Funes, V.S. (2008) Advertising and consumerism: A space for pedagogical practice. Counterpoints, Mirror Images: Popular Culture and Education 338, 159-177.
Advertising is a powerful weapon; It is a seducer of the masses; A master manipulator that reconstructs realities and coerces the observer into believing they need the products being sold. It is a weapon against which our students have little critical defense. Schools develop reflective and critical attitudes; Schools transmit knowledge onto our students and try to personalize learning. However, many feel the methods and processes used in school are ineffective and old fashioned. How can we turn this around and update our teaching to incorporate this powerful medium in our classrooms?
The philosophy behind Fune's work is intriguing. Though some of the references are dated, and several assumptions/blanket statements are made about teachers and how media is used in public education, the root of the theory is definitely thought provoking. Acknowledging that there is an undeniable gap between the school culture and the media culture in which our students live, and the pedagogical experiences each one creates, is the first step to recognizing the place for advertising as a learning tool in schools. If we accept that students live in a participatory media-rich world and that many students feel they have no place in our current school system, then we can address the existing inconsistency between education systems and the socio-cultural environments in which our students live. As educators we need to dismiss our usual precautionary attitude, and instead work to fuse the two environments together for the betterment of our students.
The teaching and learning process outlined ties together two pertinent issues. It takes the most provocative element of the media culture our students live in and, acknowledging their inability to be critical consumers of that media, offers ways in which the school culture can inform and educate them, while at the same time, forcing educators to question their current techniques and pedagogy. In my role as Literacy/Numeracy Coach I work with teachers from Kindergarten through to Grade 8 and it would be interesting to see how they interpret the objectives of this teaching and learning process. Co-creating a continuum of media/literacy learning and tying it to specific curriculum expectations, along with planning for implementation and designing developmentally relevant activities would definitely be worthy of exploration. Data would need to be gathered to see if and how this approach impacted our students. What measures would we take? Who would our control group be? What parameters would be set and how would achievement gains be measured?
Lastly, I wanted to share a couple of websites I found, that I could potentially use with my teachers.
Media Mash Up In The Classroom