SOCIAL JUSTICE in Silver Lining 11 assigned by the MoNE

Posted On 2/9/2019 5:27:00 PM, 4Comments

   Choosing a need-oriented course book sometimes turns into an uphill battle since markets offer us a large variety of them.  Ministry of National Education (as of here: MEB) doesn’t offer you numerous options so it takes the deciding burden away from you but also this situation has bad sides because some parts of course books cannot be adapted into the classroom environment at all.

  Silver Lining 11 assigned by MoNE was decided to be reviewed here. It will be an overall evaluation ,for extensive one you can easily tap into the book since the book is available as an e-book on EBA. Only the table of contents will be shared for better understanding over the book, the other parts will not be shared because of copy-wright issues.

 Looking at the table of contents, we see really useful ten themes for learners to think about how the things going on the world. I tell you them in an order; Future Jobs, Hobbies and Skills, Hard Times, What a Life, Back to the Past, Open Your Heart, Facts about Turkey, Sports, My Friends and lastly Values and Norms.

   To start with the Future Jobs theme generally male entrepreneurs take place on the unit and we see almost no male-female interaction in this unit so this makes the unit more open to talk about sexism, social justice and the place of women in current and future working life also it is an open door for talking about the cures for upcoming problems of the future .

 Going on with the second unit namely Hobbies and Skills, skimming over the unit, it is seen that some certain hobbies are assigned to women like knitting, cooking and baking as well as some others such as car tattooing, motor racing etc. are assigned to men as it is seen in our society but not all parts of the unit support this idea for example we see female tennis player and archer so this unit can be supported by some drama activities and discussion activities about sexism well.

  Hard Times is the third unit of the book. I have never noticed before that the book includes that much of male character in a unit. There are nearly no female figures except Maria Curie who had hard times but then accessed to success. This unit is the key for talking about gender equality ,equity-equality issues.

  What a Life ! is one of the best units in terms of equality of figures. This unit involves memorable people as well as childhood dreams. The difference between the nature of the future and today’s world nature worth to talk and evaluate incorporated with the social justice.

Fifth unit of the book is Back to the Past, functions are expressing wishes and regrets for the past events, it can be easily adopted into the issues of draining away natural resources.

Open Your Heart , one of the functions of this sixth unit is expressing criticism and advice for the events in the past. There are some topics about love affairs, great loves etc. It is not pleased in our country but the teacher can come up with homophobia and LGBT issues in this unit maybe to make learners think different about these kind of topics.

Keeping seventh unit of the book, Facts About Turkey, is best part for applying social justice activities since the environment and nearly all issues are familiar to the teacher and the learners. There are some titles like tourism, natural beauties, historical sites and the functions of this unit is obviously appropriate to the theme. Functions of this unit are comparing and contrasting, asking for detailed information, describing cities and historic sites and these functions are enough to talk over global goals, sustainable development in Turkey and to discuss how our country and the world become the best version of itself.

In Sports Unit, extreme sports are generally included. As known extreme sports are generally in touch with the nature. Functions are talking about sports, making interview and reporting news. This unit can be supported by some interviewing activities such as interviewing with sportsmen and sportswomen and talking about gender equality in sports competitions and what are the cures for inequality in sports competitions can be discussed in social justice context.

 My Friends is one of the units I like the most because it gives us a good opportunity to talk about sexism and racism, bullying all over the world. But there are some parts in the unit, I think it is unacceptable. In the unit, learners are instructed to clarify the qualities of a good friend, it causes sometimes exclusion and has a real bad effect on this (17) aged group learners, It is very dangerous to other students to each regarding some qualities. As well as bad topics, there are really beneficial topics in this unit like ‘Caring or Sharing?’  and ‘What are friends for?’(can be changed as What are human beings for?) to talk in a wide scope.

The last unit of the book is Values and Norms. The functions of the unit are expressing opinions, exchanging ideas and making comments and accepting people as the way they are also should be added on the functions part because this function is the thing which the whole humanity needs. Mutual understanding, justice, respect, tolerance, responsibility, love, trust, social etiquette are some of the most crucial topics in this unit. They are all for germinate a light of social justice in learners’ heart.

