K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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Learning outcomes

Students will:

  • learn about India’s movement for independence from colonial rule
  • gain experience relating literature to historical events
  • work collaboratively to produce a video documentary

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

5 to 10 days


Technology resources

  • Inspiration software
  • computer lab
  • video camera
  • video editing software
  • DVD player


Please note that earlier units covered the ancient and traditional Indian history and culture.

  1. Students should review earlier material and read related chapters from their history textbooks. Students create a timeline of events from the early 1700s through 1947.
  2. Students may have studied related novels such as Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, Nectar in a Sieve by Kamala Markandaya, Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton, or Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.


  1. Students will prepare for seminar discussion of works reflecting tensions and effects of imperialism in India (select texts from suggested works above). For each work, students should identify the conflict, the perspectives of characters involved in the conflict, and the tone of the author. To record their responses and questions as they read, students should annotate texts by keeping a two-column journal, using sticky notes or writing margin notes. Students should also bring at least three thoughtful questions (Bloom’s higher-order thinking skills) to the seminar.
  2. In the seminar, encourage students to extend their comprehension of each work as well as find comparisons and contrasts between them. Some guiding questions might include:
    • What motivates the character to… ?
    • What underlying political and social conditions might have created these tensions?
    • How do these characters react to the cultural differences they find? to the “crisis of conscience” they face?
    • How do these characters react to difficult situations? to peer pressure? to social pressures?
    • What would you do if you were in ___’s place?
    • What, if any, stereotypes do you see confirmed in these works? What, if any, stereotypes do you see invalidated? Why?
    • What changes do you think the authors are advocating or hoping for in the future?
  3. Assign students to groups for research, planning, and production of a documentary of India’s movement for independence. See the pathmap, which can only be opened if you have Inspiration software. (This can be downloaded free for thirty days from http://www.inspiration.com.) This offers one organizational structure for a large group of students. Groups may include the following:
    • Anchor. Responsible for introduction and general background to conflict, leadership and format of show.
    • Reporters. Responsible for developing stories on specific effects (such as the economy, religion, and colonization) of the conflict and interviewing relevant sources. (In these groups, some students may play the role of reporters while other will play the roles of the people they may interview to provide support for their stories.)
    • Leaders. Responsible for representing significant leaders of the period in a more extended interview, roundtable or debate.
    • Interviewers. Responsible for developing questions and facilitating leader discussion. (Works together with leaders to determine format: separate interviews, roundtable, or debate.)
  4. Students will research the general conflict and their specific assignment online and in the media center. (See websites for suggested resources, but encourage students to find additional sources.) The following guiding questions should help the student in their research and developing their presentation. These are only initial questions. The student should develop their own as well.
    • What part did the theory of nonviolence play in the struggle for independence?
    • Did it accelerate the movement or did it slow it down?
    • Did it affect how the rest of the world viewed the struggle?
    • How did the effects of imperialism direct the struggle?
    • Did it unify or divide the country?
    • What economic factors played a part?
  5. Share clips from a video documentary or news show and discuss with students elements of successful interviews and reports. Be sure to include developing initial and follow up questions and elaborating on comments. Students should also pay attention to clear organization, transitions, and developing unbiased reports by finding sources from all viewpoints.
  6. Students will draft, rehearse, and videotape their segment of the documentary. Teachers may want to review and approve scripts before taping. As students research and develop their segments, teachers can assist student groups with finding information and conveying it clearly.
  7. Students will watch the whole production, completing a peer evaluation and taking notes on new information.



In addition to the pre-seminar assignment, teachers can assess seminar on thoughtful participation, use of text, and courtesy and encouragement of other speakers.


see rubrics for individual and group assessment.

Supplemental information


“By Any Other Name” would also be a good example of an informal essay or reminiscence about a childhood event. Both this essay and “Shooting an Elephant” include specific details to recreate a significant event. Teachers could develop the study of this work as a model for a student writing assignment.


  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 9-10
          • 9-10.RL.6 Analyze a particular point of view or cultural experience reflected in a work of literature from outside the United States, drawing on a wide reading of world literature.
        • Speaking & Listening

          • 9-10.SL.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and...
          • 9-10.SL.4 Present information, findings, and supporting evidence clearly, concisely, and logically such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, substance, and style are appropriate to purpose, audience, and task.

  • North Carolina Essential Standards
    • Social Studies (2010)
      • World History

        • WH.1 Apply the four interconnected dimensions of historical thinking to the Essential Standards for World History in order to understand the creation and development of societies/civilizations/nations over time. H.1.1 Use Chronological thinking to: Identify...

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 9

  • Goal 5: The learner will demonstrate understanding of various literary genres, concepts, elements, and terms.
    • Objective 5.01: Read and analyze various literary works by:
      • using effective reading strategies for preparation, engagement, reflection.
      • recognizing and analyzing the characteristics of literary genres, including fiction (e.g., myths, legends, short stories, novels), non-fiction (e.g., essays, biographies, autobiographies, historical documents), poetry (e.g., epics, sonnets, lyric poetry, ballads) and drama (e.g., tragedy, comedy).
      • interpreting literary devices such as allusion, symbolism, figurative language, flashback, dramatic irony, dialogue, diction, and imagery.
      • understanding the importance of tone, mood, diction, and style.
      • explaining and interpreting archetypal characters, themes, settings.
      • explaining how point of view is developed and its effect on literary texts.
      • determining a character's traits from his/her actions, speech, appearance, or what others say about him or her.
      • explaining how the writer creates character, setting, motif, theme, and other elements.
      • making thematic connections among literary texts and media and contemporary issues.
      • understanding the importance of cultural and historical impact on literary texts.
      • producing creative responses that follow the conventions of a specific genre and using appropriate literary devices for that genre.

Grade 10

  • Goal 2: The learner will evaluate problems, examine cause/effect relationships, and answer research questions to inform an audience.
    • Objective 2.03: Pose questions prompted by texts (such as the impact of imperialism on Things Fall Apart) and research answers by:
      • accessing cultural information or explanations from print and non-print media sources.
      • prioritizing and organizing information to construct a complete and reasonable explanation.

Social Studies (2003)

Grade 9

  • Goal 3: Monarchies and Empires - The learner will investigate significant events, people, and conditions in the growth of monarchical and imperial systems of government.
    • Objective 3.07: Evaluate the effects of colonialism on Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe.
  • Goal 4: Revolution and Nationalism - The learner will assess the causes and effects of movements seeking change, and will evaluate the sources and consequences of nationalism.
    • Objective 4.02: Describe the changes in economies and political control in nineteenth century Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
    • Objective 4.05: Evaluate the causes and effectiveness of nineteenth and twentieth century nationalistic movements that challenged European domination in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.