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Cross-curricular approaches to programme design

Media studies examines the dynamic role of the media in society and how the media constructs messages about individuals, communities, and cultures. Students are best able to explore this idea if they are offered learning experiences that:

  • link the three key concepts of media studies (mediation, communication, and creativity)
  • make use of global, national, and local contexts
  • are relevant to the students’ interests and concerns
  • relate to the appropriate curriculum levels.

Ideally, teachers and students can work across learning areas. Teachers will need time to meet and plan together. A level of flexibility may need to be introduced into the quite restrictive timetables that operate in most schools.

See also Cross-curricular learning and external qualifications.

Possible models for a cross-curricular programme

Cross-curricular planning and teaching

Teachers from different learning areas plan media studies learning across the curriculum and then teach their sections of the overall plan within their specialist areas. Media studies could provide a curriculum focus for either a year group or the whole school.

  • Media studies and art: Create a study of lighting (level 1) or chiascuro effect in film (film language) (levels 2 and 3). Link to LO 6.1, 7.1, 8.1.
  • Media studies and health: Design a television advertisement, supported by newspaper print advertisements and a web page, to promote healthy food choices by teenagers. Link to LO 6.3, 7.3, 8.3.
  • Media studies and social science: Investigate the use of television by primary and/or intermediate students and use this data to create video interpretations of the findings, evaluate and reach conclusions, and report these to the participants and their school.

Integration with literacy and numeracy

Focus learning in literacy and numeracy on suitable media studies content, explored via an inquiry into a social issue and an action based on the inquiry. Media teachers can work alongside other learning area teachers to identify ways of using media creatively to foster literacy acquisition.

For example:

  • writing a voiceover to modify an existing television commercial
  • using a cellphone to create a narrative and then writing the script for the narrative using suitable exemplars
  • crafting a book review to go into a magazine publication or the school library
  • creating a written movie review for the school website
  • recording an interview with a school sportsperson and writing the transcript of the interview.

Team approaches

Teachers from different learning areas develop a programme, with a shared inquiry, that can be taught using a team approach. Assessment opportunities from media studies and other subjects are offered, and students make choices based on their needs.

Teachers from different learning area plan schemes of work around a common inquiry, with teachers and students making explicit connections between social and psychological aspects related to identity, gender, and race in the local community or New Zealand at large. For example, what does it mean now to be a New Zealander?

Collapsing the regular timetable

A school collapses its timetable for a limited period (three days to two weeks) or a specified time each week. Students and teachers use a range of skills and knowledge from, for example, the arts, technology, and science to inquire into a social issue and implement an action. This approach can involve the students from a single year group or across the whole school.

Multi-disciplinary courses

The school year might be structured around semesters with students choosing multi-disciplinary courses based around an inquiry topic or theme.

The section Cross-curricular learning and external qualifications identifies some of the many ways that learning in media studies can be assessed using achievement standards from other learning areas.

Last updated September 14, 2011