English 11-12

Strands in English

The expectations in the compulsory courses of the English curriculum are organized in four strands, or broad areas of learning: Oral Communication, Reading and Literature Studies, Writing, and Media Studies. The program in all grades is designed to develop a range of essential skills in these four interrelated areas, built on a solid foundation of knowledge of the conventions of standard English and incorporating the use of analytical, critical, and metacognitive thinking skills.

Media Studies Strand

The Ontario Grades 11-12 curriculum states that whereas traditional English language study may be seen to focus primarily on the understanding of the word, media studies focuses on the construction of meaning through the combination of several media “languages” – images, sounds, graphics, and words.

Media Studies explores the impact and influence of mass media and popular culture by examining texts such as films, songs, video games, action figures, advertisements, CD covers, clothing, billboards, television shows, magazines, newspapers, photographs, and Web sites. These texts abound in our electronic information age, and the messages they convey, both overt and implied, can have a significant influence on students’ lives. For this reason, critical thinking as it applies to media products and messages assumes a special significance. Understanding how media texts are constructed and why they are produced enables students to respond to them intelligently and responsibly. Students must be able to differentiate between fact and opinion; evaluate the credibility of sources; recognize bias; be attuned to discriminatory portrayals of individuals and groups, such as religious or sexual minorities, people with disabilities, or seniors; and question depictions of violence and crime.

To develop their media literacy skills, students should have opportunities to view, analyse, and discuss a wide variety of media texts and relate them to their own experience. They should also have opportunities to use available technologies to create media texts of different types (e.g., computer graphics, cartoons, graphic designs and layouts, radio plays, short videos, Web pages).

This strand focuses on helping students develop the skills required to understand, create, and critically interpret media texts. It examines how images (both moving and still), sound, and words are used, independently and in combination, to create meaning. It explores the use and significance of particular conventions and techniques in the media and considers the roles of the viewer and the producer in constructing meaning in media texts. Students apply the knowledge and skills gained through analysis of media texts as they create their own texts.

The Ontario Curriculum Grades 11-12 English, 2007.
Ontario Ministry of Education and Training

Media Studies Course

In Grade 11, a stand-alone Media Studies course is available to all students.

This course emphasizes knowledge and skills that will enable students to understand media communication in the twenty-first century and to use media effectively and responsibly. Through analysing the forms and messages of a variety of media works and audience responses to them, and through creating their own media works, students will develop critical thinking skills, aesthetic and ethical judgement, and skills in viewing, representing, listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

The expectations in this course are organized into the strands: Understanding and Interpreting Media Texts; Media and Society; The Media Industry; and Producing and Reflecting on Media Texts.

The overall expectations for student achievement by the end of the course are to:

Understanding and Interpreting Media Texts

  • demonstrate understanding of a variety of media texts;
  • deconstruct a variety of types of media texts, identifying the codes, conventions, and techniques used and explaining how they create meaning.

Media Studies

  • analyse and critique media representations of people, issues, values, and behaviours;
  • analyse and evaluate the impact of media on society.

Media Industry

  • demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which the creators of media texts target and attract audiences;
  • demonstrate an understanding of the impact of regulation, ownership, and control on access, choice, and range of expression.

Producing and Reflecting on Media Texts

  • create a variety of media texts for different audiences and purposes, using effective forms, codes, conventions, and techniques;
  • demonstrate an understanding of roles and career options in a variety of media industries;
  • demonstrate an understanding of their growth as media consumers, media analysts, and media producers.

The Ontario Curriculum Grades 11-12 English, 2007.
Ontario Ministry of Education and Training