Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Professional Practice in Media Studies

This week's post comes from Katharine Rogers, English and Geography Teacher.

Students in Grade 11 media studies participate in both the analysis and creation of many forms of media. Most recently, they have been working to develop their skills in review writing as a method of analysing television shows, documentaries, and feature films. As a number of the students in the course are interested in pursuing careers in related fields, it is important that the assessment process reflects the reality of the industry.

First drafts of written content are rarely published; as such, first drafts of written reviews in this class are not assigned a final grade. Instead, I provide the students with a temporary grade and ample feedback on their work. I then return the reviews to them, and provide them with the opportunity to revise their work up to four times. Students are required to complete at least one revision, but the others – all assessed by me for temporary grades – are optional. Students can track the improvement in their writing in a measurable way between drafts, which gives them ownership over their learning and revision process.

During the most recent revision stage, some students focused on the depth of their analysis, while others revisited the structure of written reviews. Feedback was completely personalized, and students were given up to three weeks to complete their revisions. They appreciated the opportunity to self-pace; some finished all revisions within the first week, while others used the full time allotted. In all cases, the students chose to revise their work at least three times.

Currently, media studies students are researching influential film directors, and will soon be asked to analyse and review a selection of their feature films. Students will have the opportunity to decide whether they’d like to stick with traditional review writing in order to further develop their skills in this area, or move on to the more challenging comparative review as an enrichment option. They will also have the opportunity to select their preferred method of delivery for this task; product options include written reviews, podcasts, videos, etc.

Once the students complete the first draft of their film reviews, they will move on to the second stage of development in their editing process. Now that they have been through a full editing cycle with me at the helm, they will apply the skills learned to critiquing the work of their peers. Students will work in groups of three, and will be permitted to submit their drafts for peer feedback up to four times. They will use this feedback and support to revise their work, and to determine when it is fit for final submission. This process will enable students to self-pace during the review cycle, and will help them to make mature, informed decisions about their own levels of readiness.

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