Public sphere, public agenda, public opinion, public policy… What’s the difference? Students discover the relationship between these concepts and how they influence the issues we all discuss and care about.
Students will be able to:
ANTICIPATE by asking students to think of two words that come to mind when they hear the word “public.” Call on students to share their words.
DISTRIBUTE the reading pages to the class.
READ the material with the class, pausing to discuss as appropriate.
CHECK for understanding by doing the yes/no Active Participation Review with the class.
DISTRIBUTE the review worksheet pages to the class.
REVIEW the instructions for the activities. For the “Levels of the Public Sphere” activity, you may want to help students think about what issues they’ve heard people talking about lately or what they’ve heard or read in the news.
ASSIGN students to complete the worksheet.
REVIEW the answers if you wish.
CLOSE by asking students to consider this question: Would it be possible to have a world without the public sphere? If so, what would it be like?
EXTEND the lesson by tracking headlines with the class for the next week to look for issues that are on the public agenda. Either pull up a news website and project it to look at together, or assign students to track headlines on their own. Are the issues you find global, national, or local? Have students heard these issues being discussed in the public sphere? (On television, at home, or even among their peers?)