Analyzing the Long Term Impacts of Imperialism: Seminar Preparations

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SWBAT gather textual evidence, formulate questions and prepare for a seminar style discussion by researching, reading and taking notes on modern impacts of imperialism.

Big Idea

In our final day of seminar prep, we will bring our research to modern context to explore the long term impacts of imperialism on the continent of Africa.

Seminar Overview/Structure

10 minutes

We will forgo SSR today to make sure that there is enough time to prepare for our seminar tomorrow. Given the strange interruptions on our time/schedule this week, I have had so little time to make sure students have all the resources they need to prepare. This stresses me out to no end...but teenagers (and their teachers) are resilient, so we will power through today and they should be ready by tomorrow.

The very first resource I will give them is a seminar planning sheet. This sheet is purposefully basic as it is meant to be a tool to gather ideas, not to push thinking or introduce new concepts. For the past three days, students have been annotating text and taking notes on big ideas about imperialism. This sheet is meant to help them organize all of those notes/annotations so they can come to the discussion prepared with textual evidence (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1a).

You might notice, though, that I do provide a little scaffolding here for the seminar itself. I will make sure students pay special attention to the back page where it asks them to make claims/write questions that can help them propel the conversation tomorrow. I will ask them to verbally tell me what I am asking for them to do in this part of the planning sheet (ideal student answers: prepare questions/claims so that I can propel the conversation forward with these questions/claims, i.e. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.9-10.1c)

I will also use this introduction time to remind them of the seminar format. Each student will be partnered with another student during the seminar. They will have to decide which of them will be the main speaker in the seminar vs. the silent supporter. Each student will be graded on their contributions, either through note-taking or speaking, in the seminar tomorrow, so I want to make sure the students understand how the partnership will need to prepare (i.e. each student will individually bring their notes/ideas to their partner and as a pair, they will decide what information to present in the seminar discussion). I will tell the students who their partner is and promise them time at the end of class to meet with/discuss their strategy.

Gathering Current Sources: Film Viewing

20 minutes

Once we've reviewed the sheet/seminar structure, we will spend the rest of the class period gathering our last bits of evidence/support.

The goal of this seminar is to help students bridge the gap between the foundations of imperialism and the modern social/political/human climate on the continent of Africa today. I wrote the two conceptual questions (see seminar planner) with this goal in mind--and today's work is meant to give them a taste of the modern perspective.

The first piece of modern evidence I will provide for them is in the form of film. We will watch a series of four clips from the 2013 film, Captain Phillips. Obviously, for copyright reasons, I can't include the actual clips here, but I encourage you to watch this film (currently available at Redbox!) as it is a fantastic study of the modern conflicts between Western and African culture/needs from both sides--and it is currently nominated for a variety of Academy Awards, including best picture. The four clips I use are:

  • The opening scene in Somalia where the pirates are given their assignment
  • The scene where the pirates take over the Maersk_Alabama
  • Two scenes from the lifeboat/hostage situation where Tom Hanks' character discusses morality/motivation with the lead pirate. 

There are many other great films about Africa, so if this piece doesn't feel like a good fit, I encourage you to explore the wide variety of possibilities, paying close attention to your school's policy on film ratings, etc. I chose Captain Phillips for its currency, rating (PG-13), critical praise and relevance for my seminar questions.

While my students are viewing these film clips, I will ask them to take notes in their seminar planners so that they can consider the message/main ideas of this film and their connection to the modern impacts of imperialism (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7). I will basically ask them to write down anything that stands out to them, be it character interactions, visuals, themes, etc.

I will model this with them during the first clip pointing out things like the hierarchy amongst the Somalian villagers, the bartering system they use to gain employment, their living conditions, the fear the villagers have towards the crime bosses, etc. I will also share with them how I feel these details point out the hardships faced by native Africans due to the westernization of their culture.


Gathering Current Sources: Current Event Research

25 minutes

The second part of the period will be more independent. I will ask the students to use the classroom set of Chromebooks to find examples of current events that highlight the long term costs and benefits of imperialism on the continent of Africa. We were supposed to do this yesterday, but due to an unplanned lockdown drill, I want to make sure they have time to do it today. 

I will show them the example of one of many current news article about an illegal mining accident in South Africa. I will point out the conflicts this article highlights between native South Africans, who have been forced into criminal activity to reap benefits from their country's natural resources. I will ask students to share their responses to this article as well.

I will then remind them of a couple of advanced researching strategies to utilize as they look for current events, specifically how to evaluate the credibility of a source and how to find specific and current news stories about Africa, but doing a simple Google search for Africa and asking them which of the top hits could be useful for their work (CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.8).

After this overview, I will let them have the remainder of the period to research, meet and strategize with their partners and/or work on their seminar prep sheet. I will also remind them that they need to have evidence from all of the following: