Help! What is a notion and how do I describe it?

Mis en avant

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Voilà la rentrée est faite et votre professeur d’anglais a commencé à vous parler des différentes « notions » que vous allez étudier tout au long de l’année. Il va peut être vous demander de trouver une définition pour chaque notion (sans regarder sur internet!) – mais comment donner une définition simple et claire pour chaque notion?

Vous trouverez ici des définitions pour les quatre notions que vous allez étudier- à vous de les utiliser et écrire à votre façon. Sous chaque définition vous trouverez également une liste de sujets qui pourraient  être utilisés pour illustrer cette notion.

Si vous avez d’autres idées pour illustrer les notions, des liens, des articles ou des vidéos que vous avez aimé, merci de les partager en bas de l’article et je les intégrerai dans l’article par la suite.

Je profite de la rentrée pour vous rappeler que ce blog reste (et restera ) entièrement gratuite et que j’aimerais que ça devient de plus en plus un endroit de partage de bonnes idées et de conseils – pour les lycéens ainsi que les profs!

Aussi si vous utilisez un bloqueur de publicité je vous remercie de le désactiver sur cette page, la publicité de la page étant le seul revenu pour tout le travail fourni. Thank you 🙂

Myths and Heroes

Myths are stories that are based on tradition. Some may have factual origins, while others are completely fictional, but myths are just as important to us today as in ancient cultures because they help explain the world and man’s experience. They help to answer questions, they reassure us and sometimes even give people hope. The subjects of myths are usually based on topics such as birth, death, the origin of man, good and evil and the nature of man himself.

Myths are not always optimistic – they can also be a form of warning. In this way we can consider them to be instructive and a sort of guide to social norms. They tell us how we should and should not behave. They can be used to justify choices when times are hard.

Just like myths, heroes can be real or completely fictional. A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon. Heroes are people we can look up to, people we would like to ressemble – whether they are sports personalities or political figures. A hero is not necessarily someone famous, it can be a member of our family or circle of friends. Someone we simply admire.

Heroes lead, inspire, and entertain the masses. This is why heroes, with all their mistakes and shortcomings, are vital to humanity. Heroic stereotypes can be considered to be unrealistic and outdated, but heroes show how vital they are to society when they inspire younger generations to do great things, and when heroes influence movements toward the improvement of humanity.

Here are just a few examples that could be used to illustrate this notion:

  • rags to riches stories : Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, JK Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, and others here
  • Founding myths of the United States (Pilgrim Fathers, the Constitution, Thanksgiving)
  • the American Dream – stories about those how have succeeded but also reasons to believe that it is simply a myth : the American Dream is dead
  • Heroes or fallen heroes of the Vietnam War that are portrayed in American films (Platoon, Born on the 4th July, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket)
  • National leaders or figures who can be considered as heroes: Queen Elizabeth II, Obama, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzi …..
  • Pop stars or sports heroes (and fallen idols)
  • American movies : superheroes such as Superman or Captain America and their role in society: why do Americans love superheroes?
  • Famous British film characters: Sherlock Holmes, James Bond
  • British heroes or heroines: Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Stephen Hawking…..
  • British myths and legends: Robin Hood, King Arthur, the Loch Ness Monster

The Idea of Progress

The idea of progress is the idea that advances in technology, science and social organisation can bring about a positive change to our society. These advances help improve our daily lives and give us a better quality of life. Social progress, scientific progress and economic development are usually considered as having a positive effect on our society however there are some cases where this change can have a negative effect too. Very often progress is also accompanied by opposition because society isn’t comfortable with the changes being made (same sex marriage, women’s rights, minority rights to name but a few). We can ask ourselves whether progress is always positive?

There are many kinds of progress and they can be divided in diverse areas.

A. Technological progress

The technological advances of the last decades have totally changed the world we know today. If we take the example of the arrival of internet and access to computers and smartphones it is easy to see to what extent our lives and our relationships with others have been completely transformed. On the one hand we have access to far more information than before, we can easily communicate across borders, buy new products, be informed about the latest news events, share our opinions about different topics but on the negative side many people have become addicted to social media and this creates new problems such as depression, isolation, bullying, cybercriminality…..

