Graduate Research Papers


Open Access Graduate Research Paper


Media literacy--Study and teaching;


Seven years later, I stood before high school students in Ames, Iowa, with the proposition that we study media as a collection of cultural artifacts. Behind many of our discussions was the assumption that media convey values and that these values influence our personal values. What was missing from my instruction was an organizational structure that would help students see the necessary patterns, methods and stereotypes in order to better comprehend the values in these messages.

After a summer of contemplation, I decided thematic instruction would most naturally allow us to examine important media while capstoning themes from the required classes in the ninth and tenth grades. I began revisioning the curriculum around these themes: Schools and Learning; Friends and Family; Men, Women and Society; Taking a Stand: A Look at Heroism. I hoped that students could more easily see patterns in media if we narrowed them into thematic categories. In this way, students could have a definite purpose as they looked for the patterns, methods and stereotypes in the media around us.

But my desires in refining the curriculum went beyond the comprehension level. I also wanted my students to build skills which would help them negotiate and participate in various messages in our media-rich environment. In addition to refining the curriculum, I also wanted to measure my students' growth in literacy. This paper describes my attempts to refine the course and measure student literacy growth.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Richard H. Fehlman


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Date Original


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