The Ventura County Star is a superb newspaper, and
the three Pulse articles published on Sunday July 9, 2000, on using
movies in the classroom were extremely pertinent.
Regrettably, however, none of these articles addressed
any of the serious academic issues involved in the area of media
literacy and cognitive development theory. Each article addressed the
subject as if they were the first to deal with the question of using
movies in the classroom.
Not so. When I was the director of the TV Center at
City University of New York, in the late 1970s, I was doing research in
this area for an Annenberg Institute Program at Temple University, and
there were already thousands of studies on how to equip students to be
media literate and the influence of the mass media in different stages
of cognitive development. The National Institute of Mental Health had
gathered many of these studies. Renowned media researcher Robert Morse
had shown definitively that the very medium of television caused
cognitive dissidence and could aggravate Attention Deficit Disorder.
Courses such as Television Awareness Training, Growing
with Television and exhaustive film studies programs at major
universities clearly showed at that time how to help children to be
media literate and how to use the media effectively in the classroom.
Harvard, among many others, became a leader in these areas. City
University of New York’s Sunrise Semester, which had been broadcasting
since the 1940s, had solved many of the problems with distant learning.
By the late 1970s, media literacy courses had been taught in many
Western European countries for many years partly in reaction to the
overpowering presence of Hollywood movies, television and music. Soon
after I retired from C.U.N.Y, the State of New Mexico decided to
institute media literacy classes throughout the state.
Given that all this was available in the late 1970s,
one wonders why the Pulse articles by practicing teachers in the July 9
edition of The Star seem to have no awareness of the 50 years of
theory, practice and research which would answer many of the questions
and issues that the articles raised. This means either that the media
literacy education establishment has not gotten the word out (a
disappointment to those of us who have been involved for over 30 years),
or that California schools have not bothered to adequately equip their
teachers in this area. In either case, this is a defect which must be
Children, especially teenagers, are the largest
consumers of the mass media and entertainment. They are more at home in
virtual neighborhoods, communicating by email with someone thousands of
miles away, than they are with their next-door neighbors. Schools and
teachers need to be equipped to deal with media literacy during each
stage of our children’s cognitive development.
One could only hope that by addressing these issues in
depth, future articles in The Star will encourage California
schools to do just that.
DR. JOHN ANKERBERG'S RESPONSE TO CREATION QUESTIONS
Dr. John Ankerberg answers your
questions on creation in the following article available both as
a downloadable PDF and broken down into individual questions for
online reading. Click the link below to read: