Moving beyond Media 101: Recent Media Education Anthologies

By Duncan, Barry | Afterimage, September-October 2009 | Go to article overview
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Moving beyond Media 101: Recent Media Education Anthologies

Duncan, Barry, Afterimage

In recent years, several anthologies have been published on media literacy/education addressing both theoretical and practical considerations. All of these have made important contributions to an evolving pedagogy. Fortunately, most of them go beyond introductory perspectives and often critique the limitations of many current practices. In the United States and Canada, educational authorities now include media literacy expectations within state educational standards.


Typical subjects include critiques of student media productions; bridging the gap between media effects and cultural studies; media literacy and disadvantaged youth; negotiating meaning in rap music with an eighth-grade class; deflating the goals of media education; and sparring with an emerging and influential cultural studies/education establishment. These topics of focus are exampled in such texts as Media Education: Literacy, Learning and Contemporary Culture (2003) by David Buckingham, Teaching the Media (1988) by Len Masterman, and Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business (1985) by Neil Postman. What follows are a few recent examples of note.

Media Education, guest edited by Kan Dehli/published in ORBIT OISE/University of Toronto's Magazine for Schools 35. no. 2, 2005/

This 45-page periodical is teacher friendly. Several articles are dedicated to teaching media, which includes media analysis and production, at the elementary school level. Especially relevant is the essay on the TV series Degrassi High. There are a number of essays that confront current media controversies such as media in a time of war; global studies and multiculturalism; video production and the elementary school; and the challenge of negotiating copyright law. Included is a bibliography and introductory article on media literacy by this author.

Media Literacy: A Reader, edited by Donaldo Macedo and Shirley R. Steinberg/Peter Lang/2007

At 710 pages and 57 chapters, this is a weighty tome. But it is worth a careful read. The book is organized in such a way as to lead the reader through various theories to the actual practice of teaching media literacy, and finally reading media. Part Three is dedicated to those who teach media literacy and incorporate it into their curricula. Regrettably, material on elementary school is absent.

Obviously, teachers will read this anthology selectively. As media literacy gains more depth in North America, books like this will help to reconcile both theory and practice, providing our work as educators with the necessary critical rigor it deserves.

Rethinking Media Education: Critical Pedagogy and Identity Politics, edited by Anita Nowak, Sue Abel, and Karen Ross/Hampton Press/2007

This collection of essays analyzes the efficacy of media literacy education around the world, paying particular students' critical thinking skills. Main-books currently on the market describe the importance of media education and include suggestions for pedagogy, but few evaluate its effectiveness. The afterword by Australian educators Robyn Quin and Barric McMahon is a useful and incisive look at current debates in media education as they probe the salient ideas presented in the book.

Media Education and Educating the Media, edited by Kirsten Kozolanka from Our Schools, Ourselves 17, no. 89 (Fall 2007)/Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) (Ottawa)

These twenty-two essays range from "Educated Hope in Dark Times: Critical Pedagogy for Social Justice" to "Creating Media Savvy Students: Putting Media Literacy to Work in the Classroom." The essays arc generally short and quite readable. While most of the selections were written by Canadians, the material will be useful elsewhere.

The Popular Media, Education, and Resistance from Canadian Journal of Education no. 1/Canadian Society joy the Study of Education, 2006

Canadian educators, particularly those in Ontario, have led the way in establishing a credible base for media education within North America.

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