Media concepts and cultures: progressing learning from and for everyday life
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Powell, M. (2014) Media concepts and cultures: progressing learning from and for everyday life, , , , pp. 55-68,
This chapter draws on data from a three-year ESRC funded research project based at the Institute of Education, University of London, titled Developing Media Literacy: Towards a model of learning progression (2009-2012) and led by Professors David Buckingham and Andrew Burn. The two researchers on the project were Dr Mandy Powell and Dr Becky Parry. Working with learners from the ages of 5 to 16 in locations with contrasting socio-economic and geographic profiles in the UK, the project brought learners' and teachers' media cultures into dialogue with formal media and cultural studies concepts to develop media literacies. The project drew upon Bruner's idea of a spiral curriculum and mapped learning cross-sectionally and longitudinally. Such an approach raised questions about the organisation of learning in ages and stages. More significantly, perhaps, teaching for conceptual understanding enabled a dialectic between learners' popular media cultures and the formal curriculum to develop. The research findings suggest that the cultural, creative and critical challenge generated by the dialectic has the potential to progress the intellectual development of all learners n the context of formal schooling. When teachers focus on disciplinary concepts and the relationship between them rather than facts, learners can be located more centrally in the topic and identify what counts as meaningful progress for each learner. However, this may not always correspond with what counts for teachers but by maintaining a pedagogy of inquiry teachers and learners can navigate social, cultural and educational orthodoxies and challenge received wisdoms. The research findings suggest than an explicit and visible focus on locating a desirable exchange value in both out-of-school and in-school practices and experiences is a complex and contentious process but crucial to the progression of meaningful learning for all.