 In conclusion, this book is very teacher-friendly and useful because criticizing the book also will create different perspectives in students’ minds. If we know the way, I think all units are open to adapt for social justice education.




Comments (4) -

Adnan Yilmaz
2/23/2019 5:08:37 AM #

Irem, I really liked your overall analysis of the book. It present a very effective summary of every unit in the book from the perspective of social justice pedagogy.

Well, I am not surprised that the male characters overwhelm the female ones in visual and written language. This is a common feature of almost all the books available on the market. I hope this will change very soon. Otherwise, the unfair circulation will perpetuate.

I really liked your suggestion for the unit “Back to Past”. As we are highly likely to face serious problems due to running out of natural resources, we do certainly have things that we regret doing or wish had not  done. In this respect, this theme serves effectively to integrate the linguistic structures used for expressing regrets and wishes.

Similarly, your suggestion for the unit “Open Your Heart” is very strong to integrate homophobia and LQBTQ+ issues into language teaching and learning. And yes it will certainly help students look at such issues from a different perspective.

In the unit “Sports”, an alternative activity could be focusing on wheelchair and amputee sports. Such a focus will definitely raise consciousness and help the voice of amputee people be heard.

In the remaining units, as you presented, there are a lot of opportunities to integrate social justice issues. Thus, I believe this textbook is a very useful one to offer students alternative perspectives in terms of social justice. However, I have a question related to the unit “My Friends”. You mentioned that you found some parts of the unit as “unacceptable” because students are instructed to clarify the qualities of a good friend, which causes exclusion and has negative effects on students. I wonder what you would suggest doing in these parts and/or how these parts could be adapted to give positive messages.

Irem Demirci
2/23/2019 9:48:22 AM #

The unit' My Friends' was a good unit but ,  instead of  creating ways for learners to analyze each other  as good friends and bad friends , giving only features of people  is the way safer than the first one I think. By the way  I realy like your suggestion about 'Sport' Unit . Thant you for your precious comments.

Bill Snyder
2/25/2019 9:50:49 PM #

Hi Irem,

I really appreciate how you've made an effort to find some place in every unit for inclusion of a social justice curriculum. I think that every topic provides some opening for addressing the kinds of issues that you are learning about in this program.

LIke Adnan hoca, I wondered about how you would deal with the unacceptable parts of the unit on Friends. You have given one answer but I also wonder if it is necessary to abandon having students think about the qualities of a good friend. Another approach might be to work with students around the qualities they identify to talk about how a good friend is determined by what they do, not by who they are (in terms of certain types of identity). This could be supplemented by presenting students with some examples of people who have been surprised to find friends in identity groups that they didn't like and how this changed them. Just a thought.

And let me suggest another idea for the sports unit, which would be to look at the quest for equal treatment for men and women in sports, especially in terms of pay (in professional sports) and working conditions. The struggle for equal pay for women tennis professionals is well known and on going. The movie Battle of the Sexes has some scenes that could illustrate this. But with football being more popular in Turkey, it might be worth asking students to explore the treatment of the women's national team -- do they have equal access to facilities and financial support? If not, how is women's football supposed to improve? I think of this example because of the situation in Japan, where I live. The womens team is one of the top squads in the world, while the men are middle-ranked. Yet, when the two teams went to London for the Olympics, the men flew business class, while the women, World Cup holders at the time, flew economy. The excuse given was that the men needed more room to be comfortable.

You say at the end that the book was "teacher-friendly and useful" but your comments suggest that you would have to do a fair amount of work in adpating it to meet the curriculum you want to teach. So, I wonder how teacher-friendly it really is? What features make it teacher-friendly for you?

Irem Demirci
3/1/2019 3:50:01 AM #

First, I would like to thank you for your diversified questions and suggestions Mr. Snyder. Your ideas really worth applying in a classroom environment . Meanwhile, I am terribly sorry about the womens team. As to teacher-friendly book issue , regarding the other books on the market this book is better than some others and there is no complexity and tensity in the table of content, it is easy to adjust that is what I mean by saying techer-friendly book.

Add comment

Rabia Irem Demirci

4th year student in English Language Teaching at Ondokuz Mayis University