The Facing-It Phase

As the inoculation strategy proved ineffective, educators chose a new method and media education entered a new stage in the late 1970s: the facing-it phase. In this phase, educators began to use popular mass media to entice students to study other areas of media. In this stage, teachers used hit songs and popular movies to gain the attention of their students before moving to more classical studies (Guo-Ming 2007).

Educator, Bill Walsh, called this the “suck them in approach.” He described the thought process like this:

“OK, class. Now that we’ve heard a song from Bob Dylan, a popular folk singer, let’s see what other people did with the folk genre. Turn to page 222 for a discussion of ancient English madrigals.”

This phase was not only characterized by the use of media as a teaching aid, but a shift in how the media was viewed.  Ideological questions began to arise and students were trained to “cultivate a critical view on mass media” (Guo-Ming 2007).  It was at this time that media education began to actually produce media literacy. Guo-Ming (2007) identified several questions that students studied at this time:

  1. How does the mass media represent “reality”?
  2. Whose reality does mass media represent?
  3. What interests does mass media represent?
  4. How are the programs of the media produced?
  5. What are the meanings of the media programs?
  6. How are these meanings produced?

Questions such as these helped students develop a deeper understanding of what media is, how it is created, and what it means.  It was during this phase that media education became more than just implementing media into the classroom. The facing-it phase marked the beginning of true media literacy education and it lasted until the 1980’s when a new transitional phase began.

References

Guo-Ming, C. (2007). Media (Literacy) Education in the United States. China Media Research, 3(3), 87-103. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.

Walsh, B. (n.d.)  A Brief History of Media Education. Retrieved October 24, 2010, from http://www.medialit.org/reading-room/brief-history-media-education

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