Critical Media Literacy: TV Programs
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- Standards |
- Resources & Preparation |
- Instructional Plan |
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This lesson provides a platform in which students can critically analyze popular television programs. The media has a huge effect on popular culture. Television programs underscore stereotypes of various groups of people. By looking at the media critically, students develop an awareness of the messages that are portrayed through the media.
From Theory to Practice
- TV is a powerful source of social learning that shapes attitudes, social and consumer behaviors, and people's worldviews. The critical study of televisual texts, therefore, remains an important component of a critical literacy program.
- The teaching on analytic skills aims to develop new strategies for thinking about the meanings media transmit and the meanings viewers construct for themselves.
- The study of TV and other mass media, new interactive media, and popular culture is important not only because of their profound influence and pervasiveness, but because of the ways that media easily become "naturalised."
- The world of the adolescent cannot be understood without considering the profound influence of the mass media.
- Media literacy can empower youth to be positive contributors to society, to challenge cynicism and apathy, and to serve as agents of social change.
- In ignoring advertising, TV, movies, video games, and contemporary music, we are in fact ignoring a significant part of the nature and needs of our students.
Children have vast amounts of information thrust upon them, much of it from media sources, much of it verbal or written, much of it visual, much of it manipulative. It is the child's task to make sense of it all, to construct reality from this information.
Common Core Standards
This resource has been aligned to the Common Core State Standards for states in which they have been adopted. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, CCSS alignments are forthcoming.
This lesson has been aligned to standards in the following states. If a state does not appear in the drop-down, standard alignments are not currently available for that state.
NCTE/IRA National Standards for the English Language Arts
- 1. Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States and the world; to acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classic and contemporary works.
- 2. Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience.
- 3. Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other readers and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and of other texts, their word identification strategies, and their understanding of textual features (e.g., sound-letter correspondence, sentence structure, context, graphics).
- 4. Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
- 5. Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.
- 6. Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
- 7. Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience.
- 8. Students use a variety of technological and information resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.
- 11. Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities.
- 12. Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of information).
Materials and Technology
Videotape of popular sitcom from television
- Analyze portrayals of different groups of people in the media
- Investigate social values presented in the media
- Analyze portrayals of teenagers in the media
- Identify stereotypes presented through the media
- Investigate television's influence on personal and societal values
Use the following guiding questions to help generate a discussion about media literacy:
- What is the media?
- How does the media make you feel?
- Has any information you received from the media ever angered you? Made you feel really good?
- Do you feel represented in the media (i.e., race, sex, age, talents, strengths, weaknesses, background, ethnicity)?
- Who is visible and who is invisible within the media?
- Are there certain issues or groups of people represented more often than others in the media? Why do you think this is the case?
- Do you think the media stereotypes certain people? Who? How?
During class, view the videotape of a popular television program. Model the media observation activity by stopping the video to discuss various components of the activity included on the activity sheet.
Give students the Media Observation sheet. For homework, have students view a television program and complete the questions on the observation sheet.
Discuss the findings from the students' media observation activity. Rate programs that students viewed on a scale of 1-3.
3 = realistic
2 = somewhat realistic
1 = unrealistic
Give students the Media Awareness Scavenger Hunt sheet. Students should complete activity items 1-12 by logging on to the media awareness website using the Web address provided on the activity sheet.
For homework, have students complete the writing activity at the bottom of the Scavenger Hunt sheet.
- Students share the TV programs they developed with the class
- Students perform skits based on the TV programs they developed
Student Assessment / Reflections
- Student participation in discussions
- Student participation in activities
- Media observation activity
- Scavenger hunt activity