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Updated 30 June 2004, 19.05
Harry Potter stars with JK Rowling

Citizenship PSHE 11-14/KS3/Levels E&F
Media and society

JK Rowling has been named the sixth most powerful celeb in the world by the magazine Forbes. How should we really judge a person's contribution to society?

Rank public figures and decide what makes a good citizen.

Learning aims

  • Media coverage shapes our values
  • Some groups get favourable coverage
Working in pairs students rank the following list for their contribution to society.

  • Paula Radcliffe
  • David Beckham
  • Winston Churchill
  • Princess Diana
  • JRR Tolkien
  • JK Rowling
  • Robbie Williams
  • Geri Halliwell
  • Tony Blair
  • The Queen
  • Richard Branson
  • Annita Roddick

Now as a group consider:

[A] How have women fared compared to men?

[B] How have these categories fared?

- Business
- Literature
- Showbiz
- Sport
- Politics

[C] What sort of people appear on TV and in print most often?

[D] Does media coverage fairly represent how important people are?

[E] Who is missing from the list?
Prompt: Scientists, union leaders, voluntary workers, community leaders, visual arts.

Main activity
Working in pairs students design their own way of assessing contributions to society.

e.g. They could devise a questionnaire with differing scores for various types of behaviour.

Suggestions for contributions:

  • Helps others
  • Obeys the law
  • Is a good friend
  • Votes in every election
  • Makes people happy
  • Supports charities
  • Joins a political party
  • Works hard
  • Follows political issues in newspapers
  • Supports people in the community
  • Protests when something is wrong
  • Takes part in politics
  • Writes to a Member of Parliament if they feel strongly about something
  • Takes part in activities to protect the environment

Extension activity
Use the questionnaires on students in other groups.

Would you get a good understanding of our society just from watching TV and films?

What sort of things might you misunderstand?

Who would you think were the most important people in our society?

Teachers' Background

  • Forbes ranks people by combining earning power and public exposure - including magazine and newspaper articles, TV and radio appearances and web hits.

  • Author JK (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling was a teacher when the idea for Harry came to her on a train in 1990.

  • She spent five years writing the first book and plotting out what will eventually be a series of seven.

  • She lives in Edinburgh with her family.

  • Harry Potter creator JK Rowling was ranked the sixth most powerful celebrity - rocketing up from 15th position last year.

  • The author has sold more than 250 million copies of her five Harry Potter books.

For all links and resources click at top right.

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