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Media - waste of time. Make them do languages.

Discussion in 'Media studies' started by Mister DRH, Mar 9, 2007.

  1. This is a topic that has been bugging me for a while. A lot of children are choosing Media for GCSE instead of doing a Modern Language.

    Very very few of them will ever work in media. Had they chosen French or German, they would have had a skill for life, highly valued by employers.

    The average 14 year old will choose media over languages anyday, but I am convinced that a language provides a more satisfying course and is more highly respected by employers.
  2. This is a topic that has been bugging me for a while. A lot of children are choosing Media for GCSE instead of doing a Modern Language.

    Very very few of them will ever work in media. Had they chosen French or German, they would have had a skill for life, highly valued by employers.

    The average 14 year old will choose media over languages anyday, but I am convinced that a language provides a more satisfying course and is more highly respected by employers.
  3. Thanks for your comments.
    Some of us media teachers have been hearing these kinds of comments for almost 20 years now ....

    Students who opt to take geography, history or drama are not looking to necessarily pursue a career in them, so why should students taking media be under the "job" pressure??? What's GCSE choices got to do with the long term job market?

    Do you have any idea of the skills media studies provide or do you think we spend two years watching disney??

    (Apologies here to all media friends for my uncharacteristic lack of finesse)
  4. it's a common fact that languages (certain ones) are dying out in schools, most schools in Scotland have now opted out of making students study a language as a Standard Grade. I hated laguages at school, i was good at them, was able to do German and Italian but hated doing them and would have choosen media over either of them. This is a subject that these young people are surrounded with on a daily basis, they engage with it, understand it and enjoy it. In my school thi has shown, course options now done... out of a year group of 116... 5 choose a language (which means it won't run)... 48 choose Media Studies.
  5. i would also like to add that Media falls into our Language Faculty (English, Drama, Modern Languages and Media Studies). So in theory... students opting Media are studying a Lanuage... the lanuage of media and gaining a skill in communication.
  6. good one makeitmine
  7. Media studies clearly cannot provide the level of academic rigour and grounding in vocabulary and grammar which a language can. In fact, studying a language can help students to understand English and thus improve their command of their mother tongue.

    A language is a skill for life. Kids easily forget media, geography etc in later life. Believe me, once you know your -er, -ir and -re verb endings you will never forget them.

    My faith in the value of Modern Languages remains intact. Media studies is the easier option for a lot of children. The should be forced to study a language to GCSE to improve their communication skills, willingness to engage with others and to improve their chances on an increasingly international job market.

    Incidentally, University College London has made a GCSE language compulsory for entry from 2012. Most other good universities are expected to follow.

    I'm not knocking Media Studies, I just think that it cannot possibly provide the breadth of academic pleasure which one finds in a language.
  8. MrPuss

    MrPuss New commenter

    I think that the key to your mistaken approach lies in your phrase suggesting that "they" (sic) should "be forced" to do a language rather than some two-bit subject such as Media Studies.

    Doesn't the fact that students in schools are choosing NOT to opt for language GCSEs suggest something to you about a) the nature of the delivery and curricula of MFLs in schools and b)the appeal and breadth of the nature of Media teaching?

    I'm guessing that you work or aspire to work in a grammar school or an independent school? Nothing personal, but you're suggesting a very exclusive model of education. It's not my world!
  9. and the University of Edinburgh requires you have Higher Drama to enter Medience or Law! the fact is young people are bored with languages, if they want to study them then yes it should be there as an option and let them take it but to be honest a lot of students do not think about what they want to do when they leave school when they do their options and if they do it changes every month. You have a case but not at GCSE/Standard Grade level, students who want to follow a career really decide when they are choosing Highers/A level.
  10. Tut tut Mister DRH. You have dared to suggest that a modern foreign language is 'clearly' more academically rigorous than Media Studies. I can assure you that any GCSE student of mine who attempted to offer such an uncompromising assertion without providing evidence to back it up would not pass their Media Studies course - it's not an academically rigorous statement!

    In our crowded media world, the ability to both decode and create media texts is a fundamental life skill. I expect that the average student will make far more use of their media skills (whether to interpret the tabloid press or design eye-catching advertising for their small business) than they ever will of German or Spanish.

    I'm not knocking MFL, I just think that it cannot possibly be as relevant to students future lives and livelihoods as media skills.* In fact, studying the Media can help students to understand that communication is about more than word choice. The media have grammatical codes and modes of address of their own, and students who understand these are better equipped to relate to their entire culture, not just their mother tongue.

    As for your suggestion that it is easy, I teach Year 11 students across the ability spectrum who would laugh in your face if you dared to suggest such a thing, from a stressed-out C/D-grade student who 'never realised it would be so hard' to an A/A* student who told me yesterday that Media is her worst subject; she's currently on a B grade for her coursework.

