CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF MEDIA EDUCATION ORGANIZATIONS

 

 


SUBMISSIONS TO THE CANADIAN RADIO AND TELEVISION COMMISSION SEPTEMBER 25, 1995

CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR MEDIA EDUCATION
Dan Blake, President
dblake1944@gmail.com

Thank you for the opportunity to make this presentation. I would like to begin by telling you about myself and the organization I represent.

My name is Dan Blake. I am a high school teacher in Surrey. I teach English and Journalism to students in grades eight through twelve.

I am president of the Canadian Association for Media Education. C.A.M.E. was formed by a group of teachers and media professionals and was incorporated as non-profit society in August 1991. We have about one hundred members, mostly in the Lower Mainland. Our membership includes representatives from the National Film Board, The Knowledge Network, Pacific Cinematheque, I.D.E.R.A., MediaWatch, and Adbusters.

We are affiliated with other provincial media education organizations through the Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations (C.A.M.E.O.)

Our objectives are:

  • to educate Canadians about the media:
  • to promote media education
  • to encourage Canadian cultural expression in the media
I would like to mention some of the activities that we have been engaged in recently. In the fall of 1993 we hosted three forums: Kids and TV: How to Cope?; TV Advertising: The Bottom Line; and, TV News: Who Decides, and How?. The panelist for the forums were prominent members of the academic, media, and business community. We collaborated with the Vancouver Film Festival to promote the Dream Matinee Series.

In the Spring of 1994 we signed a contract with the Ministry of Education to produce a Conceptual Framework for Media Education. A copy of the framework document is in your package. The framework was made available to the curriculum review committees that began meeting in the fall of '94 with instructions to incorporate suggestions for media education into all curriculum areas. This work is ongoing. C.A.M.E. also produced a Resource Sampler with information and teaching strategies to help teachers get started in media education. We are currently working on our second Resource Sampler.

C.A.M.E has collaborated with various groups to bring prominent speakers such as John Pungente, S.J. , Len Masterman, and George Gerbner to Vancouver to speak to parents and teachers. In the summer of '94 C.A.M.E. members were involved in organizing a two week summer institute for teachers wishing to get started in media education. This summer S.F.U. offered its first credit course in media education. The course was very successful and S.F.U. plans to offer it again next year.

In October of '94 C.A.M.E. was a co-sponsor of a teleconference on Violence in the Media.

Discussion.

This brings me to the reason for attending this hearing. Research suggests that it is probably impossible to establish a direct causal connection between specific acts of violence as seen on television and similar acts performed by individuals On the other hand nobody would deny that TV affects people. What is not clear is what is the nature of the effect of TV and how does it work.

To begin to understand these questions we need to know something about how video/film is made. In media education we talk about codes and conventions. Please bear with me if this seems overly simplistic to you. A close up shot of a face is used to evoke a particular emotional response: joy, sadness, pity, fear and so on. We know this works. Children know it works too, but, it is unlikely that they have ever considered why. This is but one small example of a convention employed by cinematographers and directors.Understanding why we feel certain emotions allows us to control them. It also enhances our understanding and appreciation of the creator of the film/video.

C.A.M.E. believes that helping young people understand how the media work ( and particularly TV) will help them deal more effectively with how the media affects them. We believe that this knowledge and understanding can be taught and we further believe that school is the appropriate place to do it.

Our lives are saturated with media images. Much of our understanding of the world comes to us through television. It is imperative that we learn to "read' it in much the same way that we would say that it is imperative to learn to read books.

C.A.M.E. believes that the question of the effects of violence in the media has to be seen as part of the larger question of the effects of the media on our whole life. That is not to say that there isn't a place for the 'V' chip and other devices that control access to programmes that contains gratuitous violence. There is. By the same token there is a need for regulation; either self regulation or government imposed guidelines. And, of course, as educators, we heartily endorse the idea of parents taking a more active role in monitoring what their children watch on television. But violence, gratuitous or otherwise, exist within a context: economic, social , political, and educational. For young people to learn to deal with depictions of violence they must learn to understand the part it plays in all of these contexts.

C.A.M.E. believes that media education offers the possibility to begin this process. We urge you support initiatives at all levels that help parents, teachers and schools begin to implement education about the media in the schools. The government of Ontario has mandated media education at the secondary as part of the English curriculum. Alberta and Saskatchewan have also taken a number of initiatives to get media education into the classroom. Here in B.C., as I indicated earlier, the government has begun the process of integrating media education into all curriculum areas and for all ages.

But there is still a long way to go. Out of 40,000 teachers in B.C. barely a couple of hundred have any experience of teaching about the media. We need pre-service courses for teachers-in-training and in-service for those already teaching. We need teaching resources. Most of all we need a firm commitment from all levels of government to support an educational system that teaches children to understand the part that the media play in constructing the world in which we live.

Thank you for the opportunity to address you. I wish you well in the task that you have undertaken.


Addendum

The Canadian Association for Media Education ( C.A.M.E. ) was formed by a group of teachers and media professionals and was incorporated as non-profit society in August 1991. We have about one hundred members, mostly in the Lower Mainland. Our membership includes representatives from the National Film Board, The Knowledge Network, Pacific Cinematheque, I.D.E.R.A., MediaWatch, and Adbusters. Although most of our member are classroom teachers we also have members in the universities and colleges. We are affiliated with other provincial media education organizations through the Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations (C.A.M.E.O.) Our objectives are:

In the fall of 1993 we hosted three forums: Kids and TV: How to Cope?; TV Advertising: The Bottom Line; and, TV News: Who Decides, and How?. The panelist for the forums were prominent members of the academic, media, and business community. We collaborated with the Vancouver Film Festival to promote the Dream Matinee Series.

In the Spring of 1994 we signed a contract with the Ministry of Education to produce a Conceptual Framework for Media Education. A copy of the framework document is in your package. The framework was made available to the curriculum review committees that began meeting in the fall of '94 with instructions to incorporate suggestions for media education into all curriculum areas. This work is ongoing. C.A.M.E. also produced a Resource Sampler with information and teaching strategies to help teachers get started in media education. We are currently working on our second Resource Sampler.

C.A.M.E has collaborated with various groups to bring prominent speakers such as John Pungente, S.J. , Len Masterman, and George Gerbner to Vancouver to speak to parents and teachers. In the summer of '94 C.A.M.E. members were involved in organizing a two week summer institute for teachers wishing to get started in media education. The presenter was John Pungente. This summer Simon Fraser University offered its first credit course in media education. The course was very successful and S.F.U. plans to offer it again next year.

In October of '94 C.A.M.E. was a co-sponsor of a teleconference on Violence in the Media. Other highlights include collaborating with the Global Education Project (B.C.T.F.) to produce units on images of media and development.; a forum on new directions in library services in world of cyberspace; and bringing Geoff Pevere to Surrey for their annual convention in March '95.

 


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