Justifying film, television, media study in the curriculum
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation report on media exposure for 8-18 year-olds, especially Chapters (or sections) 4 and 5, had the biggest impact upon me for the material of week two in our study. I have been pondering media literacy curriculum over a period of time, wanting to devote time to adding media units to our 9-12 language arts curriculum. We have identified media literacy as a place we need improve, and as this course began, I immediately started a list of ideas for formulating new skill units. The task seems huge - potentially overwhelming - but I have begun to formulate some ideas for how to package some skill work.
Before commenting on my ideas for a "rationale" for teaching media studies, a few thoughts on the Kaiser Family website / media report...
I read with avid interest the distinction between media exposure and media use, taking note of the way that media was grouped (categorized) and the methodologies which were used to calculate "time spent multi-tasking with media." I looked at the mediums - VIEWING television, videos/movies, LISTENING to radio, tapes, CD's, MP3 players, READING books, newspapers, magazines, USING COMPUTERS for games, e-mailing, instant messaging, chatting on-line, Web surfing. I studied the comments made about how race and ethnicity seem to reflect a difference in the amount of time spent using media daily by youth from Black American, Hispanic, and White families. I studied the comments about how income and education of parents does not seem to be reflected in such a measurably significant way (across those age groups) as race and ethnicity does. Then, I began to study the information in Chapter (or section) 5 - particularly Table 5.B, page 37 - and I began to think about the population of students I teach and what I have observed over the past five years.
Table 5.B suggests that between 1999 and 2004, the use of television, video, print, and audio use among young people between 8 and 18 has not changed a great deal. Only in the use of computers and video-gaming did the time show an increase of 25-30 minutes of "use" per day. This set me thinking about my own students. The population I see each day consists largely of juniors and seniors. Most of them have a job and work 20-30 hours a week outside school. I would say that the average student spends approximately two hours on homework a day to accomplish his/her high school assignments. I know that those who take the college credits on our high school campus spend more than two hours doing homework each night. The Kaiser Report information prompted me to consider asking my students to log the time they spend VIEWING, LISTENING, READING, WORKING ON A COMPUTER daily as an introductory activity in our first media unit next semester. I can see the excellent logic of asking them to learn terminology, look at bias, understand what drives marketing, and examine authenticity - all the while referring to their personal records which show how significantly these mediums affect their lives.
RATIONALE is in the next blog entry.