Teachers, Teaching and the Media

The Teachers, Teaching and the Media conference will focus on representations of teachers and education in film, television, and digital/social media and the theory and practice of media-based pedagogy in the classroom.

With this intersecting emphasis on representations and practices, we are looking for papers and presentations that critically examine the cultural and historical representations of teachers, students, and the educational setting as well as those that look at the ways that films, television, and digital media open up possibilities for new forms of teaching and learning within formal or informal educational contexts (the college, school, living room, or Cineplex).

Movies and television have a long tradition of taking school life and teachers as subjects for their narratives. These narratives have circulated powerful, though often reductive, representations of teachers and have influenced our sense of what meaningful educational experiences are supposed to look like. Such representations shape our understanding of the dynamics of teacher-student relationships and the roles (positive and negative) that teachers play in the lives of students and the larger community. In short, the media have become unlikely authoritative texts on what counts as good education. But have the stories that films (and other media) tell about teachers become so formulaic that other more complex and realistic stories are unavailable to us in the popular culture?

In addition, as media come to increasingly dominate discussions of educational policy and practice, what contributions can film, television, social media, video games and such bring to bear upon classroom pedagogy? Can education as an institution engage, better yet resist, the entertainment culture that defines public discourse in contemporary society? How has increased media literacy changed the common knowledge and skills that students bring with them to school? Panels will explore how the media continue to transform pedagogy within historical, cultural, social, and educational frameworks – from the first uses of radio in the early 1920s to the most recent experiences with social media and the rise of MOOCs.

Conference organizers understand issues surrounding the use of media in education as closely linked to the representations of teachers on the screen. This conference will be an opportunity for those who work with the media in the classroom to discuss ideas with those who research representations of the classroom in the media.