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Introductory Lessons to Orwell's "1984" Part 2: Big Brother is Watching You!

written by: Gillian Hendrie • edited by: Wendy Finn • updated: 2/14/2012

Building upon the first lesson in this series, this lesson introduces students to the idea of being watched constantly and how this could affect behaviour. Contestants of the TV show "Big Brother" are analysed for their motivations in wishing to appear on the show.

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    Context

    This lesson can be done before the students start reading the book or shortly thereafter.

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    Resources

    Worksheets (one per student or per group of three); A3 paper for writing answers (one per group of three).

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    Lesson Plan

    The following questions should be on a worksheet for small groups to discuss and write group answers to:

    In a group of three, discuss and give written responses to these questions.

    1. Have you ever caught someone watching/staring at you? When? Where? How did you feel? How did you react?

    2. In which public places can you see cameras watching your movements? How do you feel about that?

    3. What if someone were watching you 24 hours a day, every day of your life? How would you behave differently?

    4. a) What do you think of the show “Big Brother"? b) Did you ever want to be a contestant? Why (not)? List some pros and cons of appearing on the show. c) What kind of people do you think are drawn to applying to be on "Big Brother"? d) Do you think of the contestants as famous?

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    "Big Brother" TV Show

    Have a summary sheet or an article about the TV show "Big Brother" available for those groups who have never heard of it/seen it.

    You could use images such as the chair form the Diary Room, and an explanation of what the show is about as well as any footage you deem suitable to show your class.

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    Reporting Back

    Each group should be prepared to report on their answers and opinions. Depending on student numbers, the questions should be assigned to specific groups - if necessary, by the teacher. These groups then lead the discussion on that topic. Try to ensure that each member of the group participates in the feedback session.

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    Homework

    Essay prompt: You are an international spy. Posing as a chambermaid/bellboy, you are trying to plant two listening devices (bugs) in a hotel apartment.

    Write a short story explaining the situation, who the target is, where you place the bugs and why.

George Orwell's 1984

This is a series of lessons for teaching and discussing the concepts contained within Orwell's "1984". It includes introductory lessons for use before reading begins, some chapter specific ideas and activities, and essay topics. Intended for Grades 8 - 10.
  1. Introductory Lessons to George Orwell's "1984" Part 1: You're Not the Boss of Me!
  2. Introductory Lessons to Orwell's "1984" Part 2: Big Brother is Watching You!
  3. Introduce Critical Reading With a Lesson Plan on 1984 by George Orwell