Subversive Teaching – 52

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Month: January, 2012

Joe Chemo

This was one of the images we included in the book. Here is we would use this in class.

Lindsay writes: I would probably ask students to suggest any famous brand mascots they know (e.g. Ronald MacDonald, the Energizer bunny, the Jolly Green Giant…) I may include certain ones into the list that I remember especially from childhood. At some point I’d ask if they can think of any mascots for particular brands of cigarettes. Depending on the age of the students, things like The Marlboro Man or Joe Camel might come up.

I’d then tell the students I’d found an image of one of these brand mascots, but redone by an artist with the aim of criticizing the brand. I’d show the image and elicit reactions. All sorts of smoking vocabulary might come up here, I might elicit these and do some work on that. I’d be careful not to make this into an attack on smokers per se, but rather focus on how effective this image could be in terms of anti-smoking education. For example, do the students think this would be a good image to put up around a high school?

Finally, I would explain that this anti-smoking mascot is called Joe Chemo. I’d give the following as a dictation, or create a language exercise from it.

Meet Joe Chemo,
a camel who wishes he’d never smoked cigarettes. Joe is having trouble feeling COOL these days, now that he’s lost most of his hair. Worst of all, Joe just realized that he’s been manipulated all his life by tobacco companies. Poor guy — his tobacco IQ never was very high.

I’d say that this text comes from a website called For homework (or in class, if I could project it) I would show the students the site and ask them to take the tobacco IQ test. We’d finish the class with a general brainstorm on what are good and bad ways to educate young people about the risks associated with smoking.

How would you use this image? Post a comment below.

Subvert their minds

Welcome to Suversive Teaching 52. This is the support site for 52 – a book of critical, subversive and unconventional activity for language teachers. The authors of this blog are Lindsay Clandfield and Luke Meddings.

We’ll be posting some activity ideas, discussions, images and videos connected to the material we wrote for 52. We hope this provides readers with, at the very least, food for thought.