Sample article

 
УДК 004:[316.3:008]
ББК 74.58:73
 
Л.А. Иванова
Иркутск, Россия
ЕЩЕ РАЗ О МЕДИАОБРАЗОВАНИИ:
ПОНЯТИЙНО-ТЕРМИНОЛОГИЧЕСКОЕ ОБЕСПЕЧЕНИЕ
В НАЧАЛЕ XXI ВЕКА
В статье исследуется понятийно-терминологическое обеспечение использования педагогической теории в практике на примере отрасли научного знания «медиаобразование», находящейся сегодня на пике своего развития и одновременно подвергающейся интенсивному переосмыслению в аспекте концептуализации ее позиций, пересмотра ее методологических оснований, придания ей характера, сообразного современным тенденциям.
Ключевые слова: медиаобразование; наука; терминосистема педагогики; медиакомпетентность; информационное общество; средства массовой коммуникации.
 
UDC 004:[316.3:008]
LBC 74.58:73
 
 
L. Ivanova
Irkutsk, Russia
AGAIN ABOUT MEDIA EDUCATION: CONCEPTUAL AND
TERMINOLOGICAL PROVIDING IN THE BEGINNING
OF THE XXI CENTURY
The article studies conceptual and terminological providing to use of the pedagogical theory in practice on an example of scientific knowledge of the "media education", being at peak of the development and at the same time exposed to intensive reconsideration in the aspect of conceptualization of its positions, rethinking of methodological bases, giving it a character according to the current trends.
Key words: media education; science; term system; pedagogics; media competence; information society; mass media.
 
 
The development of science in general is an evolutionary process. In pedagogics, like in many other spheres of human activity a growing disparity between scientific knowledge and its use is being observed, that can be reduced on the one hand by the transition of science from extensive to intensive way of development, on the other – by the qualitative changes in pedagogical process via purposeful application of conclusions and recommendations of pedagogical science, advanced and innovative experience, revealing and eliminating those obstacles that prevent their practical realization.
The higher is the level of science development, practitioners’ cognitive performance and activity of researchers’ community, the wider is the researching area covered by scientists.
Conceptual and terminological providing of pedagogical theory in practice was studied by us on the example of scientific knowledge of “media education”, which is at peak of the development and at the same time exposed to intensive reconsideration in the aspect of conceptualization of its positions, rethinking of methodological bases, giving it a character according to the current trends. Explosion of interest (and a very significant one) to the scientific area under consideration is provoked by meeting at the present stage of society’ development a genuine informational threat of civilization that come in full force in the form of “information overloading”, “psychological manipulative influence”, “informational violence”, “virtualization of consciousness”, “causing loss in absolute values among young generation”, etc. (and not without a reason).
Despite the increasing number of scientific publications, widespread discussions, creation of special institutions and making corresponding decisions (on different levels), still there are many open questions – both theoretical and practical ones.
That is why such sphere of scientific knowledge as media education is able to give for the practice first of all cognitive constructions, that allow not only to distinguish types of informational threat among other phenomena of social reality, but also mechanisms (means) of prevention and protection from informational threat of different kind and danger conditioned by uncontrolled information streams. Theory of media education, therefore, has passed the stage of collection, generalization and transfer of experience (craft stage) and came to the stage of formation and formulation of powerful theoretical basis expanding the sphere of action of the scientific area. The development of the scientific area of media education is also determined by modern social, political and even economic state needs, that dictate Russians the necessity to possess definite (basic) level of readiness and ability to make a choice, to use, critically analyze, assess, transfer and create media texts of different types, forms and genres, explore complex processes of media functioning in society. In other words they should have media competence that ensures effective communicative interaction, communication not only on the interpersonal level, but also with the help of technical means, i.e. with the help of media in open information society. This dominant of personality formation is registered today in almost all documents, reflecting the norms of innovative development of education policy of the RF.
