Sunday, May 13, 2012
A Critical Framework for Media Education
A Critical Framework for Media Education This section of Rick Shepherd's article: "Elementary Media Education: The Perfect Curriculum" describes a critical framework for media education that teachers can use with students. To begin with, teachers need a critical framework. The field of media is broad and amorphous, extending not just from traditional media such as newspapers, magazines, television and film, but also now encompassing many areas of popular culture such as fashion, toys and dolls, the nature of celebrity, etc. Anyone attempting to make sense of this area needs a clear conceptual framework that will allow for discussion of a variety of complex and interrelated factors. For elementary teachers, this need is perhaps even greater than for their secondary colleagues because of the more fluid, integrated nature of the elementary class - things tend to just "come up" as the result of student interest or enthusiasm: someone comes in wearing a Bart Simpson T-shirt, or the whole class is swept away by World Series enthusiasm. A teacher has to be ready to seize (in Barry Duncan's words) "the teachable moment," and a framework that will lead to rational, critical discourse about any text is a must. This is also necessitated by the elementary teacher's need to integrate more, as the same critical concepts have to be applied to a wide variety of different materials as they appear in the curriculum. A number of such frameworks have been developed in various parts of the world in the last few years, as media education has moved forward globally. Most of them express the same things in different ways: it appears that having a framework is what is important, not necessarily having a specific framework. In North York, we adopted and modified (with permission) this Media Literacy Curriculum Model based on the critical framework developed by Eddie Dick of the Scottish Film Council.