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How Classroom Teachers Approach Transgression in Media Production Classrooms

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A paper presentation at the National Communication Association, November 10, 2016.

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How Classroom Teachers Approach Transgression in Media Production Classrooms

  1. 1. How Classroom Teachers Approach Transgression in Media Production Classrooms Renee Hobbs Professor, Department of Communication Studies Director, Media Education Lab Harrington School of Communication and Media University of Rhode Island USA Email: hobbs@uri.edu Twitter: @reneehobbs Web: http://mediaeducationlab.com #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  2. 2. Media literacy education alters power relations between students and teachers #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  3. 3. #NCA16 @reneehobbs Students are positioned as self-directed, independent learners who, with appropriate guidance and support from mentors, create media as a natural part of the learning process. (Haines and Campbell, 2016) Changing Role of the EDUCATOR
  4. 4. #NCA16 @reneehobbs HOMAGO in the INFORMAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT Some in-depth studies of participatory culture do include “thick description” of transgressive incidents, but the overall focus is on the positive outcomes and involvements of the media work, as if the transgressions were exceptions or “hazards” that “go with territory” rather than a near inevitability borne of developmental and discursive power struggles.
  5. 5. #NCA16 @reneehobbs POWER DYNAMICS IN FORMAL EDUCATION ENVIRONMENTS Inversions of gender and power in student media production can be seen as particularly transgressive in the context of school culture. (Saxton, 2007)
  6. 6. #NCA16 @reneehobbs Buckingham, D & Sefton-Green, J. (1994). Cultural Studies Goes to School. London: Routledge.
  7. 7. #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  8. 8. Writing, art and media teachers experience transgression most intensely because they ask students to reveal their hearts and minds. (Duncum, 2009) #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  9. 9. Creating with digital video involves a process of messy engagement (Hobbs & Moore, 2013) #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  10. 10. What kinds of student transgression have high school video production teachers experienced? How do they interpret it? #NCA16 @reneehobbs Research Question
  11. 11. SAMPLE & METHODS • Susanne, experienced HS video production teacher at a racially- diverse working class public HS, Michigan • Bob, experienced HS video production teacher of upper- middle class suburban Caucasian students, Rhode Island • Louise, experienced HS video production teacher, largely Hispanic urban public charter HS, Rhode Island • James, 1st year HS teacher working in an urban alternative school with largely African- American students, Pennsylvania #NCA16 @reneehobbs E-interviews  How have you handled particular situations where students engaged in inappropriate behavior or produced inappropriate video content?  Can you describe a situation that you handled "well"?  Can you describe a situation that you handled "poorly"?  Give examples of inappropriate behavior or student-created media content  Explain why students engaged in this behavior or created this content
  12. 12. Types of Transgression #NCA16 @reneehobbs Content: aggressive humor, reference humor, bullying, cursing, nudity, depictions of sexual behavior, gang signs, violence, depictions of drug use, immoral values or behavior Format: explicit lyrics in songs, imitation of conspiracy videos and horror genres, blurring of fiction and non-fiction, copyright infringement Production Process: interpersonal conflicts, freedom of movement that creates lack of accountability, inappropriate social interaction with adults, recording in an area without permission, recording people without permission, interrupting or altering flow of school activities by recording Distribution: disruptive audience behavior while viewing video, displaying or airing inappropriate content, airing content not approved by teacher, making production or performance errors that are visible to the whole school community
  13. 13. How Teachers Interpret Transgression in Student Video Production 1. A Dimension of Creative Freedom 2. Rooted in the Reproduction of Mass Media and Popular Culture 3. Novices Making Mistakes 4. Playing to Peer Audiences 5. Challenging School & Social Norms #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  14. 14. a Dimension of Creative Freedom I nudge them toward positive topics and socially beneficial ways to create fiction and non-fiction work, but I'm also pleased when they complete a project that's more for them, including what I think a lot of educators might consider "inappropriate" -- creating songs (or using songs or videos) with cursing, glorification of drugs and violence, etc. For instance, a student might use an explicit song or video to talk about how much they like the song, without providing any particular critique of the content. Or they might create a song or rap that employs "inappropriate" material. -James #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  15. 15. Rooted in the Reproduction of Pop Culture Given they see this content and behavior on television and digital media its engrained into their culture, thus they don't consider it inappropriate. This is a challenge but generally students understand reasoning but occasionally they don't consider some of the content inappropriate. This translates into many classroom discussions as to what is considered inappropriate and to whom. -Bob #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  16. 16. Novices Make Mistakes They are under the age of 18 and are learning. They make mistakes as they go along. Mistakes are part of the learning process. Sometimes the mistakes my students make may bother other teachers, but they don't bother me. The video production classes are like fishbowls. Every teacher is able to see into the bowl when a video airs. Those teachers, however, get to close their doors and teach and the mistakes they or their students make are never visible to the rest of us. -Susanne #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  17. 17. Playing to Peer Audiences I was an instructor at a week-long film camp for teens, where youth filmmakers would have a week to complete a film. Students politely listened to my suggestions and proceeded to use the week to create scenes of darkly comic violence that would never be allowable in a public school setting. Parents were at times noticeably uncomfortable at the film fest which took place at the end of the week, but I was generally happy with the results. -Louise #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  18. 18. Challenging School & Social Norms No one has ever tried and I have never had to censor the following content that I would find inappropriate: sexualized nudity, story or dialog that wantonly infringes on the rights of others or is otherwise insensitive to any person or groups. We did have to censor a student who, being a teenager, thought provoking the establishment (us grown- ups) with references to blow jobs would be way cool. It was fine for his Capstone film, but my principal asked these references be removed for the final awards presentation due to children being in the audience. -Louise #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  19. 19. #NCA16 @reneehobbs What are the implications for communication education?
  20. 20. #NCA16 @reneehobbs “What is our topic?” “How do I get started?” “What is the length & style?” “Where will it be screened?” “How do I get an A?”
  21. 21. FORMAT CONTENT DISTRIBUTION PROCESS #NCA16 @reneehobbs
  22. 22. FORMAT CONTENT DISTRIBUTION PROCESS Teachers Structure Learning Experiences using a Balance of Creative Freedom & Creative Control #NCA16 @reneehobbs NEGOTIATION
  23. 23. New Questions #NCA16 @reneehobbs What are core values of teachers who negotiate a balance between creative freedom and creative control? How does the assignment structure and the assessment paradigm shape students’ experience of creative freedom and creative control? How should communication educators best learn to navigate this balance?
  24. 24. HYPOTHESIS: Learners benefit from a balance of both creative control and creative freedom HYPOTHESIS: Transgression is a learning mechanism through which students navigate the balance
  25. 25. Renee Hobbs Professor, Department of Communication Studies Director, Media Education Lab Harrington School of Communication and Media University of Rhode Island USA Email: hobbs@uri.edu Twitter: @reneehobbs Web: http://mediaeducationlab.com #NCA16 @reneehobbs

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