Archives du mot-clé notions

NOTIONS – TOPICS – PROBLEMATIQUES

Welcome to the new school year 2017-2018!

This blog is going to focus on the 4 notions and their definition. First by looking at the notions, you will notice that they all include 2 terms which are linked together by “and” or “of”. (Spaces AND exchanges, seats AND forms of power, the IDEA of PROGRESS, myths AND heroes)

  • Interroger la mise en relation des termes – cette relation est-elle de complémentarité? d’ opposition? de corrélation? de causes ou d’effets? Ainsi vous éviterez de ne traiter qu’un terme ou les traiter l’un après l’autre alors qu’ils sont liés entre eux. Posez vous la question : “quel enjeu puis-je dégager de cette confrontation des termes ?”

Idea of progress : il s’agit bien de l’idee de progres- donc de la représentation que nos sociétés se font du progrès – et pas seulement du progrès  en lui-même. Viewed from this angle, progress becomes a double-edged sword.

I am going to give you very simple definitions of the notions, but I will advise you to come up with your own definition. A list of topics will also be given but it is the key question (la problematique) which will determine the choice of your documents.

FORMULER UNE PROBLEMATIQUE

CONCRETEMENT UNE PROBLEMATIQUE C’ EST:

  • Une question ouverte à laquelle on ne répond pas par oui ou par non
  • Elle est introduite par : How, to what extent, why, etc..

Myths and Heroes

Myths exist in every society, as they are basic elements of human culture. We can understand a culture more deeply and in a much better way by knowing and appreciating its stories, dreams and myths.There are many types of myths such as classic myths, religious myths, and modern myths etc.  

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. Therefore heroes, just like myths, can be real or fictitious. Heroes are people we can look up to, people who inspire like sport personalities, political figures, entrepreneurs, artists, etc..  Heroes lead, inspire, and entertain the masses.

A few examples in the English speaking world:

  • rags to riches stories : Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, JK Rowling, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Carnegie, Charlie Chaplin,Anita Roddick
  • Historical figures or National leaders who can be considered as heroes: Queen Victoria, Elisabeth I and II, Obama, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzi, Ghandi …..
  • Founding myths of the United States (Pilgrim Fathers, The myth of the frontier, the myth of the Road, the Gold Rush, the American dream, witch hunts)
  • Unsung 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)
  • Pop stars or sports heroes (and fallen idols)
  • American movies and comics: superheroes such as Superman or Captain America and their role in society/world
  • British heroes or heroines: Churchill, Florence Nightingale, the Suffragettes, Stephen Hawking…..
  • British myths and legends: Robin Hood, King Arthur, etc.

In our class, we will focus on the topic of  Witch Hunting in the USA by asking the following questions : Are witches a myth of the past ? From Witch-hunts and Communist-hunts to Terrorist-hunts Why have witch hunts been a recurrent element in modern American history?

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 the idea of progress is not progress since 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). We can ask ourselves whether progress is always positive?

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

  1. Technological progress

The technological advances of the last decades have totally changed our world. For example, the arrival of internet has changed the way we communicate. 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 other hand, many people have become addicted to social media and this creates new problems such as depression, isolation, bullying, cyber criminality…..

  1. 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,Antibiotics, painkillers and other medical treatments have helped to improve our general state of health and survival rates. But could there be a point where 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?

  1. Social progress

Social progress most often comes about when members of a population feel oppressed,  or second-class citizens (women’s rights, civil rights, etc).

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/a society?
  • Education, employment, equality, family life, Women’s rights, human rights, minority rights The idea of liberty, freedom, democracy

We will focus on 2 topics

Scientific Progress :  Science and fiction : Does fiction draw inspiration from science or is it the other way round?

Social progress : Why is India said to be a country of contradiction?

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

In politics and social science, power is the ability to influence people’s behaviour. 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. 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 etc..

Examples to illustrate the notion 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 Civil Rights movement and political recognition : Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X (can also be linked to the notion of Myths and Heroes)
  • The power of Art (The Harlem Renaissance – Banksy..)
  • Cinema and power: how do films influence society? Movie stars using their fame to influence public opinion on certain topics (Leonardo Dicaprio, Schwarzenegger)
  • 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)
  • People’s empowerment

We will focus on

Protest songs : How have protest songs fought political power? How have they contributed to social progress?  (also to be linked with Myths and heroes because some of these protest songs have become myths – also to be linked with the notion of Idea of progress – how have these songs contributed to social progress?)

