Quick summary: In this lesson, students will consider how language is used in advertising to frame products in a positive light. The lesson begins with a brief introduction to the concepts of synonyms and connotations, illustrating how deliberate language choice helps advertisers refine and craft their meaning. Through a class discussion, students will develop an understanding of ‘weasel words’, which are word that companies can use to create a specific impression of their products. Working in pairs, students will find a print advertisement that uses weasel words, and, with the help of a set of prompts, perform an analysis of how those weasel words influence our interpretations. The lesson concludes with the opportunity for students to reflect on their changed understanding of weasel words.
- Students understand how word choices can create meaning in an advertisement
21st century skills:
Australian Curriculum Mapping
Year 9 English
- Analyse how the construction and interpretation of texts, including media texts, can be influenced by cultural perspectives and other texts (ACELY1739)
- Interpret, analyse and evaluate how different perspectives of issue, event, situation, individuals or groups are constructed to serve specific purposes in texts (ACELY1742)
- Apply an expanding vocabulary to read increasingly complex texts with fluency and comprehension (ACELY1743)
Year 10 English
- Analyse and evaluate how people, cultures, places, events, objects and concepts are represented in texts, including media texts, through language, structural and/or visual choices (ACELY1749)
- Identify and analyse implicit or explicit values, beliefs and assumptions in texts and how these are influenced by purposes and likely audiences (ACELY1752)
Syllabus outcomes: EN5-8D, EN5-2A.
Relevant parts of Year 9 achievement standards: Students analyse the ways that text structures can be manipulated for effect. They evaluate and integrate ideas and information from texts to form their own interpretations. They select evidence from texts to analyse and explain how language choices and conventions are used to influence an audience. Students create texts that respond to issues, interpreting and integrating ideas from other texts.
Relevant parts of Year 10 achievement standards: Students develop and justify their own interpretations of texts. They evaluate other interpretations, analysing the evidence used to support them. Students develop and justify their own interpretations of texts. They evaluate other interpretations, analysing the evidence used to support them. Students show how the selection of language features can achieve precision and stylistic effect.
This lesson is part of the wider unit of work SugarByHalf – English – Years 9-10.
Time required: 60 mins.
Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – guide class discussions.
- Student Worksheets – one copy per student
- Article: ‘Health Washing – 6 weasel words food companies use to fool you’ – printed, one copy per student
- Device capable of presenting a webpage to the class
- Class set of magazines – ideally magazines targeted to a female audience issued on a weekly basis, or even those that feature advertising of food products (optional).
Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.