One student brought up a news story about child labour in China so we picked up on the subject for discussion and agreed to do some research for the next lesson.
Each group had a photo from the last century depicting child labour in America. They were sent off to do some research and then we did feedback in the class using this worksheet –Child Labour
One group chose an article ” Back to the wrong school” from Seth Godin’s blog.
Another group used an extract from a novel by Frances Trollope , Michael Armstrong: Factory Boy (1840): “A little girl about seven years old, who job as scavenger, was to collect incessantly from the factory floor, the flying fragments of cotton that might impede the work… while the hissing machinery passed over her, and when this is skillfully done, and the head, body, and the outstretched limbs carefully glued to the floor, the steady moving, but threatening mass, may pass and repass over the dizzy head and trembling body without touching it. But accidents frequently occur; and many are the flaxen locks, rudely torn from infant heads, in the process.”
The discussion which followed was poignant and we concluded that it far too big a subject for a lesson or two.
I’m a student of Jason Renshaw’s inspiring materials design masterclass at the moment. (It’s still work in progress for me!)