This year, Siena Year 9 students have the opportunity to select an elective from four options for Semester 1 English:
- The Pen is Mightier than the Sword – a unit that investigates how writing can be used to protest about issues in society.
- The Pages of History – where students study historical fiction and learn that even though writers may choose to set their story in the past, they are often commenting on modern society as well.
- Future Worlds – a study of Sci-Fi texts and how these writers are offering a prediction of a dark and dangerous future to warn their contemporary society to change their ways.
- Whodunnit? – a very popular unit this year! In this elective, students study crime writing and how authors create suspense and intrigue for their reader.
The Year 9 classes have been busy over the first couple of weeks of term learning about their selected genre unit. Each class has explored different texts and students have had the chance to compare different approaches taken by different writers.
In The Pen is Mightier than the Sword students looked at how music has been produced over time to protest against injustice in society. Students were asked to compile a class playlist of great protest songs and write a brief description of what the song writer was hoping to achieve in producing their song. Students chose songs from a range of different genre styles and from different eras. Many of the songs were protesting against racism and discrimination based on race. Some also covered issues specific to Australia and the treatment of Indigenous Australians. Other songs were about gender based discrimination.
I am very pleased to share the students' Protest Playlist with you:
- ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow’ by Paul Kelly
This is about Vincent Lingiari’s protest for Aboriginal land rights. Paul Kelly is showing that even the smallest protest can make a big change.
- ‘I’m Not Racist’ by Joyner Lucas
This song is about racism in America and how it still exists. It’s about how white people still don’t understand what it is like to be black in America. The singer wants people to just get along with one another.
- ‘Pretty Girl’ by Clairo
This is a song about stereotypes of women and how they are made to feel like they need to dress or act in a certain way. The singer wants people to see that this isn’t necessary anymore.
- ‘Took the Children Away’ by Archie Roach
This song is about the Stolen Generation and how Archie Roach was stolen himself. He wants people to know his story.
- ‘Beds are Burning’ by Midnight Oil
This song is about the British invading the Indigenous Australians’ land and denying them fair land rights. The band were trying to bring awareness to the issue and achieve fair rights for the Indigenous people of Australia.
- ‘You Don’t Own Me’ by Lesley Gore
This song is responding to the issue that men are said to be in charge of everything, even females. It is about gender equality and how each woman is her own person. The singer is saying that no one, especially a man, owns her and she will not let them control her and what she does.
- ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ by Bob Marley
This is a song about standing up for your rights and using your voice to stand up for people who don’t really have a voice.
- ‘Where is the Love?’ by The Black Eyed Peas
This song is about terrorism, racism, gang crime, hatred against LGBT people and more. The group wants people to stop spreading hate and focus on love instead.
- ‘We Gotta Pray’ by Alicia Keys
This song is about the unfair treatment of black Americans. Alicia Keys is responding and acting on this issue in the hope that others will also see the important to act on the issue and make a change.
- ‘Nina Cried Power’ by Hozier
The song is about how people are campaigning around the world for change, and they are looked down upon and belittled. The group shows how protest movements can be downgraded as attention seeking so that their message is silenced.
- ‘Earth (clean)’ by Lil Dicky
The song is about our generations and society’s issues and how they are affecting so much. It is trying to persuade listeners to make change and raise awareness.
- ‘Together’ by Ziggy Alberts
This song is about coming together and facing the current issues as a team instead of worrying about nationality and other things like that.
- ‘This Land is for You and Me’ by Woody Guthrie
The song depicts the issue of inequality that people faced with land rights, and between the working class and the rich. The singer uses an inclusive title to emphasise his point.
- ‘Strange Fruit’ by Billie Holiday
The song exposes the sheet brutality of racism. It is about the terrifying murder of black people in the American south and how there was no real punishment.
- ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ by U2
This song is about the use of violence by the British to silence Irish protesters in Northern Ireland. The song highlighted the pain and devastation that was inflicted on the community of people of Northern Ireland and how they were oppressed and wanted to rule their own country.
- ‘Zombie’ by The Cranberries
This song was written in response to the Irish Republican Army bombing of Warrington which killed two children. It is about the awareness of the bombings and how it affected so many people.