91 Postcolonial Lesson Plan

Joshua Gammel

 

I always viewed postcolonialism as hard to learn, but once you understand the basics then learning the more complex parts is easier. This lesson is very student-oriented, meaning there is little input from the teacher and the students learn from each other the most. This lesson plan has two critical set-ups before you can teach it. The students must have some basic idea of what postcolonialism is, and have read “The Angel of Progress” (pp. 1185-1196 in the Rivkin/Ryan anthology) before teaching the lesson. After the students have completed the first two steps, then they are in prime position to understand and learn from this lesson.

The way this lesson works is by having three components; the opening prompt, the main chart, and closing prompt. The opening is very simple, the students must answer one of the two questions; “What defines a country as postcolonial?” or “Why is learning about postcolonialism important?” Now obviously you can pick different questions, but the main reason to ask a simple question like this is to get people’s brain thinking about postcolonialism with a simple question, while making some easy material for people to talk about. Having such vague questions will also let students that may not remember the material to get a quick refresher before diving into the main part of the lesson: the chart.

The chart is the meat and potatoes of the lesson because it will take the most time to complete, you have to dive deep into the reading, and will have students go over the more complex parts of postcolonialism. The chart aims to explain concepts like parallel history, masculine militarism, Imperialism, binary opposition, and more by having three different groups of students find quotes from reading and having them explain it in their own words while the teachers walk around to help any group that may be struggling. Now you don’t have to set up your chart like this, but our group’s chart ended up looking like this:

Term

Group 1

 Parallel History

Pg 1185-1186

Masculine Militarism

Pg 1191-92, 1195

European Time

Top pg 1187

Find a quote from the reading involving the term.  

 

 

 

 

 

How does Anne McClintock use the term in her essay?  

 

 

 

 

 

Define the term in your own words.  

 

 

 

Do you agree with this idea/ definition. Why or why not?

 

Term

Group 2

 Progress

Pg 1186, 1192, mid 1194

Imperialism

Pg 1186-87

Post

Btm pg 1192

Find a quote from the reading involving the term  

 

 

 

 

 

How does Anne McClintock use the term in her essay?  

 

 

 

 

 

Define the term in your own words  

 

 

 

 

 

Do you agree with this idea/ definition. Why or why not?

 

Term

Group 3

 Binary Opposition

Btm 1186

Colonialism

Pg 1188-89

 

 

Find a quote from the reading involving the term  

 

 

 

 

 

How does Anne McClintock use the term in her essay?  

 

 

 

 

 

Define the term in your own words  

 

 

 

 

 

Do you agree with this idea/ definition. Why or why not?

 

This chart is very effective at enabling students to dive deeper into the reading. I think the fact they have to find their own quote from the reading, how the author used it in reading, and put it in their own words helps the students to generate a solid understanding of the concepts. After they learn what the word(s) mean, then the students discuss whether they agree or disagree with the concept which is even more material to talk about.

Last but not least is the closing prompt. You want to find some chart or article that gives real-life statistics related postcolonialism. My example is what our group ended up doing, and it is a link to a chart that shows the deaths of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan post 9/11.

You then want to have the students answer some questions about the chart. Using this chart as an example again, some questions could be: “How does this connect to the predictions on page 1195?” or “How does this demonstrate the lasting impacts of imperialism through present day?” What the closing prompt does is give real world application to the lesson. It lets students see what postcolonial looks like in the real world. This will give the students the best overall understanding of what postcolonialism is and what it looks like.

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Postcolonial Lesson Plan by Joshua Gammel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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