Bridging Media Literacy with Green Cultural Citizenship
Chapter Three: A Field Walk Through the Media Ecosystem
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Len Masterman’s (1989) pivotal book, Teaching the Media, began by asking, why teach media? Masterman explained that while media had become “increasingly central components of social, economic, and political activity at all levels, media education [remained] marginal within educational systems everywhere” (p. 1). Subsequent efforts (Lusted, 1991; Tyner, 1998) were intended to expand the possibilities and connections for media education across disciplines in educational settings that traditionally privilege print literacy over the inclusion of electronic media as an area of inquiry. These early arguments for media education reflected debates emerging from media studies, cultural studies, film studies, and literacy scholarship. Unlike their academic counterparts who asked how media impacts society and culture, the early pioneers of media education were concerned with pedagogy: What are the best practices for teaching media? This essential question is based on an assumption that media education, like print literacy, is integral for promoting life skills, social capital, and cultural citizenship. The initial aim of media education, as outlined by Masterman and the many practitioners who followed his lead, recognized the power of media to shape attitudes and beliefs, and believed that education should address our engagement with media.
In terms of understanding the worldview of media literacy educators, Masterman’s work highlights two themes. First, his discussion of media education comes from the perspective of media studies, film studies, and cultural studies. As it turns out, media literacy intersects and converges with many different perspectives and fields, such as literacy, public health, education, media...
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