Of course there are other types of technological progress that have a more positive impact on society – means of transport, robots, means of communication, energy production, protection of the environment.

 

B. Scientific progress

Scientific progress has had a direct impact on the improvement of human life. Thanks to advances in medicine we can cure illnesses that could never have been cured in the past. Vaccinations protect millions of children from disease. Antibiotics, painkillers and other medical treatments have helped to improve our general state of health and survival rates. But could there be a point were progress come too far? What should be the importance given to ethics? What about scientific progress in the area of cures for illnesses, cloning, performance enhancing drugs,   genetically modified organisms etc?

 

C. Social progress

Social progress most often comes about when members of a population feel unhappy with their living conditions or their social rights. Change most often comes about following a fight for rights and this change sometimes accompanied by severe opposition.

Examples that can be used to illustrate this notion:

  • easy communication across the world via internet and the impact this information has on our daily lives
  • information from satellites warning us about severe weather conditions
  • robots and automation in the workplace
  • addiction to smartphones and video games
  • cyberbullying or cybercriminality
  • facebook and twitter and how quickly rumours can spread
  • the pros and cons of medical advances
  • performance enhancing drugs in the sports world
  • « designer » babies
  • the Space race
  • Euthanasia
  • Industrial pollution
  • Ocean pollution
  • the ethics of progress: tests on animals/abortion/cloning/genetically modified organisms
  • the «Suffragettes», an organisation set up by women in Britain to fight for the right to vote at the beginning of the 20th Century
  • the Civil Rights Movement in the US characterized by acts of non violent protest and civil disobedience
  • same-sex marriage in several countries across the world
  • access to education for women
  • the end to apartheid in South Africa

 

Places and Forms of Power (sometimes called Seats and Forms of Power)

Power is the ability to control others, events, or resources; to succeed in doing what you want to do in spite of obstacles, resistance, or opposition. Power can be held but can also be quickly taken away, lost, or stolen. There is usually conflict between those with power and those without. Power is also associated with authority and influence and certain places can be associated with the authority – for example the White House and the President of the USA, 10 Downing Street and the British Prime Minister,  A place of power can also be a country or a state –  for example the USA is a state which is powerful enough to influence events throughout the world (superpower) and China is a major economic power in today’s world. Power is exercised by states — through military and police, through political groups and bureaucracies, through legislation; it is exercised by corporations and organizations or by social movements within society.

Members of a community accept rules and regulations in order to live or work together but this can also lead to conflict and tensions.

Here are some ideas to help illustrate this notion:

  • America’s gun problem and the gun debate
  • The Civil Rights movement and political recognition (Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela)
  • Financial power: global financial crises and recession
  • The power of the media: influence over public opinion during elections, reality tv, 24h news channels, tabloid newspapers and scandal stories
  • The power of advertising: how demand is created for new products, designer brands, smartphones, sports clothes (sponsoring)
  • Cinema and power: how do films influence society? Movie stars using their fame to influence public opinion on certain topics (Leonardo Dicaprio, Schwarzenegger)
  • Arts and Power: using art for addressing political, social, and moral issues through paintings (Banksy)
  • The power of education: improving knowledge and education across the world and enabling access to education for all (Malala)
  • The power of music and the music industry: songs used to change people’s opinions on political subjects (vietnam war, US President, poverty, climate change), pop stars who use their fame to bring about changes in the world (Bono, Bob Geldof, Madonna)
  • Political power/terrorism/wars/monarchies/nuclear weapons

 

Spaces and Exchanges

This notion deals with the idea of giving one thing and receiving another in return    (exchange) and also with the places (or « spaces ») where  these exchanges take place. It is the idea that in today’s modern-day world there are more and more exchanges taking place, more and more interaction between different populations, business, students, families etc. These exchanges can take several forms:  economic – work exchanges, exchange of goods, trading across borders,  cultural – exchange of ideas, information, education,  movement of people – immigration, student exchanges, gap years…  Our modern-day world is changing quickly and seems to be a smaller place due to improvements in technology and communication. Information exchange has become easier thanks to the internet and international trade has enabled us to expand our markets for goods and services that might not have been available to us.

