Class Goal: To introduce methods of analysis; to model ways of approaching textual research with questions and developing tentative responses.
Connection to Course Goal: To re-emphasize ways of thinking about texts and textual analysis; discuss kinds of focus/development appropriate to this context.
- Introduction: Tell students focus of class is shifting to conducting their actual analyses. Now that they’ve seen some and have come up with their own topics, the next step is to begin considering how to focus their topic more and collect material for their paper. We’ll do this today by generating questions to ask, trying it with a short segment, and re-focusing their topics.
- Small Group Work: Break students into four groups and assign them the following tasks. The goal here is to highlight both what kinds of things to look for when trying to come up with a focus and how the things you look at might differ according to the genre of the show and type of analysis you want to do. (10 min.) [you’ll need blank overheads and pens for this; otherwise, have them put lists on board]
Group Task (reproduce on overhead):
For the type of show assigned below, generate a list of questions you might ask of the show when watching over the next few days. Consider all three analysis options when creating your list. Think about the things you might look at (e.g. who has the power in the family, etc.) that could lead to a focused cultural analysis as well as questions specific to the genre of show (e.g., why is Cartman from South Park so funny?). If it helps, think of a particular show within the genre that everyone in your group is familiar with to help create your list. Write your list on the overhead provided to share with class.
- Situation Comedy
- Daytime Talk Show
- Cop Show
- (3) Share Responses: As groups share, ask other class members to make additions. Also encourage them to think about what kind of analysis or thesis each question/focus might lead to. Finally, consider how other aspects of the show might factor into the analysis (e.g. the advertising around it; the ads for it during other times, etc.)--i.e. what besides the show might lead to information about its intended message/audience. (10 min.)
- (4) In-class Analysis: Now that they’ve thought about how to analyze, it’s time to try it as a class. Prepare a short (5 min. tops) segment of a t.v. show to use in class. Ideally, you should chose a sample to use in class that reflects one of the genres above (e.g. Jerry Springer tapes are easily rentable at Blockbuster or tape a segment of your own of another kind of show). (30 min)
Assign each group a set of questions or question from the overhead work in #1 to take notes on, pay attention to while they watch.
- Have students return to groups with their notes and construct a possible thesis-like statement that would present a clearly focused claim about the segment they just watched.
- When done, have students put these on board.
- Talk through each one, asking other students to help re-phrase it to be even more focused or more "analytical" depending on the weaknesses you see in each.
- If time, return to groups and ask them to outline what kinds of proof they would use for such a thesis.
- Share forms of proof.
NOTE: Before leaving class, copy down the revised thesis statements. You will need to return to them for next class.
- Collect Topic Proposals (comment on focus and analysis issues by next class)
- Homework: Remind them to read Soto in RRA and Lewis and Explaining chapter in PHG for Friday