4 — Our lives in the public gaze
Activity 1: Life stories and the private/public divide
Students will read and share their impressions of ‘This (Salty) Life’ and extend their understanding of disclosure, revelation, privacy and ethics.
Discuss the following with the students:
- What is the relevance of ‘disclosure’ and ‘revelation’ to life stories?
- What personal revelations or disclosures are made in this story?
- Why has the writer shared her story?
- How would you describe the mood of ‘This (salty) life’? Provide some key words, images and grammatical choices that create mood.
Allow the students to browse through ABC Open Projects, searching for examples of life stories, and selecting one that suggests that the individual is disclosing or revealing something of a personal nature. Ask the students to record their responses on the ABC Open Life Stories discussion worksheet and to share their responses to the following questions:
- Do some storytellers take risks in sharing their stories? What are those risks?
- Do some play it safe? Why might that be?
- What responsibilities will you have when you make your subject’s life public?
Activity 2: Facebook debate
Facebook is often in the media because of violations of privacy, even though it continues to be a vital part of modern life and many people use it without issue.
Ask the students to revisit the definition of a life story from Sequence 1: A life story captures the most distinctive qualities and experiences of an individual’s life. A life story is based on the assumption that within every life, there is a story worthy of sharing. Social media is based on the notion of sharing, and a strong link might be made between Facebook’s timeline and the concept of a life story.
Remind the students of the concept of debating. They will work in pairs or small groups and attempt to provide three strong arguments to support each of the statements below using the Facebook debate worksheet.
- Statement 1 (if you have an account): Facebook is my life story.
- Statement 2 (optional if you do not have an account): Facebook could be used in order to document my life story.
- Statement 3 (about Facebook generally and its 800 million active users): Facebook is never anyone’s life story.
At the conclusion, it should be a simple exercise to use their responses on the sheet to calculate the class scores in support of and against the statements. ACELA1550, ACELA1551, ACELA1553, ACELA1556, ACELA1561, ACELA1562, ACELY1739, ACELY1811, ACELY1742, ACELY1745
What one person divulges on Facebook, another might regard as private.
Activity 3: Interviews, sensitivity and privacy
Remind students of the rights and wrongs when sharing a life story, discussed in Sequence 2.
Consider why we do not generally ask the following questions of people we don’t know well, or where there are distinctions of age, power, culture or gender:
- How old are you? (And is there a gender bias here?)
- How much do you earn?
- How many times have you been in love?
Even if the upcoming interviews are not particularly sensitive, these are valuable insights regarding the use of language in any interaction with others.
Students should use the Interviews, sensitivity and privacy worksheet and then the class could synthesise the collective advice to guide them in their interviews. ACELA1551, ACELA1770, ACELA1561, ACELY1811, ACELY1741, ACELY1742, ACELY1747
Remind the students of the deadline for their life story proposals.