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Media Literacy is Elementary

Teaching Youth to Critically Read and Create Media- Second Edition


Jeff Share

This book provides a practical and theoretical look at how media education can make learning and teaching more meaningful and transformative. This second edition includes more resources, photographs, and updated information as well as two new chapters: one exploring the pedagogical potential for using photography in the classroom and the other documenting a successful university course on critical media literacy for new teachers. The book explores the theoretical underpinnings of critical media literacy and analyzes a case study involving an elementary school that received a federal grant to integrate media literacy and the arts into the curriculum. Combining cultural studies with critical pedagogy, critical media literacy aims to expand the notion of literacy to include different forms of mass communication, information communication technologies, and popular culture, as well as deepen the potential of education to critically analyze relationships between media and audiences, information, and power. This book is a valuable addition to any education course or teacher preparation program that wants to promote twenty-first century literacy skills, social justice, civic participation, media education, or critical uses of technology. Communications classes will also find it useful as it explores and applies key concepts of cultural studies and media education.


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Chapter 2. Teaching the Media: Competing Approaches, Media Activism, and Core Concepts of Critical Media Literacy


· 2 · teaching the media Competing Approaches, Media Activism, and Core Concepts of Critical Media Literacy The traditional ideas of literacy that focus on a standard national language and phonetic decoding are no longer sufficient in an age of countless commu- nication systems and increasing linguistic and cultural diversity (New London Group, 1996). The psychological model of reading and writing as individual cognitive skills needs to evolve to a deeper sociological understanding of liter- acy as a social practice “tied up in the politics and power relations of everyday life in literate cultures” (A. Luke & Freebody, 1997, p. 185). Current methods of representation are profuse and evolving as technol- ogy develops and spreads. These changes in technology and society have led to a call for a broader approach to literacy by an international group of edu- cators who refer to themselves as the New London Group.1 They propose a pedagogy of “multiliteracies” to address the different types of representation, much more extensively than traditional print- based approaches. They also suggest that the growing local, cultural, and linguistic diversity, along with global connectedness, require a new literacy pedagogy that can meet these multiple demands. They assert, “The role of pedagogy is to develop an epis- temology of pluralism that provides access without people having to erase or leave behind different subjectivities” (1996, p. 72). The New London Group’s 10 media literacy is elementary concept of multiliteracies helps students negotiate multiple cultural and lin- guistic differences as well as the multitude of communication...

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