The article, “Analyzing popular media texts in the classroom,” can be best categorized as a qualitative study because of the fact that it consists of human theory and it is objective in nature. It also can be identified as a textual analysis because it describes and interprets the characteristics of a message.
Like the title suggests this report was done in many classrooms within the years of kindergarten through twelfth grade and it was conducted by teachers who practice media literacy. The main point they are trying to convey is that by relating daily assignments in the classroom with the use of popular films, magazines, television programs, and music lyrics, teachers are able to spawn deep conversations and remarkable writing from their students.
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This report is Renee Hobb’s study of using media text in their classroom. She used the television show “The Simpsons” and compared it with some of the works of Mark Twain. She realized that many of her students had a great interest and extensive background knowledge about “The Simpsons,” and that most of them were able to describe the characters, plot lines and other controversies within the show. Taking advantage of this, she used specific areas to relate the two sources.
An example of one area she used was social criticism. In many episodes of “The Simpsons” the same targets of humour are used, which she helped her students to understand and analyze them in each instance. Some of these were corporate greed and power, human stupidity and laziness, and hypocritical behaviour of government officials. Next, they looked at Mark Twain’s work and how he used targets also to relay his message.
Some of his were women’s rights, the jury system, and lobbying and bribery in Washington. Moreover, the students learned that just as “The Simpsons” might be a questionable text in the classrooms of today; some of Mark Twain’s works were regarded as unsuitable material in the schools of his day. By further comparisons of the two materials, the students were able to relate them and gain an understanding of the literature of Mark Twain, which was the teacher’s goal. Overall, Hobb’s was very successful in building the connection between a popular culture source and an important piece of American literature.
From reading this article I have discovered that this method of getting students to apply their minds to the analysis of media text can be very successful. It worked in this specific example and has worked in many other situations. I also learned that there is much more thought and meaning that goes into the writing of “The Simpsons,” than I ever knew of. This makes me wonder how many other programs on television, especially cartoons, actually have deeper underlying messages and themes conveyed in their writing and overall arrangement.
In conclusion, this study has actually taught me many things. First of all, I plan on using this method of comparison of popular media with literature in my own assignments here in college. I think that because of my understanding of recent media texts I will be able to apply it to not only English assignments, but to other class projects as well. I can see how I will be able to look at American history and learn from it cause of some of my knowledge and understanding of the text today.
I think that I will be able to get a better sense of what early authors are trying to convey in their messages. Also, I will now be able to use this method of teaching in-class presentations and other peer projects because I know of its effectiveness. Now that I am aware of it, I will probably even start looking for the deeper meaning in movies and TV shows so I can fully understand their message. On the whole, this was a good study and I am glad that I picked this article.
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