Our Educational Message

Hi, and welcome to our blog. This space is designed to share ideas and methodologies that we use to teach Turkish teenagers. In particular, there is a strong focus on ICT-ELT, which means if you like visual and technological support for your style of teaching, this blog is for you. My colleague, Brentson Ramsey, has been working alongside me for three years. He is also a big proponent of the ICT-ELT Paradigm, which means he will also be posting from his own teaching perspective on the blog.

2010 was the beginning of this new journey, and although there is no definitive ICT-ELT road map available for everyone to follow, it is exciting to explore the technological means to make teaching more fun and affective for students. Our main message is for teachers to ADOPT & ADAPT the paradigm shift for their own needs, and remember that

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

The TRUMAN SHOW: is there really no difference between private life and public life?

Since the advent of 24/7 TV, and its ubiquitous nature worldwide, we have been bombarded with footage, images and programming that focus on the lives of the rich and famous; namely "the celebrity."  This has meant we have been taken into the private lives of those people, all in the name of "entertainment."  Right or wrong, people are interested, and the fascination to learn about your favorite film, tv, sports, even political personalities and their habits, wrong doings or scandals has led tv and film producers to make it their business to share as many of these people's habitual goings on as possible.

 "For me there is no difference between a private life and a public life." H.Gill (Burbank's wife's real name)
The first Hollywood film to expose the practices of the media and their wrong doing was "The Truman Show (1998) starring Jim Carey.  The tagline for the movie was, "On the air, unaware," and basically a tv production company follows the private world of Truman Burbank.  Cameras are set up Big Brother style all around his home, his town and his workplace in order to get a 'true life' experience for the viewer.  However, as with all reality shows, problems ensue as the protagonist starts to realize there is something amiss in his life, and he questions his very existence; while 'his tv audience' watch obsessively.  The sub-plot has the producer battling with ethics over viewing figures.

The aim of this post is not to further summarize this awesome film, since you should definitely watch it, but to focus on the ethical issues central to our 24/7 intrusion of surveillance cameras in our own world.  Furthermore, you can see how grammar across the English Time-Frame works and can be used by you to describe events in the film.

Here you can see Truman and what he does every morning.  His routine is clear to see.  Identify each of his daily habits and share with the class.


Once you have become comfortable with Present Simple for everyday actions and habits, it is now the turn of the Present Continuous to describe events, actions and things that are happening NOW.

Take a look at this chart, and see the difference between present simple and present continuous.

You should always remember that it is very important for you to mix up your tenses and forms of language, both when speaking and writing.  As long as you have the time-frame organized in your mind, the rest should fall into place.   

The trick is to try, make mistakes, and then try again to get it right. 
We can only learn how to say it and write it correctly by making mistakes.

Towards the end of this video clip, Truman's wife asks him, "Where have you been?"
This question is what can help you to understand the logic behind the present perfect.

[on the beach]
Where has the rain come from?

Why has he been looking out to sea?

[at home]
Where has Truman been?

What has he been doing?
Who has Truman been thinking of?

Why has Truman been thinking of him?

The consideration of this tense over past and present is really important in English.  It is necessary to define the time that starts in the past and leads up to now.           Truman has been at the beach, and his wife wants to know everything he has been up to, where he has been, and what has happened on way back home. 

Consider the following examples:

At 7.00 am you wake up.
At 7.15 am you take a shower.
At 7.30 am you eat your breakfast.
At 7.45 am you get on the service bus.
At 8.05 am you arrive at school

Your teacher asks you, "Where were you?" (past simple)

You naturally have two options:

              1. "When?"
              2. "At home (in bed, in the shower, in the kitchen), on the  service bus.

But, if your teacher asks you, "Where have you been?"

You should answer,e.g., "I have been coming to school."

This difference between both tenses is clear here, with past simple using definite times in the past and present perfect with an uncertain time in the past, yet connected to now.

  • You have been doing exercises based on the Truman Show.
  • You have been working out which tenses to use for your sentences.
  • We have all been enjoying the movie clips from this great 1999s movie.
EQs on the ethics of media intrusion

  • Do you agree with Truman's wife on public versus private life?
  • Even though this is not the whole movie, can you see how unhappy Truman is?
  • Why do you think Truman feels so trapped?
  • What is the director of the movie describing with his Truman Show metaphor?
  • How many hours of tv do you watch a week?

  • Have you ever watched a Big Brother type of show?
  • Why do celebrities in our world crave for publicity?
  • Why do these same celebrities complain when the media intrude on their lives?
  • Are celebrities using the media for gain, or is the media exploiting their rights to privacy?
  • Why has TV become so incredibly influential over the past decade?
  • Why are you seeing more and more Hollywood 'A' stars in tv series?
  • Do you believe that media companies will continue to cheapen 'celebrity'?
  • How far do you think this current trend can go before it slows down?

No comments:

Post a Comment