Reflection: Trust and Respect Mentor Texts: "The Story of Stuff" and "The Town Dump" - Section 2: Watching and Discussing "The Story of Stuff"


When students are confronted with controversial issues, such as those presented in "The Story of Stuff," it's important to avoid "The Spiral of Silence," which postulates that when one perceives one's opinion is in the minority, one is more likely to remain silent. The theory, developed in the 1970s as a way to explain why Hitler was able to rise to power in Germany, says the media exerts undue influence on individuals by controlling public perception.

The above, of course, is an oversimplification of the theory, but its point that individuals can feel pressure to remain silent if they feel threatened or if they feel unsafe. This certainly happens with students who may feel threatened if they perceive a teacher won't like or accept their opinion. 

This is why it's important for teachers to acknowledge multiple sides of an issue and to find ways to invite students into the conversation, regardless of their opinions. I share with students that I have changed my mind many times over the years and that in their academic lives they will have to take positions that conflict with their personal beliefs and values at times. Being capable of doing so is, paradoxically, what strengthens our own arguments. 

  Avoiding the Spiral of Silence
  Trust and Respect: Avoiding the Spiral of Silence
Loading resource... Mentor Texts: "The Story of Stuff" and "The Town Dump"

Unit 4: Such Stuff as Dreams are Made On: Innovative Approaches to Teaching Narration and Description
Lesson 5 of 7

Objective: SWBAT analyze effective literary and rhetorical devices in Wallace Stegner's "The Town Dump" as a response to "The Story of Stuff" and "Beowulf."

Big Idea: Mentor texts empower student writing.

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5 teachers like this lesson
English / Language Arts, tone, narrative structure, close reading, Annotating, "The Town Dump", "The Story of Stuff", Descripton, S.I.F.T.
  65 minutes
bannock county
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