At the same time we revealed contradictions between social needs of media education of all students of general secondary schools with scientific base and practically formed conceptual and terminological providing of media education; between requirements to teacher’s activity in the media education sphere and his/her training in college and retraining in career development system. By the conceptual and terminological providing of using pedagogical theory in teacher’s practice we understand its ability to provide the connection and interaction between media education theory and practice. It is directed to ensure the needs of practical pedagogics in comprehending the essence of media education, organization of oriented scientifically grounded development process, personality formation on the basis of mass media usage.
To consider problems of theory usage without analysis, account for its specificity, peculiarities of its conceptual and terminological system means to limit its influence over practical progress.
In order to reveal specificity of media education theory, that stipulates its usage in pedagogical practice, we have conducted transformative linguo-pedagogical experiment, including the construction a new source of knowledge  – frequency conceptual and terminological dictionary.
Pedagogical texts of Electronic scientific library “Media education” (http://edu.of.ru/medialibrary) and speeches of educators-practitioners were studied by special scientometric methods of research (thesaurus, slang, etc).
Linguo-pedagogical experiment data together with the data received in the result of content analysis of pedagogical literature show that the difficulty of study and establishment of basic categories of media education are connected with the same very peculiarities typical of the media education term system:
1. Fuzziness of the distinctive line with the common language vocabulary: many categories of media education (media culture, informational literacy, critical thinking, manipulative influence, etc.) make a part of everyday language.
2. Fuzziness and permeability of the line with the term systems of other sciences and spheres of knowledge, in case media education, one can refer to them the following subject areas – those that study human, art, society, problems of psychological influence of mass media on individual and collective consciousness: psychology, sociology of mass communications, social philosophy, etc.
3. Terminological variability, when different lexical units (variants of a term, synonyms, etc.) may be used to denote this or that notion, for example to name the result of media education, denote its ultimate goal, scientists offer such variants as: media education, media literacy, media culture, media communicative education, informational literacy, media competence and others.
4. Polysemy of pedagogical terminology, when one term includes many meanings, and it is necessary to specify in what meaning the word is used.
The last peculiarity also clearly comes out in understanding the term “media education”, without any doubts one of the basic terms of the sphere of knowledge under consideration. We will only provide some definitions of this notion characteristic of the early XXI century.
V. Vozchikov suggests viewing media education as “pedagogical area that stands in favor of study and practical mastering of … events of mass communication” [Vozchikov, 2000, p. 8].
G. Selevko views media education as “study of regularities of mass communication with the purpose of formation of protective mechanisms from consciousness manipulation in modern information conditions” [Selevko, 2005, p. 128].
A. Sharikov offers the following definition of media education: “it is a process of formation of the culture of mediatized social communication” [Sharikov, 2005, p. 80].
We found interesting the definition by A.Korochensky, “though in pedagogical circles by media education they understand a particular component of school or college “formal education”, nowadays a broader understanding of media education as a fully-fledged long-term social-enlightening activity gains acceptance ”. Supporters of this idea understand media education primarily as continuous development of culture of adequate rational-critical comprehension of the media texts’ content and independent evaluation of the activity of mass media – informational culture based on democratic and humanistic ideals and values, respecting principles of cultural diversity [Korochensky, 2003, p. 187-188].
In the “Dictionary of terms of media education, media pedagogics, media literacy and media competence” (2010) A. Fedorov provides the following characteristic: media education – the process of personality development with the help and on the material of mass media (media) for the purpose of formation of media communication culture, creative, communicative competence, critical thinking, ability to fully comprehend, interpret, analyze and evaluate media texts, teaching different forms of self expression with the help of media techniques. As the result the acquired media literacy helps a person to be an active user of the possibilities of informational field of television, radio, video, cinematograph, press and Internet. The content of media education: basics of art history in media sphere (types and genres of media, functions of media in society, media language, history of media culture, etc.), data about the main spheres of application of theoretical knowledge (professional mass media, amateur media sphere, media-distribution channels, film club directions in media sphere, leisure institutions, educational institutions, etc.), practical creative tasks based on media material [Fedorov, 2010, p. 26].
It is clearly seen that the notion of “media education” is disorderly used. The existing state of the definition of the essence of notion “media education” was aptly characterized by K. Tyner in her work “The Media Education Elephant”: “One teacher’s definition of media education is another's heresy. Like the blind men and the elephant, teachers often practice one small aspect of media education and conclude that they have the whole picture” [Cit. by: Zhurin, 2005, p. 32 - 33].