More and more people are crossing borders, leaving their countries to seek better lives elsewhere. This migration can be for several reasons: economic migration – moving to find work or follow a particular career path, social migration – moving somewhere for a better quality of life or to be closer to family or friends, political migration – moving to escape political persecution or war.

These different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have transformed and characterised our modern-day world – sometimes for better, sometimes for worse.

Here are some ideas of topics that could be used to illustrate this notion:

  • Globalisation: what is it and what are the positive and negative effects? (BBC link)
  • How internet is changing international business exchanges (product availability, prices, demand…)
  • How internet is changing cultural exchanges (access to information across borders, easier and faster communication but also negative effects)
  • The brain drain: migration of personnel in search of the better standard of living and quality of life, higher salaries, access to advanced technology and more stable political conditions in different places worldwide
  • Student exchanges – work placements and gap years in foreign countries
  • Social media – the advantages and disadvantages of increased access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Cybercriminality, identity theft, cyberbullying, internet scams….
  • Immigration: the reasons why people migrate and what effect this has on the countries they migrate to and migrate from
  • Immigration to the USA – the problem between Mexico and the USA
  • Immigration to the UK – the migrant problem
  • The reasons for Irish immigration to America
  • The first Americans/ the pilgrims
  • Exchanges across borders – how the European Union was created and how it has developed
  • The Brexit – why and how did it happen and what effect will it have on Europe?
  • The influence of wars and conflicts on the world economy and population
Publicités

Vidéos pour illustrer les différentes notions

Link to a playlist of short videos from the website « storycorps » that could be used to illustrate the different notions, in particular myths and heroes.

Film trailers that could be used to illustrate the Idea of Progress or Places and Forms of Power

The power of money:

The idea of progress – how virtual reality can be used to help people relive their past

Definition of the notion « Myths and Heroes »

What is a myth?

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A myth is a story that may or may not be true. There may not be records or other proof that they happened, but at least some parts of myths may be true. Some myths may have started as ‘true’ stories but as people re-told them some parts may have been changed by mistake, or to make them more interesting. All cultures have myths and this mythology has been developed over time. Mythology includes the legends of our history, our religions,  stories of how the world was created, and our heroes. These stories have great symbolic power, and this may be a major reason why they survive as long as they do, sometimes for thousands of years.

What is a hero?

I-think-a-hero-is-any-person-really

A hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. It can be the main character in a book or a film or a person with superhuman qualities. It can also be a modern-day hero, a person who has performed a heroic act or simply our own personal hero, our role model, who we look up to.

Examples can be:

– a patriotic or national hero (sportsman, politician, human rights defender…..)

– a fictitious hero (superhero or film star)

– an icon or role model (fashion, tv, music)

– a defender of common values

– unknown heroes (war heroes, firemen, rescue workers, charity workers….)

– our own personal hero (member of the family who you look up to)

 

Comment définir les quatre notions?

La définition des 4 notions

1. Myths and heroes:

A myth can be defined as a story about gods or heroes, it can be a popular belief or a tradition or a false notion. A hero can be a mythological figure, a person who is admired for his or her achievements, a superhero or maybe a role model or an icon.

 Examples can be:

– a patriotic or national hero (sportsman, politician, human rights defender…..)

– a fictitious hero (superhero or film star)

– an icon or role model (fashion, tv, music)

– a defender of common values

– a politician/king/queen who has achieved international recognition

2.  Locations and forms of power: (also called Places and forms of power or Seats and forms of power)

In politics and social science, power is the ability to influence the behavior of people. In order to live together members of a community accept rules, regulations, laws. This helps to create social cohesion but can also lead to conflicts and tensions. Even when authority seems absolute, there are always counter-powers which question it, aim at limiting its excesses and resist it.

 Examples can be:

– the power of the media (reality tv, internet v written press)

– Financial power (the power of money)

– Inequalities between blacks and whites – the fight against oppression and segregation (South Africa, USA)

– The American Dream

– The Civil Rights movement and political recognition : Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X (can also be linked to the notion of Myths and Heroes)

3. The idea of Progress

The idea of progress can be defined as an improvement, a development or a change – a technical, scientific or social advance which contributes to making the world a better place.

