In light of the US election, it seems timely to explore propaganda and how we can be easily swayed by emotive language. Below, I have outlined a lesson on how propaganda is constructed to persuade an audience to a particular action.

  1. Start with a do now activity such as the one below. Have students record a handful of ideas that break down what the image could symbolise. Students could relate it to a number of ideas around revolution and the need for social change.

You can discuss how social media might spread information and misinformation. Ultimately, what is the impact of spreading different types of information? Is it good or bad? Alternatively, you could connect it to this image as well, depending on the prior knowledge of students.

2. Next, you can present students with the learning intentions. Explain to students that they will be looking at how images, vocabulary choices and persuasive techniques are used construct a message in propaganda posters.

3. Have students complete a brainstorm or notes about war propaganda. Below, outlined in yellow, I have suggested some responses to propaganda. Have students record it in their books. They can also suggest other propaganda that they’re familiar with.

4. Explain to students the three aspects to how propaganda is constructed. Use the following poster, or an other type, to explain how these three conventions are used to create meaning.

5. Now students are ready to analyse the different types of propaganda. I have chosen to explore how men and women were represented during World War One. Before students answer the questions in yellow, have them analyse the images and identify commonalities between:

  • Image
  • Vocabulary
  • Persuasive Techniques

They can then use these notes to help write their answers. Information has been also provided to support students in understanding the context.

6. Now, students are ready to make a connection to current events. Have them explore some modern day marketing campaigns. How do posters from the past relate to how they are used now? Have their been significant changes? Are people more or less responsive to propaganda?

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