On the basis of various definitions of the term “media education” one can conclude that in the modern informational society media education is presented as educational process; formation process; trend in pedagogics; pedagogical movement; social-enlightening or cultural-enlightening activity; personality development process, etc.
А. Zhurin adds some more meanings of this term: pedagogical science; teacher and students’ joint practical activity; educational area [Zhurin, 2005, p. 33].
Since the term “media education” is the basic one for the given sphere of scientific knowledge, and its accurate understanding ensures not only adequate creation of derived terms, but also defining the system of media educational coordinates, that will allow to enrich theory and practice of media education with new knowledge, theoretical conclusions and concepts. Let’s ask ourselves, what media education is?
Lately more and more media researchers and educators pay attention to media education as a pedagogical, emerging science, sphere of scientific cognition or as an area of pedagogical science. Defining media education, А. Zhurin, for example, places “pedagogical science” in the forefront. Comparing different viewpoints on media education of both individual scholars (Zh. Gone, L. Zaznobina, A. Tibo,  A. Fedorov and others) and organizations (Council of Europe, UNESCO, CLEMI), the researcher revealed advantages and disadvantages of media education definitions. Thereupon the author suggested his own understanding of media education as a
“1) pedagogical science, that studies mass media influence over children and teenagers and is working at theoretical questions of preparing students to the world of mass media;
2) teacher and students’ joint practical activity on preparing children and teenagers to the use of mass media and understanding the role of media in culture and world perception;
3) educational area, containing data about the role of mass media in culture, world perception and the skill of effective work with media information” [Zhurin, 2005, p. 33].
Along these lines N. Chicherina [Chicherina, 2008, с. 42-43] suggests viewing media education in different aspects brining “pedagogical science field of study” to the front position as:
·     field of pedagogical science, developing theoretical questions of teaching adequate interaction with media sphere;
·     separate educational field, that contains knowledge about mass media functioning in modern society, its role in public and individual development and also skills and abilities of effective work with mass media texts;
·     practical educational and training activity aimed at media literacy formation;
·     public-enlightening activity aimed at increasing the level of media literacy of society members.
At the same time there is an alternative point of view: “Unfortunately there is no united theory of media education today (though there exist more than a dozen media educational theories), that could integrate all the abundance of accumulated pedagogical experience of different areas and equally important different cultures, moreover, different civilizations. There are certain reasons for that, since on the level of theories outside pedagogics, on the level of theoretical sociology and social philosophy of mass communication we have quite mosaic picture – real eclecticism in the description of communication processes. For in fact we get into the most complex interdisciplinary sphere, which on the one hand claims to be independent, but de facto does not have this independence. On the other hand a complex tangle of knowledge at the intersection of quite a few social sciences (such as sociology, politology, legal studies, culturology, social philosophy, economics), art disciplines, theory of journalism, psychology and pedagogics dissolves the boundaries of media education subject-matter. One thing is obvious: theory comes in nowhere behind practice” [Sharikov, 2005, p. 78 -79].
We agree with the author on a number of points, at the same time it’s important to understand that “not a single science, especially humanitarian one, can set up a claim to be independent from idea trends of the time, scientific tendencies and sometimes emotional  predilections” [Nine, 2005, p. 13]. In this regard it should be mentioned that media education also, on the one hand, derives strength from adjacent disciplines, on the other – it uses its own conceptions, methodological and theoretical decisions. Thus, theory of media education has passed the stage of collection, generalization and transfer of experience (craft stage) and came to the stage of formation and formulation of powerful theoretical basis expanding the sphere of action of the scientific area. Here a question arises, what media education is, a pedagogical science or an area of pedagogical science? The answer is in the works by N. Vershinina “These terms are polysemantic, they are synonymic and are often defined with the help of the others. Science, for example, is interpreted as a separate subject area, and the subject as – a separate sphere of science” [Vershinina, 2006, p. 273]. Further the scholar suggests resorting to contextual-semantic methods of analysis of terms usage. Having no opportunity to focus on the analysis of most meanings within the article, we will first consider “media education” in the meaning “pedagogical science”. Media education is referred to the system of human studies, and in this system it is tightly connected with philosophy, social philosophy, sociology, economics, culturology, psychology, politology, legal studies, linguodidactics, methodology of teaching foreign languages, art disciplines, theory of journalism and other spheres of knowledge.
