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What Would Ken Barlow Do? | Nick Belger has an idea...

What Would Ken Barlow Do? | Nick Belger has an idea...

Week Two is over!

* Does collective fist bump to all Media Edutistas out there *

The burning question right now for all Media (and English teachers) is:

Have we got the Christmas Do boxed off?’ Yes it’s only the middle of September but if we leave it to Bernard again, well look what happened last year. I’m not sure the works canteen of the old folks’ home is entirely suitable even if their Rita does work there and can get us 2-for-1s on the Lambrini cocktails.’

Once that is sorted, we can all apply ourselves to the second burning issue:

THE FOUR KEY SKILLS OF THE APOCALYPSE

To new and inexperienced Media Studies teachers, the four key skills of the Media curriculum can appear a little daunting at times in terms of their sheer bulk and downright wordiness.

Some of our exam boards have managed to convey the importance of these four principles in a fairly straightforward manner. Perusal of the wording of others can be more taxing, at times perhaps leaving you feeling you’ve signed your pupils up for an A Level curriculum by mistake. DO NOT FEAR.

THEY’RE NOT THAT COMPLEX.

YOU WILL BE ABLE TO WALK THE PUPILS THROUGH THEM SOONER RATHER THAN LATER.

THEY JUST SOUND A BIT STUFFY AT FIRST.

The four keys skills (or theoretical frameworks) are, in theory, the building blocks of Media knowledge. Bearing in mind that we are very likely to have some ‘last minute of the transfer-window’ kids in our classes, the idea of starting with an introduction about these concepts is actually sensible and reassuring for all involved.

This week Skill One

MEDIA LANGUAGE – (The Ken Barlow One)

We all know Ken is a wordsmith of the highest order. He loves language and has spent fifty years bamboozling the local in the Rovers with his finely tuned phrases and erudite ruminations. While some may find him annoying, I love him. He creates a sense of knowledge and a sense of clarity when he talks. He makes things understandable. My hair is also starting to resemble his but that’s another story.

Media Language is to do with the vocabulary used to explain concepts, ideas and theories. There will be some basics that you really need to get to grips with early on and then there will be some more sophisticated sounding concepts that are actually never that hard, they just seem hard at first.

So you need to furnish yourselves with basic glossaries but distinguish the essential from the slightly incomprehensible for now. You need to be getting the pupils engaging with terms such: denotation and connotation, genre, diagetic and non-diagetic sound, enigma, equilibrium, mise-en-scene, USP, opposites, contexts, images, demographics, platforms, products, narratives, regulation and stereotypes. These are the store-cupboard ingredients for Media Studies GCSE and your Edusites subscription will furnish you with these basics.

Start to think about the notion of semiotics as soon as you can. In Media, this will become an invaluable tool. Daniel Chandler’s 2009 piece on Edusites Media is also worth dipping into.

Research the definitions, discuss them with the class. See if you can prod them into offering some examples. Spend some time coming up with relevant images from current media and draw their associations/thoughts/feelings out. As uncomfortable as looking at images from storm-ridden North and South Carolina might be, use them and see what ideas they pupils throw back.

Get them talking about real life things.

That’s what Ken would do at Weatherfield Comp.

What Would Ken Barlow Do? | Nick Belger has an idea...

So…

We have our classrooms.

We have our pupils.

We have our exam boards.

Now we just have to do some other stuff……