Archives du mot-clé Spaces and Exchanges

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

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

 

 

Studying abroad – Spaces and exchanges-

Travel broadens the mind

Why study abroad?

 

Both the article and the video are relevant documents to illustrate the notion of spaces and exchanges. They show that moving away from home, therefore changing spaces,  makes us more open to new experiences : 

Summary of the article: Studies suggest that taking a gap year or studying abroad can positively influence your brain to make you more outgoing and open to new ideas

1 The more countries people have lived in, the more creative their work tend to be. It stimulates our creativity.

2  Travelling and living abroad can also help us to communicate better with people.

3 It increases our openness to new experiences, agreeableness and emotional stability.

4 Moving abroad also allows young adults to gain a new sense of responsibility and independence, and to manage their own finances.

5 We are more likely to know how to deal with unknown or unusual  situations and therefore make the right decisions.

Summary of the video :The speaker in the You tube video  participated in study abroad from Ireland and studied in Caen in Normandy in France. Her experience abroad   has always gotten her noticed in interviews and job applications, more so than almost any other item. Another advantage is that many people nowadays are coming to the job market  with degrees and masters’ degrees. A semester or a year of study abroad  shows that you’re willing to take on a challenge, to be brave,  to be open to living in a different culture. You meet new people, and it takes a lot of courage to do that, to move away from family and friends, and a comfortable environment, and throw yourself into an environment that you don’t know a lot about. So it says a lot for a person to study abroad, especially if English is not their first language . The student has to perfect English very quickly in a stressful environment, in the sense that they’re pressured to learn their second language, so they do have a lot of hurdles to overcome. So it’s quite an admirable event in one’s life to study abroad.

Conclusion:

In both documents, the idea put forward is that we can only gain from studying abroad, both on a personal and profesional levels.

Opinion:

I couldn´t agree more with the idea / I totally agree with the idea of …..  because ……

Link the notion with another notion – for example  the idea of progress…..

We can also relate these documents to the notion of progress . It is a lot easier to travel to another country or study abroad nowadays than it was 50 years ago. For example, there are plenty of exchange programmes (i.e. Erasmus) and financial helps (scholarships) to facilitate the studies in another country.

At this point, if you still have time, you can talk about your future plans …. which are studying in France!!!

If you want to add another document to this presentation, you can easily find pictures on the web showing international students on a campus…

For my students : The  interview of former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone,  about the impact foreign students can have on a city could be relevant to support your argumentation.

 

 

 

THE MOVIES ABOUT IMMIGRATION AND IMMIGRANTS

CC_The_Immigrant_1917

Movies are  great ressources : They can be used as relevant documents to illustrate your topic … and they are so entertaining as well as inspiring. Here´s my list ….. These movies all deal with the topic of immigration to the US.

The Immigrant (1917 Short Film) Director: Charlie Chaplin – Charlie is an immigrant who endures a challenging voyage and gets into trouble as soon as he arrives in America.

America America (1963) Director: Elia Kazan – A young Anatolian Greek, entrusted with his family’s fortune, loses it en route to Istanbul and dreams of going to the United States. (174 mins.)

An American Rhapsody (2001) -Director: Éva Gardos A young Hungarian girl struggles to find her place in the world when she’s reunited with her parents in the USA years after she was left behind during their flight from the communist country in the 1950s. (106 mins.)

A Better Life (2011) Director: Chris WeitzA gardener in East L.A. struggles to keep his son away from gangs and immigration agents while trying to give his son the opportunities he never had. (98 mins.)

Dancer in the Dark (2000) Director: Lars Von Trier – An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film. (140 mins.)

Gangs of New York (2002)Director: Martin Scorsese –  In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father’s killer. (167 mins.)

Green Card (1990) Director: Peter Weir – A man wanting to stay in the US enters into a marriage of convenience, but it turns into more than that. (103 mins.)

La misma luna (2007)Director: Patricia Riggen –  A young Mexican boy travels to the U.S. to find his mother after his grandmother passes away. (106 mins.)

Moscow on the Hudson (1984)Director: Paul Mazursky –  When a Russian musician defects in Bloomingdale’s department store in New York, he finds adjusting to American life more difficult than he imagined. (115 mins.)

The Namesake (2006) Director: Mira Nair – American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family’s unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways. (122 mins.)

El Norte (1983)Director: Gregory Nava –  Peasants escaping mindless labor and a murderous Guatemalan government head to America in hopes for something better.(141 mins.)

Titanic (1997 Director: James Cameron – A seventeen-year-old aristocrat falls in love with a kind, but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. (194 mins.)

West Side Story (1961)Director: Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise –  Two youngsters from rival New York City gangs fall in love, but tensions between their respective friends build toward tragedy.(152 mins.)

Nybyggarna (1972) Director: Jan Troell – The life of an immigrant family from Sweden in the Minnesota’s forests, during mid 19th century (204 mins.)

Spanglish (2004) Director: James L. Brooks – A woman and her daughter emigrate from Mexico for a better life in America, where they start working for a family where the patriarch is a newly celebrated chef with an insecure wife.(131 mins.)

Scarface (1983) Director: Brian De Palma – In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel while succumbing to greed. (170 mins.)

Avalon (1990)Director: Barry Levinson –  A Polish-Jewish family comes to the USA at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. There, the family and their children try to make themselves a better future in the so-called promised land. (128 mins.)

The Immigrant (2013) Director: James Gray – An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island. (120 mins.)

Entre nos (2009)Director: Gloria La Morte, Paola Mendoza –  A story based on facts which offers a fresh take on the issue of new immigrants in the United States… (80 mins.)

Lost Boys of Sudan (2003 Documentary) – Director: Megan Mylan, Jon Shenk Lost Boys of Sudan is a feature-length documentary that follows two Sudanese refugees on an extraordinary journey from Africa to America… (87 mins.)

La terminal (2004) Director: Steven Spielberg – An eastern immigrant finds himself stranded in JFK airport, and must take up temporary residence there. (128 mins.)

Amistad (1997) Director: Steven Spielberg About a 1839 mutiny aboard a slave ship that is traveling towards the northeastern coast of America. Much of the story involves a court– room drama about the free man who led the revolt.

 

 

 

 

 

Social media

Is social media  a good thing or a bad thing? There are always two sides of everything; most people admire it as a revolutionary invention and some seem to take it as a negative impact on society.

Positive aspects:

Friends and Relations: Social networks allow us to connect with friends in an easy and convenient way.

Reducing Communication Barriers:  Social networks unable us to share opinions about any topic to a large audience.

Negative Effects:

Leads to addiction: Many studies have shown that the extensive use of social media can actually cause addiction to the users.

Leads to isolation: Extreme usage of social media has reduced the level of human interaction.

2 documents to illustrate both sides

Look up

Teenagers and social networking – it might actually be good for them

 

SPACES AND EXCHANGES

The social media have created new spaces in our lives, new spaces because they are virtual. How do these new spaces affect our everyday life? (positive and negative aspects)

The social media have created new exchanges between people. To what extent do they allow us to communicate better? (Present the pros and cons)

IDEA OF PROGRESS

How does modern technology affect today’s society? Does it have a positive or a negative effect?