The best way to get people thinking and talking about things (like ethics) is to tell a story and let people identify with character. We all know that. People remember a narrative more than a series of statements. I’m sure that is why Jesus told stories rather than issue three-line definitions of, for example, the Kingdom of God.
Tomorrow a new way of engaging young people in such discussions and thinking will be launched on MTV. I post the press notice below, but it is worth checking out – especially if you are cynical about serious engagement through ‘new media’ with young people. It is produced by media production company CTVC (which belongs to the Rank Foundation, a charity based on J Arthur Rank’s Christian values) in collaboration with Shed Media (Waterloo Road, Bad Girls, Footballer’s Wives etc). The Telegraph reported on it, as did other media sources.
Being Victor is is a live action teen drama that breaks new ground in the classroom. It is the first mainstream online drama to offer curriculum support for teachers via the award winning website, www.TrueTube.co.uk, whilst engaging the target teenage audience with compelling characters and plotlines on issues at the heart of the PSHE curriculum.
The drama will be available on MTV.co.uk in a series of 20 online episodes (2 released each week) for 10 weeks. It will be supported by a discussion forum where the issues can be debated, and by lesson plans (teaching units) which enable easy use of the episodes in the classroom. The teaching units will be available on http://www.truetube.co.uk/being-victor, a FREE online multimedia resource for schools. TrueTube tackles the challenging subjects at the heart of RE, PSHE & Citizenship, using video as a catalyst for debate and discussion in the classroom. Being Victor is an exciting evolution to the videos and lesson plans currently available on TrueTube. The site will also contain links to guidance on how students can make their own films, inspired by the drama, on the issues and themes that it tackles.
The content of the drama has been developed to tackle hard issues and give young people a forum to stimulate thought, dialogue and debate. Produced by the production team behind Waterloo Road, Being Victor follows the lives of Vinnie Dupe, his online alter-ego; blogger Victor Sage and his friends through college, family, work and the trials and tribulations of teenage life. The series operates on several digital platforms and uses a variety of different mediums to engage audiences, including on-screen drama, blogging, music, animation and social networking.
The drama focuses on 5 themes that are key in the lives of 21st century teenagers: Relationships, Online Identity, Sex and Promiscuity, Depression and Young Carers. TrueTube has carefully developed each teaching unit to utilise these themes alongside relevant episodes of Being Victor as a stimulus for PSHE and tutorial sessions. Each lesson can be completed in 45 minutes but can also be extended and adapted to suit personal priorities if required.
I doubt if MTV or Shed would be bothering if they didn’t see real value in this approach. Certainly worth following up and promoting in schools and youth groups.