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Teachers: Citizenship: Media and society

Last Updated: Monday June 19 2006 14:37 GMT

School Day: South Africa

Media and society


On 14 June 2006 BBC journalists spent the day at a school in Soweto to mark the 30th anniversary of a walkout by black students.

School Day South Africa logo
The children were protesting against educational apartheid, and the enforced use of the Afrikaans language by teachers. Their action led to a confrontation with armed police, the protest helped change the course of South Africa's history.

You can watch three special films about life in South Africa on the BBC News website.

Students look at how their image of the continent is shaped by the media.

Learning aims

By the end of this lesson, students should:

  • Know more about the problems facing Africa
  • Know more about the benefits of living in Africa and the continents resources
  • Understand that media coverage shapes our values and that some areas get unfavourable coverage

Africa: The Good and the bad.

Working in pairs, students list things that are bad or wrong about Africa.

Still in the same pairs, students list things that are positive about Africa.


  • Oil reserves
  • Mineral wealth
  • Hydro-electric power
  • Wide bio-diversity
  • Low population density
  • Potential for solar power
  • Great natural beauty
  • Ethnic and cultural diversity
  • Enormous range of crops
  • Rich in history
As a class, students answer the following questions:

1. How easy was it to think of the negative list?

2. Where did you learn about the things on the negative list?

3. How easy was it to think of positive things?

4. Why don't we hear about positive things?

  • Still in the same pairs, students list things that are positive about the USA.

    As a class, students answer the following questions:

    5. Where did you learn about the things on the USA list? -Prompt: Film and TV output made in the USA

    6. How does owning elements of the media allow people to shape their home country's image?

    Main activity


    Write an interview script

    Using the printable profiles of these African children, students write TWO interview scripts.

    Both scripts describe the same person, but one paints them in a positive light and the other makes their life sound as negative as possible.

    Students should set their interview out like this:

    Extension activity

    Positive press: Rewrite a newspaper article

    Students rewrite a current newspaper story in the most positive way possible. There are some useful links to newspapers online in the right-hand green box on this page.


    Ask students:

    • Would you get a good understanding of life in Africa from watching TV news bulletins?
    • What sort of things might you misunderstand?
    Teachers' Background

    Click on the links on the far right for a host of Newsround resources on Africa.

    For hundreds more news-based lesson, click on Teachers on the left hand side.

  • Africa

    Press Packs


    Interactive maps




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