no television

Robyn Starkey rohina at
Wed Jul 23 15:22:29 EDT 2003

>We may have to get a telly again in a few years when the eldest goes to
>high school, because the current Dutch high-school curriculum includes
>*required* viewing. The theory behind that is probably "if you can't
>make them do what's required, require what they're doing anyway" - for
>values of "they" that don't necessarily include everybody.

Speaking as someone who teaches people how to read and write, I would offer 
a more pedagogical and less cynical view of a curriculum which requires 
television and/or movies. That is, in an effort to make students media 
literate, it is nice to teach them how to read texts other than books. For 
the majority of students, who *do* watch at least some television, it can 
be a very valuable exercise to get them to analyse programs that they 
watch, to think about them critically. I always make my composition 
students do some work in watching and reading advertisements, to try to 
decode what the kinds of manipulations that advertisers use. I would argue 
that this kind of instruction is also important for students who don't 
regularly watch tv, because they may not be used to analysing in this 
particular mode, even if they are good critical readers of *books*.

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