We will start class with ten minute of reading time. I will read with the students during this time.
Since this is such a short instructional day, I am going to use the time to help the students gather evidence for their seminar. We spent time reading and analyzing excerpts from Heart of Darkness on Friday, but we were reading the text purely to comprehend what Conrad was saying and why he was saying it.
Now that the students know what the focus questions (see next section for a reminder of these questions) for our seminar are, I will ask them to reread the text with those questions as their analytical lens. I will provide them specific questions to answer and ask that they seek out textual support for their claims about what they think Conrad is saying, both explicitly and implicitly (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.1).
The final section of today's class will get us to the larger purpose of Friday's seminar, which is mainly to consider what the long term effects of imperialism have been.
Our focus questions for the seminar are:
Both of these questions are meant to push students to a big picture understanding of how imperialism happened and what the immediate and long term impacts of Western Culture's meddling were. I obviously have a bias about this, which is that imperialism was pretty terrible, but I have tried really hard to keep my bias out of the proceedings. I've decided to structure the questions like this so that students can consider multiple perspectives and multiple texts so they can come to their own conclusions through their independent research and synthesis of ideas (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.7).
The final piece of research for this seminar will actually require them to go out and gather outside information about the topic in the form of current news stories that show the current state of things in various African countries (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8). I will require that they have textual evidence from at least one current news story to bring in for their seminar preparations tomorrow. My students are very independent researchers at this point in the year, so I will not give them much instruction about how to do this. I will encourage them to do a general internet search and remind them to pay attention to the accuracy and relevance of the results they receive.
I will also show them an example of a news story that they can draw evidence from and ask them to help me infer why this current even has any connection to imperialism. The news story I chose comes from the BBC and shares information about a South African mining disaster that happened this past weekend. I hope that they will be able to notice the potential legal trouble the miners could be in as well as the legality of mining in this area in the first place. I will then ask them to think about why these men are engaged in the kinds of activities they are engaged in and how imperialism might have led them to these illegal activities to provide for their families, etc.