English Language Arts 9-12 Overview

Like the elementary English Language Arts curriculum, secondary level media-related objectives can be found in foundational outcomes for speaking, listening, writing, reading, and viewing and representing.

Viewing and Representing

Like the elementary English Language Arts curriculum, secondary level media-related objectives can be found in foundational outcomes for speaking, listening, writing, reading, and viewing and representing.

Viewing and Representing

Many students are avid and sophisticated consumers of visual media, and their familiarity with visual forms facilitates literacy with other texts. Many students have an implicit understanding of visual media conventions, the unspoken agreements between producers and audiences about the way meaning is represented (e.g., how the passage of time is conveyed in a television drama). Film or television may be useful in helping students grasp the meaning of the term conventions. By using films to introduce students to devices and techniques that visual and written texts share (e.g., subplot and flashback), teachers may help students understand narrative techniques in other media. Similarly, documentary films may assist students to understand expository text elements such as point of view and transitional devices.

Viewing and representing also are language arts in their own right. Students need to learn the techniques and conventions of visual language to become more conscious, discerning, critical, and appreciative readers of visual media, and more effective creators of visual products. Students need to recognize that what a camera captures is a construction of reality, not reality itself. They need to learn that images convey ideas, values, and beliefs, just as words do, and they need to learn to read the language of images.

Films enlarge students’ experiences much as written narratives do, and offer similar occasions for discussion. Films also provide rich opportunities to explore the parallels and differences between visual and written language. Through close reading of short clips, students may examine the effects of visual language cues: composition, colour and light, shadow and contrast, camera angles and distance, pace and rhythm, and the association of images and sounds. They learn to identify the narrative point of view by following the eye of the camera. Visual texts embody many of the elements of written texts. Whether interpreting a painting or a poem, the “reader” looks at elements such as pattern, repetition, mood, symbolism, and historical context.

Students may use visual representation both for informal and formal expression. Just as students use talking and writing as means of exploring what they think and generating new ideas and insights, so they may use visual representing to accomplish the same goals. They may, for example, use tools such as webs, maps, and graphic organizers. Sketching may be the first and most natural way for some students to clarify thinking and generate ideas. Visual tools are especially useful because they represent the non-linear nature of thought. Students also may use visuals to express their mental constructs of the ideas or scenes in written texts. Events from novels may be depicted in murals, storyboards, comic books, or collages. Information and ideas from expository texts may be depicted in graphic organizers to assist students in comprehending the parts and their relationships. Visual images may be bridges for students to learn to grasp abstract concepts such as verbal symbolism.

Study of design elements assists students to become conscious of the effect of visual elements in written texts. Students may enhance their own formal products and presentations by using visuals with written text and/or sound. Students make informed use of design elements in developing charts, slides, posters, and handouts that communicate effectively.

Senior 1 English Language Arts: A Foundation for Implementation. Manitoba Education and Training

On the left menu you will find outcome charts containing media-related learning outcomes from the English Language Arts curriculum, with links to supporting resources on the MediaSmarts site. As many of our lessons can be adapted to suit different grade levels, specific lessons may be listed for more than one grade. Teachers should also note that individual lessons often satisfy a number of learning outcomes.