Quebec Competencies Chart - How to Analyze the News

Author: This lesson has been adapted from an article by Dr. David Considine, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Reich College of Education, Appalachian State University.
Level: Secondary Cycle One and Two
Subject Area : English Language Arts
Lesson Link: How to Analyze the News

Description: The following lesson offers an analytical framework teachers, media specialists and parents may use with children and students of various ages, to help them understand the process by which news is constructed.

Cross-curricular Competencies

Broad Areas of Learning

  • To use information
  • To exercise critical judgement
  • To adopt effective work methods
  • To communicate appropriately
  • Media Literacy
  • Citizenship and Community Life

 

This lesson satisfies the following English Language Arts Competencies from the Quebec Education Program:

Competency Two: Represents his/her literacy in various media

Text, Audience, Producer

Textual Features, Codes and Conventions

  • Identifies and deconstructs codes:
    • Captions, credits and titles
    • Dialogue and voiceovers
    • Lighting and sound
    • Camera language
    • Symbolic
    • Narrative
    • Sequencing
    • Colour
  • Interprets media texts:
    • Explores the codes that construct media texts, e.g. headlines, captions and photographs in newspapers
    • Compares codes of familiar media text types, e.g. how codes of television news (reporter, anchor, camera footage) and newspapers (framed photo, captions, lead paragraph) impact the coverage of a local issue
    • Identifies functions of media discourse: to entertain, to persuade, to promote, to inform
    • Makes connection(s) between images, signs, symbols, pictures and printed text and meaning
    • Identifies and discusses some of the ways in which pictures, illustrations, symbols and images enhance the message
    • Examines ways in which bias occurs in various media texts

Representation

  • Identifies some aspects of representation and exclusion, i.e. deconstructs:
    • Age, gender, family, culture, race, location, such as: portrayals of teens, depictions of a student’s neighbourhood in local news
    • Local news reporting in newspapers, TV and radio such as: role of the reporter/interviewer; treatment of same event, incident, issue, topic or person by different media

Audience and Producer

  • Examines how media target specific audiences:
    • Identifies and generalizes aspects of familiar audiences
    • Explores how the structures and features of texts shape meaning for an audience
  • Discusses characteristics of producer:
    • Explores where, when, why, by and for whom texts are produced
    • Considers the stance of different media texts on issues and concerns of interest to young adolescents
    • Identifies connections made by producers between media texts, e.g. references to Disney in fast-food commercials

Competency Three: Reads and listens to written, spoken and media texts

Reader’s Stance: Constructing a Reading of a Text

  • Focuses on the world of the text to construct an aesthetic reading of text
  • Focuses on making sense of information in a text to construct an efferent reading, e.g. reads print and visual information with the intention of remembering details/examples and/or of following instructions, rereads to verify meaning(s) s/he is making, relates to personal experience and prior knowledge
  • Focuses on the relationship between own world and world of the text to construct an interpretive reading, e.g. elaborates on story world or information in text, connects literature or nonfiction to life experience(s), recognizes familiar textual features, codes and conventions that confirm own meaning(s)/message(s)

Reading Strategies: Text Grammars (Structures, Features, Codes and Conventions)

  • Constructs meaning(s)/message(s) by reinvesting her/his knowledge of the text as social construct, i.e. language-in-use:
    • Draws on cues in familiar structures, features, codes and conventions to make sense of texts
    • Identifies connotation and denotation of words, images and their referents
    • Makes connections between conventions of a familiar text type/genre and own response(s) /interpretation(s)
    • Examines the constructed world of narrative text: uses her/his response(s) as the basis for connecting own meaning(s) to the conventions used to plot/construct the story
  • Applies contextual understanding when meaning breaks down:
    • Socio-cultural: draws on understanding of values and beliefs to make sense of incidents, events or message(s)

Reader, Text, Context: Interpreting Texts

  • Interprets the text for a familiar audience by drawing associations between own world of personal experiences and knowledge and the world of the text by considering:
    • Own characteristics as a reader and the constructed world of a text, e.g. comparison of own values and experiences with those presented in the text; issues, ideas or questions the text raises for her/him; experience with similar texts; attitudes towards subject/topic/character; personal interests
    • Predictions and inferences about the view of the world presented in text
    • Initial, tentative impressions about the statement(s) or view of the world the author/narrator /producer is making
    • Features, codes and conventions of known text types/genres
    • Texts s/he has written and produced that have similar structures, features, codes and conventions
  • With guidance, examines text in its literary and/or socio-cultural context:
    • Identifies features, codes and conventions used to achieve a recognized social purpose and/or function and/or effect and impact on self as reader, e.g. in a popular television commercial, in a humorous text
    • Explores different interpretations of the same event/idea/subject/topic in two sources and their impact on self as reader, e.g. current events in newspapers, on television, or radio
    • Connects, in a trial-and-error fashion, her/his understanding of some characteristics of narrator/writer/producer to what s/he notices about the view of the world presented in the text, e.g. reads “between the lines” to locate apparent values/beliefs of a character/narrator in a story, understands the intent of a fast food ad, sees that an opinion excludes certain points of view
  • Communicates interpretation(s) of a text in an individual voice, referring to prior experience, own reading profile and understanding of texts as social constructs:
    • Follows a process to compose, i.e. writes or produces own interpretation(s) of a text
    • Interprets the view of the world in the text in different media, including mixed media, for a familiar audience
    • Expresses own interpretation(s) with clarity, openness and confidence