Civil Rights: To what extent have African Americans achieved equal civil rights? Are African Americans still second-class citizens? (also to be linked with Myths and Heroes and Idea of Progress) : MLK, Rosa Parks etc… Heroes who have inspired others and contributed to social progress

ART as a form of power : How has the Harlem Renaissance contributed to forge a black identity? (also to be linked to Spaces and Exchanges : The Great Migration to Northern cities – Migration for a better life)

Spaces and Exchanges

This notion deals with the geographical and symbolic areas (spaces) that all societies occupy and the interactions (exchanges) 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:

  • India : Progress and traditions –
  • Working conditions (telecommuting, internet)
  • Globalization (the world has become a small village) – global cities
  • School and education (social diversity / knowledge)  comparison of the different educational systems – the brain drain
  • The Internet / social networks… a new virtual space ….the advantages and disadvantages of increased access to sites such as Facebook and Twitter -Cyber criminality, identity theft, cyber bullying, internet scams..
  • the movement of people: Immigration  to the UK, to the US, the Brexit
  • movement across borders (Gap Year) – student exchanges

We will focus on 2 topics :

Global cities: To what extent do migrants contribute to population and economic growth in global cities?  why are migrants attracted to global cities?

Migration: The migration of African Americans to Northern cities – In search of a new identity – Reason to migrate – Attraction to urban life.

 

Publicités

STUDYING TIPS

tired-student-with-books-011

DO NOT WAIT FOR THE LAST MINUTE – START ORGANISING YOUR DOCUMENTS RIGHT NOW!!!

In May, you will have studied tens of documents, press articles, interviews, visual documents, audio recordings, videos… Well, take my advice and start organizing them RIGHT NOW.

BAC ORAL : Notions, themes and documents

Your oral presentation (5 minutes) must be related to a notion which you have approached from the perspective offered by a theme and a question that – by exposing and confronting information from your documents – you propose to answer at the end of your presentation: This is the outline you should have on your flash cards :

NOTIONTHEME→YOUR QUESTION→DOCUMENTS (1,2,3)→YOUR ANSWER

EXAMPLE:

Idea of progress→Immigration→How does immigration contribute to progress ?→Documents 1, 2, 3 →your answer in the conclusion – Can also be connected to Spaces and Exchanges –

This is the beginning of the school year and you need to be organized from the start in order to make  revisions easier. Go to the post ¨Tableau recapitulatif ¨ and write down the documents you are studying in class, along with the notions it may relate to (the same document can indeed relate to several notions). You may add a quick summary of the document, its theme, key concepts and questions it raises.

GOOD LUCK and remember ¨Organising is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up” – A. A. Milne

 

Les 4 notions – Tips for your oral presentation

For the oral test, you´ll have 5 minutes to present the notion, your key question (problématique) and the 3 documents to illustrate your argumentation.

The other 5 minutes will be dedicated to an interaction with the teacher. In another post, I will give you a set of questions you may want to practice before the exam.

Spaces and Exchanges

Spaces and Exchanges – useful expressions –

Idea of Progress

Idea of Progress – Useful expressions

Power and Seats of Power

Power and Seats of Power – Useful expressions

Myths and Heroes

Myths and heroes – Useful expressions

 

 

THE MIGRANT CRISIS IN CALAIS

A current topic is the migrant crisis in Calais. Thousands of migrants are fleeing their country in the hope of reaching the UK. An interesting topic to illustrate the notion of spaces and exchanges. The following documents (a press article from the Guardian, a video from Vice news, and a Banksy´s  artwork) will illustrate the topic of immigration. Here are a few questions you might want to discuss-

Who is going where? why?how? (podcastenglish level 3 audio and worksheet on the refugees crisis)

Why do most migrants want to go to the UK?

Most migrants consider  Britain as a land of opportunities. Is this belief a myth or reality? (could be mentionned in your conclusion as a reference to another notion)

Banksy´s artwork depicting the child from the musical ¨les Miserables¨ surrounded by tear gas wants to draw our attention on the harsh living conditions of migrant children in Calais. 150 years after Victor Hugo´s Les Miserables, children are still being persecuted. (you might want to question the idea of progress or the myth of a better life in western countries.)

Banksy and the migrant crisis

Commuters in London took pictures of a new piece of art by Banksy opposite the French embassy on Monday. The work is critical of the use of tear gas in the refugee camp in Calais.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/dec/11/banksy-uses-steve-jobs-artwork-to-highlight-refugee-crisis

The horror of the Calais refugee camp

Migrant Crisis in Calais: Britain’s Border War

 

 

 

GLOBAL CITIES

FORBES – AUG 14, 2014

The World’s Most Influential Cities – Joel Kotkin , CONTRIBUTOR

In the past century, the greatest global cities were generally the largest and centers of the world’s great empires: London, Paris, New York and Tokyo. Today size is not so important: Of the world’s 10 most populous cities, only Tokyo, New York and Beijing are in the top 10 of our ranking of the world’s most important cities. Instead, what matters today is influence.
In order to quantify cities’ global influence, we looked at eight factors: the amount of foreign direct investment they have attracted; the concentration of corporate headquarters; how many particular business niches they dominate; air connectivity (ease of travel to other global cities); strength of producer services; financial services; technology and media power; and racial diversity. We found those factors particularly important in identifying rising stars that, someday, might challenge the current hegemony of our two top-ranked global cities, London and New York.
London, which after more than a century of imperial decline still ranks No. 1 in our survey. The United Kingdom may now be a second-rate power, but the City’s unparalleled legacy as a global financial capital still underpins its pre-eminence.
Ranked first in the world on the Z/Yen Group’s 2013 Global Financial Centres Index, which we used for our list, London not only has a long history as a dominant global financial hub, but its location outside the United States and the eurozone keeps it away from unfriendly regulators. Compared to New York, it is also time-zone advantaged for doing business in Asia, and has the second best global air connections of any city after Dubai, with nonstop flights at least three times a week to 89% of global cities outside of its home region of Europe.
A preferred domicile for the global rich, London is not only the historic capital of the English language, which contributes to its status as a powerful media hub and major advertising center, but it’s also the birthplace of the cultural, legal and business practices that define global capitalism. London hosts the headquarters of 68 companies on the 2012 Forbes Global 2000 list and is a popular location for the regional HQs of many multinationals. Beyond these traditional strengths, London has become Europe’s top technology startup center, according to the Startup Genome project. The city has upward of 3,000 tech startups as well as Google’s largest office outside Silicon Valley.
New York, which comes in a close second in our study (40 points to London’s 42), is home to most of the world’s top investment banks and hedge funds, and the stock trading volume on the city’s exchanges is nearly four times that of second place Tokyo and more than 10 times that of London.
Like London, New York is a global leader in media and advertising, the music industry (home to two of the big three labels), and also one of the most important capitals of the fashion and luxury business. With iconic landmarks galore, international visitors spend more money in New York each year than in any other city in the world.
The Challengers And Those Slowly Fading
London and New York are clearly the leaders but they are not the hegemonic powers that they were throughout much of the 20th century, and their main competitors are now largely from
outside Europe. Paris may rank third in our survey, but it is way below New York and London by virtually every critical measure, and the city’s future is not promising given that France, and much of the EU, are mired in relative economic stagnation.
Rather than a true indication of global reach, Paris’ high ranking is partly the product of the city’s utter domination of the still sizable French economy and the concentration of virtually all the country’s leading companies there Elsewhere, Europe boast a veritable archipelago of globally competitive cities — Munich, Rome, Hamburg — but none is large enough, or unique enough, to break into the top 10 in the future. East Asia is likely to place more cities at the top of the list.
Full List: The World’s Most Influential Cities
For most of the last century, Tokyo has been Asia’s leading city. It is still the world’s largest city, with the largest overall GDP. In her seminal work on world cities, Saskia Sassen placed it on the same level as London and New York. Tokyo’s limitations resemble those of Paris — its high ranking stems partly from the extreme concentration of domestic companies — and it will be handicapped in the future by a severe demographic crisis, a lack of ethnic diversity and very determined regional rivals.

This text is a good example of how you can relate a document to several notions.

SPACES AND EXCHANGES: Global cities as new spaces/exchanges

The growth of global cities has brought a wealth of cultural, linguistic and ethnic diversity, allowing people to enrich their everyday life and open them to new possibilities of exchange. (magnet for nationals and foreigners – diversity of language and culture – top universities – job opportunities)

How have global cities created new spaces and new exchanges?

Why do global cities depend on exchanges?

What impact do global cities have on people´s everyday lives?

How global cities, as geographical spaces, can have an impact on people and exchanges?

POWER AND SEATS OF POWER : Global cities as seats of power

Concentration of powers (economic, cultural, financial, political) – Global cities=leaders in the world economy – international marketplaces – dynamic hubs – top universities)

To what extent are global cities seats of power?

IDEA OF PROGRESS : Global cities and progress (social, economic)

The growth og global cities has brought wealth of culture, linguistic and etnic diversity. However such dense populations have led to serious environmental problems. (urban issues: overcrowding- slums- pollution – litter- congestion))

Will global cities find a way to create a sustainable and clean environment for the future?

Can we considered global cities as symbols of progress?

