Media Analysis Reflection
One of the English electives that I decided to take during my senior year of high school was Media Analysis. A unit from this class that I enjoyed was the demographics unit. An important takeaway was that the way certain groups are portrayed in the media is important to cover in this class. Students learned that often times characters are based on social norms and that those stereotypes should not define all people in that group.
Before taking media analysis, I had a preconceived conception that it was a blow off class. I was told by students that had taken the class in previous years that you just watched tv shows and movies. Even teachers said that was what happened in the class, while in reality it only happened about one or two weeks of the whole semester. In order for future students to understand what they signed up for, teachers describing the senior electives should give a more accurate description of the class. They should tell the students that there is a significant amount of writing, in-class essays, and that the content is often changing.
A part of the course that I feel we could do without is the fake news unit. There was an immense emphasis on the difference between fake news, misinformation, and journalistic error. I understand that during the time, this was a large conversation in society, but I feel like the distinction between these terms was not very helpful. Instead of teaching students the difference between these words, I think there should be a unit about reputable sources and how to find them. Something else that I think needs work is the homework quizzes. For homework quizzes on videos that we watched at home, the fill-in-the-blank questions are too specific on insignificant facts, rather than the big ideas. The test is on a few facts within a video full of them. If you get the question wrong, you will be told that you did not watch the video closely enough, and that it should have been an easy 100%.
A message that I would give to juniors thinking about taking this class is that it is most likely not the class that you expected. The majority of the content that the class focused on was never described while choosing electives. You do not watch movies and tv shows all semester. There is a lot of writing in this class. I was looking forward to having a pretty easy last semester of high school, and this class gave me the most homework out of all of the classes that I was in. There was a lot of reading and annotating articles and sometimes watching videos that were twenty minutes for homework. Because this class is constantly changing, there is also be a lack of consistency with how you are graded. For example, during the ad unit, you will have to make an ad with a partner about a product given to you at random. Some ads will get torn apart for having an image not take up the whole screen, while others will be commended for the same framing. The colors used will cost you points if the teacher personally doesn’t like them. Basically, there is often not a rubric that you can follow to get a good grade. If you are a student who wants grades to be based on certain requirements on a rubric that are not up for debate, this class is not for you.
In regards to the idea of a year-long English course that would mix Media Analysis and Advanced Composition, I think that many students would not sign up for it. Senior year English electives being semester long classes allows for seniors to try different classes and discover which aspects of English that they enjoy most. This gives the seniors more freedom in the content that they take in, as well as the fact that it does not lock them into a class that they end up hating for a whole year. Also, the class that is described would for the most part have the same content of classes that already exist. Instead of taking this new class, students will just take the two semester long classes because it would limit the content that they have to take in at once. During one semester, they can focus on media, and the next, they can focus on advanced composition. Introducing a completely new class with significantly different content than other classes would be a better option.