'Writing' media : an investigation of practical production in media education by secondary school students
Chapter 1 provides an historical analysis of the role of practical production in media education in England. It discusses its varied educational aims. The need to consider practical work as a form of writing is advanced. Traditional notions of media education have possessed few theories of language and learning and have failed to conceptualise a relationship between critical understanding and making media. Discussion of 'media literacy' and 'visual literacy' is followed by an exploration of models of the writing process and the limits of the metaphor of literacy when applied to forms of media production. Selective accounts of theories of writing instruction (drawing upon models of the writing process), conclude that there are problems with the metaphor of media literacy. By contrast Cultural Studies has conceptualised creative productions by young people in terms that evoke notions of the written. The central research question is formulated in Chapter 2: what sense can we make of media production using theories of writing; and thus by implication what change to such theories might be made using data drawn from educational research on media production? In Chapter 3 discussion of methodological questions draws attention to two traditions: Cultural Studies work on media audiences. and classroom based action research. Different methods of textual analysis are applied to media productions by young people in the next four chapters (4-7) within the specific histories of several classrooms in North London schools. Drawing together the argument of these case studies Chapter 8 describes findings from the research and discusses five key themes: the relationship between reading and writing, or media consumption and production; the role of genre and production technologies; the concepts of level and audience; the role of meta-language within the production process; and the pedagogic implications of the study. Finally the thesis suggests the need to develop a social theory of writing.