 

A press article and a video to illustrate the notion of Spaces and Exchanges

  1. Black Britons

2.  Multicultural Britain

Notion: Spaces and exchanges

Theme : Human exchanges

Key concept: Immigration to the UK – Multicultural Britain – Britishness

Questions :

What effect has immigration had on UK´s society?

How strong is the link that keeps the British together?

To what extent can Britain be considered as a multicultural country?

After having introduced the notion and the question you want to deal with, you need to present the documents that will illustrate your point.

If you choose to raise the question of Britain as a multicultural country, you should define multiculturalism first. (the preservation of different cultures or cultural identities within unified society, as a state or nation).

Both documents help us understand how Britain has evolved towards a multicultural society since the post-war years. Doc 1 deals with the different  waves of Caribbean migrants to Britain while doc 2 focuses on 2 generations, father and son from Kenya.

If the first generation of migrants felt more black than British, it is clearly explained that there is no contradiction for the younger generation (born in the 70´s) between ethnicity and identity as can be seen in the title ¨black Britons¨.

As for doc 2, to the question ¨what’s the best thing about living here, Sunny?¨, the young man answers : ¨The food, the different cultures that come in and bring their spices, their experiences and even their rituals, so you get a taste of the world within this small community¨. 

After presenting the documents, make a personal conclusion by giving your opinion on the documents and if you can by opening up onto another notion or future prospects.

These two documents could also be linked to the idea of progress because the younger generation of black Britons live a better life than their fathers. They feel part of a community, they feel proud to be British but also proud of their origins and this can indeed be considered as great progress for society.

A third document to add to your presentation …….

5b56b398043e67273034e83d93184ff2

 And two other quotes 

Tony Blair (UK Prime Minister 1997 – 2007- Labour Party)

¨A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at how many want in, and how many want out¨.

JFK : ¨Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of US life¨.

 

 

 

 

Happiness

3 documents to illustrate the theme of social progress

An article, a video, and a radio programme on the topic of happiness  and how it can be related to social progress.

QUESTIONS THAT COULD BE DISCUSSED ALONG WITH THE DOCUMENTS:

  1. What makes progress possible?
  2. To what extent is Social Progress Index (SPI) a better tool to measure social progress?
  3. The United States, the world’s wealthiest country in GDP terms, ranks 16thin “social progress.”  Can the wealth of a country (GDP) be representative of its social progress?
  4. Money cannot buy happiness – To what extent is this proverb true or false?

RADIO PROGRAMME http://www.podcastsinenglish.com/pages/level3.shtml

ARTICLE

Happiness Is an Important Indicator of Societal Progress

Bina Agarwal, a professor of development economics and environment at the University of Manchester, is the author, most recently, of « Gender and Green Governance: The Political Economy of Women’s Presence Within and Beyond Community Forestry. »

UPDATED JULY 2, 2015, 1:30 PM  NY Times

If happiness is defined by an individual’s freedom to choose, and lead, a life he or she has reason to value, it is worth tracking it as a sign of national progress.

There was a time when most economists believed that income was a fair measure of personal well-being, and G.D.P. per capita could adequately reflect a country’s progress.

Today, few would disagree that quality-of-life assessments should be multidimensional. The United Nations Development Programme, for example, ranks countries by an annual human development index that aggregates income, life expectancy and education. But are even these factors fully adequate for measuring social well-being?

Quality-of-life assessments that account for happiness and life satisfaction go beyond what G.D.P. can show.

In 2008, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France designated a commission led by Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, both Nobel laureates, to identify which indicators best measure the economic performance and social progress of nations “beyond G.D.P.” I was a member of that commission, and we identified many factors in addition to income and wealth that determine quality of life, including health, education, environmental conditions, social connections, political voice and security.

Yet these are still objective indicators. They tell us little about a person’s own assessment of his or her well-being.

Subjective indicators, like happiness and life satisfaction, capture an important dimension of well-being that is missed by objective measures. Self-reporting also shows the importance people place on having dignity and a voice, as well as access to democratic institutions.

But there are limits to self-reporting when it comes to public policy. Poor women in India, for instance, are much more likely than men to say they are well, even when a doctor’s examination suggests otherwise. Perhaps they cannot afford to take time off work when they are ill, or they are socialized into discounting personal well-being. Reliance on subjective measures could also make governments complacent about social injustice, using the “she is poor but happy” defense.

Ultimately, we need both objective and subjective measures to accurately reflect quality of life on a global scale. And especially when it comes to framing policy, measurement and quantification, even when it comes to happiness, is important.

What’s more, if enough people feel that their happiness depends on living in an environmentally sustainable and equal world, the pursuit of happiness could even be good for the planet.

VIDEO

Social progress index