories: Resource bank " ">

● Don’t put people in boxes: " ">

● The labels we carry: " ">

● Charity vs. Action: " ">
Additional Notes

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