chapter  5
23 Pages

Engaging Middle School Students in Critical Media Literacy: Donna's Lesson

ByDonna E. Alvermann, Jennifer S. Moon, Margaret C. Hagood

This chapter introduces the students in Dera Weaver's class to an alternative reading of some of the popular culture texts associated with the popular musicians, the Spice Girls and Natalie Imbruglia. Of the nine boys and six girls, only one was African American; the others were of European American background. All came from middle-class homes, and most had known one another for several years prior to entering Dera's class. According to Dera, these students liked to talk and would enter willingly into a discussion in which they were asked to voice their own opinions. Overall, the class was more positive toward the person and lyrics of Natalie Imbruglia than they were to the Spice Girls. Several students contributed points to the discussion that indicated they were cognizant of being positioned differently when they listened to the two compact discs. The event that actually precipitated their purchase of a portable compact disc player was the critical media lesson.