A Project in Propaganda
Each year, students in their 8th grade social studies course immerse themselves in the world of propaganda. “It is a quarter-long investigative project that asks them to focus on media literacy issues, and how information can be and is manipulated to create a message for the benefit of the giver, or a party supported by the giver,” explains Sara Baquero-Garcia, Social Studies Department Chair.
Students were asked to examine various propaganda techniques and messaging in political communication, news, commercials and entertainment and then share their thoughts and analysis in a webpage. “The projects are anonymous,” explains Baquero-Garcia. “This is on purpose, as we hope that what the readers focus on is not who made the weebly, but what they said.”
From looking at messaging in local political races to national advertising campaigns, the students began to appreciate that propaganda doesn’t just exist in countries with dictatorships, but also here in the United States. “Before the project students are always able to point out how propaganda is used historically or how countries like North Korea are using propaganda, but how our media uses it is a topic that many find surprising,” says Baquero-Garcia. “Whether students see our use of persuasion as a valid use of our freedom of expression or as a hindrance to authentic understanding, it is clear that they come away from this project with new insight.”
To take a look at the class project, click on this weebly link.