In this challenge, students learn about the significance of perspective in shaping individual views by designing one outfit that would be acceptable to them, one that would be acceptable to their parents and one that is acceptable to both groups.
Invite students to bring in pictures of trendy clothing, in a variety of styles, from flyers or magazines. Discuss why these items might be considered cool; e.g., designer shirts suggest exclusivity, loose clothing suggests casual comfort, hipster jeans show off the body. Make a list of criteria for cool teen fashion; e.g., comfortable, shows off the body, fun, makes a statement. Analyze the fashions to determine the extent to which they meet these criteria.
Ask students to imagine that they have been hired by a famous designer to create the latest fashions for teens. Have students work in groups of two or three to design one outfit for Grade 7 students, using the defined criteria. It may be helpful to distinguish male fashions from female ones and to assign groups different categories of fashion, including school clothing, casual wear and formal attire. Ask each group to share and explain its design, including how well it meets each of the criteria. Consider adapting one of the charts and strategies for Considering Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
Discuss whether or not parents would approve of the designs. Identify reasons why parents may disapprove, such as too much skin revealed, too expensive or too sloppy. Generate a list of criteria for attire that parents would find acceptable for teenagers to wear; e.g., reasonably priced, easy to care for, exposes no skin. Discuss, where necessary, why certain language, symbols and/or slogans are deemed inappropriate by school staff and parents; e.g., derogatory, promotes illegal substances.
Arrange for students to return to their group to design an acceptable outfit, based on a parent's perspective. You may use your adapted chart and strategies from Considering Options (Support Material). Invite students to share their design and indicate how it meets the criteria. Then, discuss why teenagers might not agree with the acceptable outfits; e.g., boring, do not allow for individual expression, restrict movement.
Discuss why parents' perspectives, regarding appropriate clothing, may conflict with those of teens; e.g., their experiences, roles, responsibilities are different. Discuss how these differences may lead to conflict and misunderstandings. Introduce the importance of compromiseacknowledging and respecting different perspectives and agreeing on clothing that respects the legitimate concerns and interest of both parties. Encourage students to consider, as thoughtfully as they can, the reasons why parents may be right in some respects about teen fashions; e.g., some items may be dangerous, parents often pay for clothing.
Invite students to individually create a new outfit that meets the criteria of a reasonable compromise; e.g., not offensive to either party, respects the legitimate needs of each group. Consider adapting one of the charts and strategies for Justifying My Choice (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
At the completion of this challenge, encourage students to speculate on how perspective might influence the study of Canadian history; e.g., Cartier's arrival to the new country might have been written differently in the history books if written by Aboriginal peoples. See Interpreting and Reinterpreting Images (Modelling the Tools) for detailed suggestions on how to teach and assess the tools for reinterpreting an event, reflecting alternative perspectives.
Invite students to consider what an acceptable outfit would look like from the point of view of a teacher, an employee, a person who is homeless or someone who lives in poverty.