Should Media Come Under English Or Creative Arts?

Traditionally literacy could be defined as the ability to decode, understand and communicate in print. As the world evolves and electronic media usurps print as the dominant format, there is an essential need to be media literate.

Understanding how to access, analyse, evaluate and create in a wide variety of media modes is essential in order to be functionally literate. So where does the responsibility lie within the curriculum?

Let’s first look at the relationship between media studies and media literacy. Media Studies is the organised study of media, whereas media literacy is the outcome – the skill of experiencing, analysing and making media products.

Creative Arts best bring together multi-disciplinary forms of creative expression and so surely, multi-media production must lie within this faculty? But in order to produce content, students need to understand how media conveys ideas, informs, entertains and persuades.

Before creating content, media education should encourage students to probe the world of media. What is the message, who is it for and why? Skills of critical analysis may best be learned through inquiry-based classes such as English, rather than from creating and producing one’s own media.

Surely critical thinking skills must be a key educational priority. If students learn to ask the right questions the result will be a lifelong empowerment of the learner and the citizen. Media literacy is about understanding that media is constructed to convey ideas, and therefore we need to be able to identify the techniques and conventions that are used to influence and inform.

But, back to traditional print literacy. We wouldn’t describe someone as literate if they could only read but not write. The two go hand in hand, the ‘doing’ is an essential part of being literate. We might not all be film makers but we should not have a passive relationship to media - creating multi-media texts, visual, sound and print is an essential skill in order to be media literate.

So, should media be seen as a cross-curricular discipline drawing for example on social sciences and the humanities, as well as English and the arts? And let’s not forget the question of how does media sit under the umbrella of the IT department?

Or is media just an expanded conceptualization of literacy? I look forward to your comments.

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Many thanks for you patience.
Kind regards,
Mike - Media4ed.

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