 Examples can be:

– Scientific Progress – Medical advances, cures for illnesses, cloning, performance enhancing drugs,   genetically modified organisms.

– Technological Progress-  technologies to slow down climate change such as hybrid cars, wind turbines, solar panels, biofuel…..

advances in communication:  the internet, social media, mobile phones, video games – how      they have changed our lives and the dangers of these modern ways of communication

Robots, automated production

Nuclear Power – for and against

–  Social Progress: changes in the quality of life – how does progress affect our society?

Education, employment, equality, family life

Women’s rights, human rights, minority rights ……

The idea of liberty, freedom, democracy

 4. Spaces and Exchanges

This notion deals with the geographical and symbolic areas that all societies occupy and the interactions between men and different societies. Our world is built on the exploration and conquest of new spaces. The different cultural, economic, sociological and language interactions have shaped and characterised our modern-day world.

 Examples can be:

– Trade (the basis of all societies)

– Working conditions (telecommuting, internet)

– Globalization (the world has become a small village)

– School and education (social diversity / knowledge)  comparison of the different educational systems

– The Internet / social networks…

– the movement of people: Immigration

– movement across borders (Gap Year)

Pour plus d’informations vous pouvez consulter les pages suivantes:

http://missions.editions-bordas.fr/enseignant/webfm_send/108

Myths and Heroes (1)

Talking about myths and heroes

What is the definition of a hero?

Hero: noun (plural heroes)

  • a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities: a war hero
  •  the chief male character in a book, play, or film, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathize: the hero of Kipling’s story
  •  (in mythology and folklore) a person of superhuman qualities and often semi-divine origin, in particular one whose exploits were the subject of ancient Greek myths.

Martin Luther King – a hero? mla

One person who is admired for his outstanding achievements is Martin Luther King. This year (2013) we celebrate the 50th anniversary of his famous speech « I have a dream ».

Martin Luther King Jr. was a civil rights activist in the 1950s and 1960s. He led non-violent protests to fight for the rights of all people including African Americans. He hoped that America and the world could become a society where race would not impact a person’s civil rights.  Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, GA on January 15, 1929. He went to Booker T. Washington High School. He was so smart that he skipped two grades in high school and started his college education at Morehouse College at the young age of fifteen. Martin’s father was a preacher which inspired Martin to pursue the ministry as well.

In his first major civil rights action, Martin Luther King Jr. led the Montgomery Bus Boycott. This started when Rosa Parks refused to move to give up her seat on a bus to a white man. As a result, Martin led a boycott of the public transportation system. The boycott lasted for over a year. It was very tense at times. Martin was arrested and his house was bombed, but in the end he prevailed and segregation on the Montgomery busses ended.

In 1963 Martin Luther King, Jr. helped to organize the famous March on Washington. Over 250,000 people attended this march in an effort to show the importance of civil rights legislation. They hoped for an end to segregation in public schools, protection from police abuse, and hoped to get laws preventing discrimination in employment.  It was at this march where Martin gave his « I have a Dream » speech. This speech has become one of the most famous speeches in history. The march and Martin’s speech were a success. The Civil Rights Act was passed a year later in 1964.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4. 1968 in Memphis, TN. He was shot by James Earl Ray while standing on the balcony of his hotel.

Exchange this information with another student or use them in your presentations:

Did you know????

  • King was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
  • Martin Luther King Day is a national holiday in the USA (3rd Monday of January)
  • There are over 730 streets in the United States named after Martin Luther King
  • One of his main influences was Mohandas Gandhi who taught protesting in a non-violent manner.
  • The name on his original birth certificate is Michael King. This was a mistake, however. He was supposed to be named after his father who was named for the leader of the Christian reformation movement, Martin Luther.
  • He is often referred to by his initials MLK.

To find out more about Martin Luther King (MLK) and his famous speech you can:

– Visit the BBC history website

– Read and listen to the article on VOA

– Try this listening activity (listen to part of the famous speech) 

– Watch the animated film about Martin Luther King’s life

Cartoons for discussion:

mlkmlk cartoon