Television Critical Viewing Skills Education: Major Media Literacy Projects in the United States and Selected Countries

By James A. Brown | Go to book overview

"Working" was a series of five television dramas intended for use in English courses, especially where teachers examined television and TV genres as part of media studies curricula. Two dramas exemplified the popular television forms of situation comedy and episodic serials. Scripts of all five plays were published as a book with the same title Working. Mottershead's essay ( 1980, pp. 58-73) explained television as a commercial system as well as technical production of television drama. He offered an articulate review of the role of TV drama in culture, and of understanding TV drama as symbolic representing society within the constraints of scheduling, format, and conventions of sound and image to produce meaning. The seven pages of "Working Activities" offered detail points for observing and discussing types of TV drama, plot and character, settings and effects and music, and the use of cameras and sound in staging the plays.

A unit on "One World Documentaries" included three entitled "Jonathan Dimbleby in South America" and a fourth in which that same documentarian described how he creates his films about world topics, commenting on journalistic problems involved. The essay in this section of the book consisted of notes from a recorded interview with him ( 1980, pp. 106-119) about seven Third World countries and also about disasters in general, including his views about responsibility, balance, frustration, and education.

* * *

Those varied efforts by private companies sought to engage classroom teachers and their students into becoming active, informed, perceptive, and judging viewers of television drama and news. Many projects were developed and promoted by major broadcasting companies in collaboration with educators and research specialists to ensure validity of televised programs and of printed and audiovisual support materials for institutional use.

The next chapter explores selected major CVS-related projects around the world.


NOTES
1.
Prices are quoted from promotional materials and bibliographies of the early 1980s. Although the prices are subject to change, they indicate the range of relative expense of various kits.
2.
Promotional pamphlet by Television Learning Ltd., quoting Lehmann's text. Purchase of book and tape, $225; rental, $45.

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