Sunday, March 14, 2004
Students learn how media can massage message
Students learn how media can massage message: "State education officials are hoping more students will get lessons like this one by requiring for the first time that public schools teach pupils to be savvy viewers of television news, commercials, movies, music videos and other media.

Under Georgia's proposed revised curriculum, which the State Board of Education is expected to vote on in June, all students would be expected to demonstrate mastery of 'viewing' in their English classes, along with traditional skills like reading, writing, speaking and listening.

"When our students go home from school, they watch TV, they rent movies, they play video games, they surf the Internet — they live in a world of visual text," said Gerald Boyd, associate director of curriculum and instructional services for the Georgia Department of Education.

"But . . . students don't have the discernment skills for visual text," Boyd said. "That's what we're trying to give them with these standards."

The state has never had such requirements before, but Gwinnett County, which has Georgia's largest public school system, has used similar standards since 1996.

As early as next year, sixth-graders throughout the state could be expected to identify propaganda in television commercials or explain the appeal of a popular television show like "American Idol." Eighth-graders may be asked to interpret how news photographers influence people's opinions, and high school sophomores might be expected to analyze NBC's coverage of the Iraq war vs. that of Fox News.

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