Monday, 29 October 2012

Body Image, Photoshop and Paper People


Body image is a hot topic issue for young people and educators these days but it's often difficult to know what to do about it in a constrcutive way.

Paper People is a documentary that personalises the issue by highlighting the campaign that a young Australian girl, Jess is undertaking to change the way photos are digitally altered in women's magazines to present perfect unachievable bodies.

Running for fifteen minutes, the film examines the issue and outlines Jess' strategy to create change against what seem like gargantuan odds.  But success is coming.

The video is a great snapshot of the concept of making a stand for a situation that needs change.  In doing so it is also a perfect parable for the "power of one" and the way truth catches on when spoken fearlessly.

It could be used to create debate and to have young people dream of ways in which they might tackle the values of a world gone askew.  You might use it alongside a website like Photoshop Disasters, which lists airbrushing mistakes in magazines, advertising, movie posters, and elsewhere to comedic effect.

Have a look here for Paper People...


Monday, 15 October 2012

Who Do You Say I Am?


Hi everyone, Stephen and Jonathan S have invited me to join the happy team here at a few smallish fish, and I'll be extremely happy to add what I can over forthcoming weeks.
This clip gives a modern-day interpretation of the context of Jesus' question in Mark 8:29.  From Mark's log-in, we see the process by which questions can be posed, and answers researched and posted in reply.
Despite the appeal of the clip to digital natives, I'd suggest the pace of the clip still needs some contextualisation before showing and possibly more than one viewing if used in a classroom.
Key questions might include: how were the Gospels written? Who would you expect to have been the best primary sources of information for Mark's Gospel?  If a Gospel were to be written today, what kind of information-gathering techniques might come into play (googling, "crowd-sourcing", etc.)?

Doing some media analysis of the clip itself, which forms of social media are shown?  What do the numbers of Likes and Dislikes on a post indicate, and what do the numbers we see in the clip indicate about how Jesus is seen around the world today?

In one scene, a televangelist declares that the title question is the most important question in history.  Why would he say that and to what extent do you agree or disagree?

Monday, 8 October 2012

Steve Jobs on asking for Help


I stumbled upon this short clip of Steve Jobs circa 1994 titled "Steve Jobs on Failure" but I think it should have been titled "Steve Jobs on asking for help".

This little clip might be useful for exploring the topic of prayer. 

One way of doing this might be to ask the question: What reasons might people have for not asking for help? From here it is easy to jump to the questions: Why don't people pray or what reasons might people have for not praying?

A suitable reading to link this with might be Luke 11.1-13 which has the story of the person going to the friend at midnight for bread, as well as the questions about the goodness of parental gifts.

Another activity that might work as a demonstration of asking for help, is to get a student up, have them untie one of their shoelaces and tell them that their shoelace must be tied up. The rule, however, is that they can only use one of their hands. Depending on when you do this they might ask for help, or not, either way it proves the point. Some things are done more easily with help. (The rule doesn't say they can't use someone else's hands)

This story could also be used:

A little boy was spending his Saturday morning playing in his sandbox. He had with him his box of cars and trucks, his plastic pail, and a shiny, red plastic shovel. In the process of creating roads and tunnels in the soft sand, he discovered a large rock in the middle of the sandbox. The boy dug around the rock, managing to dislodge it from the dirt. With a little bit of struggle, he pushed and nudged the large rock across the sandbox by using his feet. When the boy got the rock to the edge of the sandbox, he found that he couldn’t roll it up and over the wall of sandbox. Determined, the little boy shoved, pushed, and pried, but every time he thought he had made some progress, the rock tipped and then fell back into the sandbox. The little boy grunted, struggled, pushed, & shoved, but his only reward was to have the rock roll back, smashing his chubby fingers. Finally he burst into tears of frustration. All this time the boy’s father watched from his living room window as the drama unfolded. At the moment the tears fell, a large shadow fell across the boy and the sandbox. It was the boy’s father. Gently but firmly he said, “Son, why didn’t you use all the strength that you had available?” Defeated, the boy sobbed back, “But I did, Daddy, I did! I used all the strength that I had!” “No, son,” corrected the father kindly. “You didn’t use all the strength you had. You didn’t ask me.” With that the father reached down, picked up the rock and removed it from the sandbox.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

We are all Daniel Cui

I've talked often in workshops and seminars about the power of narrative to inspire and teamed with great visuals the pairing is formidable.

"We are all Daniel Cui" is such a match-up.  Ultimately, it's the story that is so powerful.

Daniel Cui, a freshman goalie, finds himself the target of online bullying after he is blamed for a series of defeats.  Some of his fellow students come to his defense and with some simple online acts, stand alongside him in solidarity.  For me this would be enough, but the confidence this inspires in Daniel enables him to greater things.

Reminiscent of that famous scene in Spartacus, We are all Daniel Cui shows that young people are not powerless in the face of bullying and that community in the face of cruelty is powerful.

It's an awesome video you may have already come across on Facebook,  easily useful in a chapel service or RaVE lesson.  Check it out.