This smart task uses one of the most frequently misunderstood Hitler Youth posters. By taking students through a step-by-step deconstruction of the poster using an animated PowerPoint presentation, students are shown the overwhelming importance of context and purpose when trying to establish the true meaning behind an iconic image.

The task is self-explanatory in terms of working through the PowerPoint slides. Although it seems teacher-led you will note that there are lots of questions posed at frequent intervals which are designed to engage all students and for which a short oral answer is anticipated from each pair of students.

When you come to the end of the placing of the poster in context, it is expected that students will create their own high quality caption to accompany a new academic book. The purpose is clear: to show how lazy some textbooks have been in their use of this image as ‘propaganda wallpaper’; and to show how students’ own use of context and consideration of purpose leads to them showing a much deeper and more nuanced understanding.

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