    As with the entire, increasingly 'personalised' curriculum, it's surely a case of horses for courses. If MFL is not providing an attractive curriculum to 21st century stuidents, then that's a crime, with two solutions. 1) Make the curriculum and its delivery more enticing (without dumbing it down) or 2) do as our school has, which is make a modern foreign language compulsory, and put Media Studies in a different GCSE option block.

    Your arguments suggest that you have not strayed within half a mile of either a well-taught Media Studies class or the GCSE specification. May I humbly encourage you to do so?

    * OK - so I'm teasing. I am appalled by the decline of MFL, and agree with all the arguments you make in its favour. But in blaming Media Studies, you are jumping on a media-fuelled bandwagon created in the tabloid press by media professionals who don't like being held up to such scrutiny. My media students know to interrogate the institutions behind such one-sided messages - it's part of the spec!
  11. As a poster has already stated, languages only become useful, careerwise, when taken at a much higher level (if you don't want to do a degree in languages, it's unlikely you will ever work as a translator etc). It's unrealistic to expect that a GCSE in any modern language with be of much later use other than on holiday. The influence of the media, however, is something that affects us all, everyday, for the rest of our lives. Surely of more use than being able to order a beer in French?
  12. if you are not in Scotland you should check out a curriculum for excellence, type it into a search and it'll come up. this is where scotland is heading... each school creating it's own curriculum to suit the needs of it's pupils.
  13. A recent report stated that Media graduates are highly employable. The link is somewhere on the front page of my website.

    It's also interesting that the top universities consider anything with 'Studies' as a suffix to be a subject of little value and certainly no testament to an individual's intellectual ability.

    Whilst doing my degree in deconstruction at a former polytechnic (I know - you can't get much worse than that) I always wondered why institutions like Oxford and Cambridge failed to accept post-structuralist theories. Why would any bastion of the academic empire want to assimilate a theory that questions its very origins? I know I wouldn't!

    A slight red herring... perhaps. ;)

    I do find it disturbing that MFL tends to have a recruitment crisis and students often complain that it is taught appallingly badly by many providers. Students tends to vote with their feet if they don't enjoy the work they are being asked to engage with and see no value in their terminal grade, if they are lucky enough to secure one.

    Kind regards, Richard
  14. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    Not knocking media studies but the life skills it teaches can be taught through english, maths and science and it needn't be a discipline on its own unless the student intends to specialize in it later.
    On the other hand, you can learn a language in two months if you go backpacking as a young adult and take a few classes along the way. Maybe we shouldn't be forcing students to do a GCSE in one foreign language but instead make languages a part of the wider curriculum. How many non-MFL teachers in your staffroom speak a language other than English or their home language? Probably not too many. So how can you expect the kids to be enthusiastic?
  15. MrPuss

    MrPuss New commenter

    There you go, problem solved - a two week language / work experience package abroad for Year 10s. Why teach the gits in school - send them backpacking!
  16. kemevez

    kemevez Occasional commenter

    Great idea MrPuss. You could use the time they are in school to teach then cynicism and sarcasm.
  17. MrPuss

    MrPuss New commenter

    Not enough time! Simply not enough time!!! It's a fine art requiring patience and hard work :)
  18. Firstly, I would like to point out that I do not work in a Grammar school nor an Independent school. I work in state sector and I received my education in state sector.

    Secondly, I recognise that media is an option on the curriculum does offer students enjoyment and enhanced communication skills. However, it is a 'new funky' subject and the skills it teaches would probably be best taught by English teachers in a language/literature class. By not forcing children to study a modern language and allowing them to choose softer options like media, we are denying them the pleasure of being able to communicate with people from another country, travelling in the Target Language country, become more international than one could be without MFL and increasing their employment prospects.

    Thirdly, A-level languages contain a large 'media' component with extended film viewing and the language of advertising. So really, there is no need for Media Studies since A-level languages teachers cover it already.

    We all know that generally speaking top employers recognise Media as a bit 'wishy washy'. Languages are highly regarded. Fact.
  19. MrPuss

    MrPuss New commenter

    Well done - you have managed to completely ignore every point made by contributors to your thread and simply restated the same point again.
    Good work!
  20. What's the point is studying a language, all other countries speak english anyway!

    I'm sure you will find this comment offensive and I must admit it is not my personal opinion but it had to be said as it has more worth than your comment that:

    "there is no need for Media Studies since A-level languages teachers cover it already. We all know that generally speaking top employers recognise Media as a bit 'wishy washy'"

    I would like to know where your research to back up this statement came from.

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