Elaine Scarratt and Rob McInnes
The school and the family share the responsibility of preparing the young person living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds. Children and adults need to be literate in all three of these symbolic systems, and this will require some reassessment of educational priorities. Such reassessment might well result in an integrated approach to the teaching of language and communication.
(UNESCO Declaration on Media Education, 22 January 1982)
This chapter will explore the ways in which media and information communications technology (ICT) may be seen as central to the teaching of English in the twenty-first century. Although media and ICT are discussed here in a separate chapter, they should not be seen as separate, 'bolt-on' aspects of English, but as integrated with what might be considered good practice in English teaching. In the same way that all aspects of English are inextricably interlinked in the English classroom, as you read the other chapters-which for the purposes of discussion have focused on key aspects of English teaching separately-you should be looking for opportunities to bring what you learn from this chapter to your practice. The chapter also considers approaches to the teaching of Media Studies examination specifications.
The past fifty years have witnessed rapid development in the technology associated with communication in all its forms. 'Interest in and attachment to the media begins, for most children, well before they attend school and continues throughout their adult lives' (Masterman, 1985). Many pupils come to school with experience not only of viewing, listening to and reading a wide range of mass media forms, but they have grown up creating and publishing with DTP packages on powerful desktop computers. In addition to direct social interaction, their personal communication includes e-mail,