The No Project is an independent anti-slavery initiative that focuses on the role of demand, and specifically targets awareness through music, arts, film, education and social media. It was through The No Project that I found this video which was created by Love 146, a charity that raises awareness and resources to combat child sex trafficking.
- Language level: Pre-intermediate (A2) +
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 30 minutes [day 1] + 45 minutes [day 2]
- Activity: Videotelling
- Topic: Child slavery; Child sexual exploitation
- Language: Metaphors of freedom
- Materials: Song; Video; Worksheet
Lesson plan outline
The issues behind the video used in this lesson plan are potentially disturbing. If used with mature teens and adults, the material can be used to introduce the issue of trafficking children for sexual exploitation. If used with younger learners, it would be better to focus on more general issues of children in the world who are denied their freedom (or perhaps children who are trafficked into the country where you teach).
The lesson plan is divided into two parts: part one (the song) and part two (videotelling). The activity may work best if done over two days but this is not essential.
Part one (the song)
For this part of the activity, you will need the song Little Bird by Annie Lennox. You can find this on YouTube, Groove Shark, Spotify or iTunes.
- Tell students that you want to tell them about an experiment that you did earlier: You put a single word into an image search engine and looked at the results. Tell them that you will describe some of the images and they have to guess what the word was.
- Once students have identified the key word, ask them to consider which of the images provides the best metaphor of freedom. Also ask them to consider which metaphors provide bad, inaccurate or misleading metaphors (I can think of a telecommunications company whose advertisers associate its mobile phone network with freedom. Or how about a soft drink that supposedly gives you wings?)
- Tell students that you have a song for them that uses the metaphor of a bird to represent freedom. Brainstorm students for bird-related words and write these on the board.
- Give out the Little Bird worksheet (included in the PDF download) and ask students to complete the tasks. Explain any unknown words or language and write this on the board (note the the PDF download contains a glossary).
- Allow students to pair up and share their answers before asking for feedback (answers are included in the PDF download).
- Let students hear the song and ask the following:
The word in question is freedom. An online image search of the word gives rise to lot of visual metaphors and cliché images of birds, butterflies, wings, outstretched arms (free from constraints), standing on mountaintops, running across sandy beaches, cages with open doors, even the US flag. Describe these to your learners and see if they can identify the word in question.
- Have you heard it before?
- Have your interpretations changed now that you have heard it?
Part two (videotelling)
‘Videotelling’ is a technique in which a piece of visual material is turned into a whole-class communicative event. As the teacher leads students through the narrative, opportunities for student interaction are encouraged along the way.
Use the example Videotelling Script in the broken box below (also included in the PDF download) to talk students through the Love 146 flash mob video. Ask questions whenever possible. Examples are shown in italics. After this phase of the activity, show students the video. Note that subtitles at the beginning and end of the video tell us that the Love 146 project exists to raise awareness of child sex trafficking. If you want to keep students curious during viewing, play the clip from 1:00 and stop it at 9:00.
Q: Does anyone know the film Schindler’s list? [image here.]
Q: Do you remember what it is about?
The film is about a German businessman who saves the lives of hundreds of Jewish refugees during the Second World War, by employing them in his factories.
Almost the entire film is in black and white. But there are a few moments of colour.
Q: Does anyone remember any of the colour moments?
The most famous one is when Schindler sees a little Jewish girl in a red coat. Later in the film, she is seen among the dead. She is only recognisable by the colour of the red coat that she is wearing [image here.]
Although it was unintentional, the character is coincidentally similar to Roma Ligocka who was known in the Kraków Ghetto for her red coat. Ligocka survived the Holocaust. When she saw the film Schindler’s List, she identified herself with the character. She wrote her own story, The Girl in the Red Coat: A Memoir [image here.]
We will come back to the Girl in the Red Coat in a moment.
Q: Does anyone here know where Trafalgar Square is? (Answer = London)
Q: Has anyone visited London / Trafalgar Square recently? What do you know about it?
I want you to imagine that you are in Trafalgar Square [image here.]
Q: What do you see?
Trafalgar Square is home to a fountain, a lot of pigeons, Nelson’s Colum, 4 lion statues, the National Gallery, St Martin-in-the Fields Church, demonstrations, New Years celebrations, etc.
The strangest thing that you see today is a little girl. She is alone and she looks a bit lost.
Q: Can you guess what she is wearing? (Answer = not a read coat, but a red dress)
The strangest thing is that she is carrying a sign.
Q: What do you think the sign says? (Answer = Can you see me?)
Q: Can anyone explain what is going on here?
There is a curious crowd of people looking at her. They are also wondering what is going on.
Q: What do you think happens next?
She starts singing. She starts singing a song that I am sure you know. More curious people stop to watch.
Q: Do you have any ideas what is happening?
The next thing that happens is this: Suddenly, from out of nowhere, a group of professional dancers surround her. There are about 60 of them. They start to perform a carefully choreographed series of moves to accompany the music. At one point, they pick up the girl in the red dress and hold her above them.
Q: Any ideas? Why is this happening?
All of the dancers are wearing white T-Shirts with a logo that reads: Love 146.
Q: What could that mean?
Next, four female singers join them. The singers continue with the song. More and more people turn up to watch. By this time, there is quite a big crowd surrounding them.
Q: Has anyone ever seen anything like this before?
This is an example of a flash mob.
Q: Do you know what a flash mob is?
The Macmillan Dictionary defines ‘flash mob’ as: ‘A large group of people who suddenly gather in a public place, do something for a short time, and quickly go away again.’
Q: Have you ever seen a flash mob on YouTube? Can you describe what you remember?
Q: Why do people organise flash mobs?
For the purposes of performance art, as a means of protesting, to promote something, even for fun: Silent discos (where people turn up with their own portable music devices) and street pillow fights are two such examples of the latter.
This flash mob in Trafalgar Square ends when the song finishes. The dancers and the female singers leave the scene. The only person that is left is the girl in the red dress and the confused crowd.
Q: What do you think was the purpose behind this flash mob in Trafalgar Square?
One last thing I have to tell you. The song that is used is a song that you know: Little Bird
Q: Any final ideas?
Follow up (younger learners)
Love 146 was set up to ‘bring an end to child sex slavery and exploitation’ and the story behind the name is quite graphic and potentially disturbing. For younger learners, you can use this lesson plan as a way to introduce the wider issue of human trafficking into your own country, especially that which involves children. It could be used to initiate project work, for example.
Follow up (mature teens and adults)
Give the following homework/self-study task, which will lead them to the specific issues behind Love 146.
Go online and find out the following:
- What is Love 146?
- What does Love 146 do?
- What is the story behind the name Love 146?
Rather than showing the video clip in class, refer students to it so that they watch it in their own time (this could be useful if you lack the technology or are run out of time). To do this, you could:
- Give students the title of the clip: Official LOVE146 Flash Mob – Can you see me? Ask them to watch it for homework.
- Put the clip on a class blog or Facebook page.
- Email the clip to everyone after class.
Prepare a slideshow of images to reinforce the ideas that are explored in the Videotelling stage of the activity (the Schindler’s List poster, a screen shot from the film, The Girl in the Red Coat book cover, a photograph of Trafalgar Square). Links are provided to these images above.
Thank you very much to Judy at The No Project for drawing my attention to video used in this activity. Judy works very hard to raise awareness of the issues that are considered here. The site links to an impressive selection of organisations, art projects, music videos and short films that deal with the subject of human trafficking. Please ‘Like’ her Facebook page.