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Duration and pathways: Using this unit in the classroom

In this unit students will use critical literacy skills to inquire into the world of advertising. They will address the essential question presented, and further questions arising from the issues of consumer culture and the ways advertisers use persuasive techniques to draw in and influence an audience.

As critical inquirers, this unit will help students to understand more about the numerous persuasive, creative and sub-textual techniques and elements at play in advertising, how they interact and with what effect. This will include the techniques and language advertisers use to position and manipulate audiences. Students will recognise that it is important to become consumer savvy and to make more informed consumer decisions, particularly in an age where so much information is shared in digital and visual forms and is easily accessible. Being consumer savvy means learning about the many marketing techniques employed by advertisers, including the many new and clever strategies that have emerged in the 21st century.

The unit can be conceptualised as a larger inquiry-based unit with 12 connected learning sequences. It ranges from the introductory sequence that provides the front loading or tuning in for further learning, to guided activities and scaffolded sequences based on a key question or concept (Sequences 2 to 10) and finally, the culminating project to demonstrate understanding: creating a guide to being consumer savvy in the 21st century (Sequences 11 and 12).

Teachers can opt to use some or all of the activities presented, or indeed modify activities, content and modes of presentation to suit the context of their schools.

The unit could be broken into parts based on a question that guides a particular learning sequence. For example, a specific focus on ethical consumerism will draw on content from Sequences 9 and 10. A focus on student-designed advertising campaigns can draw on content from Sequences 3, 4 and 5. A closer focus could be made on the process of writing a guide, using Sequences 11 and 12.