LET’S HAVE A MEDIA CLUB
We are living in a media driven society. Nobody can stand apart from the magical skin of media today. Everything related to our socio-cultural life is decided by the media. Thus it influences our economic state also. Our taste, interest, needs, belief, demands, even thoughts are drastically influenced by media. What do you think and How do you act are molded in the kitchen of media gigantic.
Here is an example from our families. Three year old child in our homes now days never ask for a chocolate. But they ask for a particular brand. From where does this child get the name of the chocolate? Majority of us appreciate the child for its keen observation. Is this due to its serious observation? My answer is NO. The brand ambassadors become a great success in ‘catching them young.’ Negative values like consumerism haunt them. Socio-cultural behavior is seriously threatened. Traditional values and customs are torned away. These are some of the criticisms by the older generation against the new ones.
At this juncture what is the remedy to liberate our children from the black hands of mediations? This is the challenge we have to face in our surroundings. Parents and the general public believe we, the teachers, can do something. Can we? What we have to do is make aware our children that what we see, hear and read in media are not the real ones. Equip them to read media critically. Build up their efficiency in analysis and interpret. Nourish their ability in critical thinking.
Media clubs can help in these regards a lot. There are lists of activities we have to done. These activities will help them to make media criticism through fun. They can do serious things joyfully. One of the activities listed and practiced by most teachers in their class room is making newspaper. You can decide the form of publication. I may share one of my experiences. The last academic year, we divided the whole class in to ten groups. Each group gathered news from their surroundings. Brought it in classroom. Processed them there. Pasted on the walls in the form of a wall new paper. Remember it was the first form of news transaction. Acta Diurna is example. We simply followed those ancestors. It is not a novel idea or a great work.
After ten groups presented the newspapers, we conducted an exhibition. Invited local media persons. They made news on the exhibition. Also they got several news pegs from the news appeared in our wall newspaper. Out of the stories, one got special attention. It was about the life of a poor Muslim old lady who lived alone in a hut. The news had different impacts. Several organizations expressed their interest to rehabilitate the old lady. But she was not ready to leave her place on the ground of her sheep. At last the RDO visited her and issued a special ration card. The card supported her to buy rice from the ration shop without paying a penny. A mediavist is generated through this innovative experience.Citizen journalism became a tool for it.What we call this style of study is critical pedagogy.
My learners are much motivated by the work. We moved to another area. Our school is a government Girls higher secondary school. It is in Thalassery, Kerala. The place is famous for Circus, Cake and Cricket. We approached the circus artist. Collected a lot of information. Prepared features and profiles. Through the activities we learned how to gather news, how to write in different formats and how to edit them. The articles published as a book- CIRCUS, edited by me and published by Media Analysis & Research Center. By documenting the experiences of the artists, we made another step in journalism. This is a unique book in this subject in Malayalam.
Everybody have a deep instinct for self-expression. You can cater your club member’s interest in this regard through a blog. Creating and maintaining a blog is very easy. Almost all providers use a highly user friendly mode in creating new blogs. It makes you a media owner without investing singly rupee. A penny less effort to make you a media owner is really an interesting experience. You have all freedom to accept, edit or reject an article. Nobody has a control over you. You become the agenda setter of your blog! Try it. Provide your children an online global opportunity to express themselves. Moreover we can read you by sitting in Kerala. It is one of the easiest methods to share your activities also. The media club can do a lot through this medium.
If you have some money to invest, why can’t you try for an E-newspaper? The softwares are either cheap or free now. The URL registration cost is minimum. If you are interested you have it.these are possibilities. I shared what we practiced in our class room. If it is happened in our actual life situation, it is possible to you. If you have a will, you have a win. Remember production is not important in media club activities. It helps them to make their work funnier. Our concentration should be the other half that is the awareness part.
(Speech delivered at the planning meeting of media clubs on April 21, 2011 at Central Institute of Educational Technology-CIET, NCERT, New Delhi)