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  • Lesson plan
  • Grades 11-12,
  • Grades 9-10

Developing Informed Opinions in the World of “Likes”


In this climate of instantaneous thumbs up and thumbs down, students can easily lose sight of the difference between spontaneous judgments and informed opinion. This lesson lets students experience the distinction. After viewing clips from the film The War to Be Her, a profile of Pakistani athlete Maria Toorpakai, who beat the odds under Taliban rule to become an international squash champion, students will be guided through several steps of discussion, question generation and research. They'll compare their initial reactions to the film with their conclusions at the end of the lesson.

Because Toorpakai's story involves the Taliban, Islam (often misrepresented in U.S. media) and a female athlete (subject to gender stereotypes), students will be wading through "hot button" issues. Outside of class, discussions of such issues often devolve into unproductive Twitter wars or worse. Their goal will be to arrive at well-informed opinions about whether or not the Taliban is completely responsible for Toorpakai's challenges.

About the authors

Faith Rogow

Faith Rogow, Ph.D., is the co-author of The Teacher's Guide to Media Literacy: Critical Thinking in a Multimedia World (Corwin, 2012) and past president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education. She has written discussion guides and lesson plans for more than 250 independent films.