Express Yourself Before You Repress Yourself



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EGL 094 Thematic Unit

Oster, Spring 2011


Express Yourself Before You Repress Yourself

EGL 094 Thematic Unit
Freedom of expression is a cornerstone of our rights as individuals. You are going to focus your reading energy this semester on exploring the ways in which freedom of expression, or the lack thereof, has shaped the world in which you now live, and how your choice to exercise your freedom of expression, or not, will shape your future, and the world as you know it.



  • How can reading change the world?

  • How do censorship and freedom of expression affect my life?

  • What do I think, and what am I going to do about it?

  • How do I plan to take advantage of my personal freedoms in order to live a fulfilled life?


How Can Reading Change the World?
Change Your World—Read. Find an article, book, instruction manual, short story, any text that contains information that has the potential to change your world. And then read it. The change can be large (e.g. a scholarship application for a full ride to college) or small (e.g. a teach yourself guitar book that you use to learn to play.) Whatever you choose, it must be something that you read, and then after you read it, you take action based on what you’ve learned. You will use the texts you choose for Change Your World—Read on our independent reading days in class, so you’ll be journaling about your experiences throughout the semester.
How do censorship and freedom of expression affect my life?
Make a Statement. How do you communicate your ideas, beliefs, and values to the world? What do your clothes say about you? What about your hair? Attitude? Speech? Tattoos? Consider the various ways you make a statement about who you are based on the messages you send to the world, and write a 1 to 2 page reflection, or, if you’re an artsy type, you can draw a picture of yourself and label all of these statements you make on the picture.
Excuse Me? Keep a log of the things you see others expressing as you move through your day. Bumper stickers, signs on doors, buttons, t-shirts, hairstyles, clothing—these things all say something to the world about a person’s ideas, values, and beliefs. Identify the ten most interesting expressions you see, and translate each into a short phrase that could fit on a bumper sticker. Then, create a word collage of these ideas and share it with the class.
Hold that Thought. Write a reflection of the ways in which you engage in self-censorship, or the censorship of others. (1 to 2 pages)
Personal Freedoms. Based on our readings, what are three personal freedoms you currently enjoy and put to use, that you would not have had if you lived in a different time or place? (1 to 2 pages)
Continued . . .
What do I think, and what am I going to do about it?
Get involved—Service Learning. Read about Oakton clubs that are service-based, and choose at least one that you find interesting. Participate in two (total) activities with the club/s, and share your community involvement experience with the class. You may write a 1 to 2 page reflection, give a 3 to 5 minute speech, or create two flyers discussing why others should join the club/s.
Get Involved—Oakton Identity. Find information about OCC sports and activities, attend at least three events, and share your community involvement experience with the class. You may write a 1 to 2 page reflection, give a 3 to 5 minute speech, or create two flyers discussing why others should join the club/s.
Book Talk. Give the class a 5 to 7 minute book talk about a book you’ve found that deals with issues related to censorship and/or freedom of expression. Discuss why you chose the book, what it is about, what others (reviewers) have to say about it, and why you think others might be interested in reading it.
How do I plan to take advantage of my personal freedoms in order to live a fulfilled life?
Reflection. Write a reflection on your experiences exploring freedom of expression, and how you plan to put what you’ve discovered to use in the future. (1½ to 3 pages)
Pay It Forward. Create a children’s book with a moral that deals with the freedom of expression. You can choose your audience as long as the book is aimed at children under the age of 10. (15 page minimum with pictures and words)



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