The last in a four part series on Understanding the English Curriculum, this blog focuses on the Media Studies strand of the English program. According to the curriculum documents, Media Studies is the “art, meaning, and messaging of various forms of media texts”, and media texts are any “work, object or event that communicates meaning to an audience”. Media Studies requires students to analyze the construction of media through the ‘languages’ of images, sounds, graphics and words. Students explore the impact and influence of mass media and popular culture by examining texts such as songs, ads, clothing, billboards, films, magazines, photos, blogs, etc.
These days, electronic and digital media surround us and it has become increasingly important for students to understand the implicit and explicit messages that are communicated by a plethora of mass media. The development of critical thinking skills and the ability to recognize, analyze and assess the impact of media messages is particularly relevant today. The Media Studies strand of the curriculum encourages students to think about how media texts are constructed and why they are produced. It is intended to foster in students the skills to “differentiate between fact and opinion, evaluate the credibility of sources, recognize bias”, and be attuned to and critical of discriminatory representations and depictions.
In addition to interpreting and understanding media messages, the Media Studies strand requires students to use these media to communicate ideas and opinions effectively. Students must learn to speak the language of high-tech media and to access the range of information sources available to them, particularly if they are interested in exploring careers in technology, communication or entertainment.
The overall expectations for the Media Studies strand of the English curriculum are as follows:
1. Understanding Media Texts: demonstrate an understanding of a variety of media texts;
2. Understanding Media Forms, Conventions, and Techniques: identify media forms and explain how the conventions and techniques associated with them are used to create meaning;
3. Creating Media Texts: create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques;
4. Reflecting on Skills and Strategies: reflect on and identify their strengths as media interpreters and creators, areas for improvement, and the strategies they found most helpful in understanding and creating media texts.