What impact has radio had on the CBC and the development of culture or identity in Canada?
The lesson and its essential question and success criteria directly follow curriculum expectations within strand E of the university preparation course “Canada: History, Identity, and Culture” (CHI4U). The specific expectations followed are E1.1 and E.1.3.
Today I will…
- review the impact of broadcasting technology, including stable long-distance connections, in Canada;
- examine why radio fell out of popularity in the age of television;
- consider how the CBC, through the lens of CBC Radio’s As It Happens, continues to shape the development of culture or identity in Canada.
After the lesson, students can…
- describe the impact of broadcast technology on the development of culture in Canada;
- understand why radio fell out of popularity in the age of television;
- analyze various segments from As It Happens and explain how the program does or does not reflect Canadian social attitudes and values.
Prior knowledge activation
- a significant understanding of historical events in Canada from 1867-1945;
- an understanding of the broadcast industry, including how mass communications technologies like radio, television and the internet distribute content;
- significant ability to identify media forms and to explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning;
- significant ability to reflect on a variety of media texts created for different purposes and audiences, and the ability to use appropriate forms, conventions and techniques to analyze them.
Standard classroom setup for direct instruction and reading and writing activities. A set of five tables or equivalent furniture to accommodate small group learning stations for 25 students.
Projector, slideshow with multimedia elements (including audio/video), paper, pencils/pens.
Student technology integration
Internet connection, smartphone, Chromebook or laptop with access to a word processing program for note-taking (shared among students if necessary, and as required for those with Individual Education Plans).
Assistive technology, computer options (audio/video), multi-sensory presentation, audio transcripts, subtitled video, extended time for processing, oral responses, predictable environment, ability grouping, strategic seating.
Three-act lesson plan
Act I: Hook (5 minutes)
Introduction (10 minutes)
- Before class, set up five tables with internet connected audio playback equipment (laptops are ideal) with 25 headsets.
- Re-introduce the lesson’s essential question.
- As a classroom discussion prompt, to review the previous lesson about CBC’s early years, ask if any students would like to share some of their viewpoints from their writing assignment. (They were asked to answer one of three questions: “How did CBC Radio change the social attitudes and values and the development of Canada before the advent of television?” “When listening to the highlights of CBC Radio’s early history, whose voices and stories were present, and whose voices were missing?” “What should the role of government be in promoting and protecting culture?”)
- Once a couple of students have shared some of their viewpoints, and after settling any follow up questions, ask the class what they thought about the presentation style of those early broadcasts. How did the broadcasters use their voice? What kind of music was played in either the foreground or background?
- Close the discussion and prepare students to evaluate the first few minutes of the very first CBC Radio broadcast on November 2, 1936. Using information from CBC Digital Archives, remind students that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation officially replaced the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission at this time. This was due in part to accusations of political bias, and because of this, the CBC was created as a crown corporation (operationally independent from, but financially dependent upon, the federal government) and it continues to operate this way to this day.
- Remind students again to evaluate the broadcast for style and tone, and be prepared to share their comments afterwards. Play about one to two minutes of the full broadcast:
Act II: Discussion (65 minutes)
Discussion and introduction (10 minutes)
Listening stations (55 minutes)
Ask students to form small groups of five (or form five groups in total) and move from station to station to either listen to or watch segments from or about the program, As It Happens.
The five stations contain the following five audio/video moments that represent some of As It Happens‘ most popular segments. Each student will watch/listen to each segment and provide individual commentary using a PDI (positive, minus, interesting) thinking organizer to be submitted digitally or on paper by the end of class.
Each group to attend one station every 10 minutes until all are completed.
Stations can be randomly chosen by students or assigned by the instructor. Ideally, each group moves clockwise or counterclockwise to the adjacent station after their first station.
Act III: Closure (5 minutes)
Ask students to keep their notes from the entire lesson for a take-home writing assignment. Students will be using their notes from the video and listening stations to answer one of three questions in writing, individually:
- Explain the impact of broadcast technology (long-distance telephones, television) on the development of culture around the time of the launch of As It Happens‘ in the late 1960s to early 1970s in Canada;
- Using evidence from today’s lesson, explain why radio fell out of popularity in the age of television;
- After analyzing four segments from As It Happens, how well (or not well) does the program reflect Canadian social attitudes and values?
This assignment, along with PMI notes, will be submitted digitally or in person at the beginning of the next class.
PMI thinking organizer.
Resources and handouts
Statista, November 28, 2019
- PMI charts (if students are unable, or prefer, to, complete them on paper)
CBC Digital Archives. (1936). 1936: CBC Radio takes to the air. CBC.ca. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/1936-cbc-radio-takes-to-the-air.
CBC Digital Archives. (1973). Radio revolution with CBC’s As It Happens. CBC.ca. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/archives/entry/radio-revolution-with-cbcs-as-it-happens
CBC News: The National. (2018, November 16). CBC Radio’s ‘As It Happens’ turns 50 [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdNHZLMjumc
CBC Radio. (2015, October 20). Margaret Trudeau on Justin’s win: ‘A golden moment in my life’. CBC.ca. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-tuesday-edition-1.3280172/margaret-trudeau-on-justin-s-win-a-golden-moment-in-my-life-1.3280804
CBC Radio. (2018, October 22). Woman who comforted Cpl. Nathan Cirillo urges Canadians to be brave every day in small ways. CBC.ca. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as-it-happens-monday-edition-1.4868610/woman-who-comforted-cpl-nathan-cirillo-urges-canadians-to-be-brave-every-day-in-small-ways-1.4868613
Fleming, R. (2010). Peter Gzowski : a biography. Toronto: Dundurn Press, p. 176-177
Goodyear, S. (2018, September 15). The top 10 weirdest As It Happens stories of all time. CBC.ca. Retrieved from https://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/the-top-10-weirdest-as-it-happens-stories-of-all-time-1.4718891
Watson, A. (2019, November 28). Radio in Canada – Statistics & Facts. Statista. Retrieved from https://www.statista.com/topics/2978/radio-in-canada/