Media education as a pedagogical science has its own subject-matter, tasks, conceptual and terminological framework, therefore definition of media education should reflect its specificity more or less completely. On this basis, we think, that media education as a pedagogical science may be characterized in the following way. Media education – pedagogical science, researching aims, content, regularities, forms, processes of organization, development and formation of personality on the material and by means of mass media. Of course, this interpretation cannot be taken for the “last word”. We realize, that “definition of a meaningful (varied, many-sided) notion is never complete. Different aspects of the notion are emphasized in different contexts, the basic definition is complemented with subsequent and accompanying ones” [Stefanovskaya, 1998, p. 25]. At the same time it should be noted that the author of monograph research despite progressiveness of positions (as the author believes) in solving media education problems is still at a times enthralled by traditional pedagogics, when “media education” is defined via conventional focus on personality formation. There are certain reasons for that too, since the notion of formation has always been considered as a pivotal category in the history of pedagogics. Thus, it’s not a coincidence that the names of recent dissertation theses for the degree of candidate of sciences start with the names “formation”, “development” and “pedagogical conditions”. The author of this article could not avoid stereotypes in definition either. It is also significantly, that “the notions of pedagogics are constantly changing and reflect needs and new data of theory and practice, perspective tendencies of their development” [Stefanovskaya, 1998, p. 25]. The development of science in general is an evolutionary process. Every science undergoes several stages of evolution; in any case it is to come in the end from the stage of mere contemplation to the stage of abstract thinking, as it is objective and all-encompassing formula of cognitive process. All the above mentioned is true for both still young, developing and yet not universally accepted sphere of knowledge – media education. Despite certain achievements of media educators (their contribution is beyond doubts), the results of fundamental theoretical researches in the sphere of media education and the description of basic categories are not fully presented, that makes it necessary to appeal to pedagogics.
It should not go without mention, that the process of science development and functioning of its terminological armory go hand in hand. Developing science is unconceivable without rationally constructed term system, representing motivated system of signs, scientific symbols and conceptual categories that express generalized scientific knowledge of every specific sphere of human activity. Consequently the increasing role of media education in pedagogical process is connected with, on the one hand, widening of basic notions nomenclature list, on the other – with rethinking of the terms that for a long time were taken for granted and viewed as incommutable.
The existence on these scientifically natural processes paves the way for terminological discrepancies, one can even say “conceptual catastrophe” [Slobodchikov, 2003]. Establishment and development of the new sphere of knowledge of “media education” revealed that traditional pedagogics is lacking “the language of understanding” (language of notions), and respectively “the language of explanation” of many pedagogical phenomena, and even “the language of description” appears to be incomprehensible. Figuratively speaking, overcoming conceptual “chaos” is one of the basic goals of pedagogical science. Fusion of terminology, various interpretations of identical notions, their insufficient scientific conceptualization caused one notions to lose their categorical status, become mere ideological clichés (e.g.: all-round development, harmonic personality, etc.), others – “to smear”, become amorphous, lose their sharp outlines (almost all notions from the sphere of “education”) [Slobodchikov, 2003].
In the commentaries to the report of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation “Education and Society: Is Russia Ready to Invest in its Future?” we find reflections of S. Philonovich, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, professor, dean of the High school of management of NRU HSE, that support our idea to revise previous positions. The author justly writes “Again there is terminology of “grandiloquence”, painfully familiar — from the soviet ideological rhetoric. Already at the times of perestroika I experienced intellectual shock, connected with conception of the term “education”. In 1989 a group of American secondary general school teachers came to our country. They were to work for six weeks in schools of different USSR republics. Before going to the places of their work for the first three days they got acquainted with Moscow, received a general idea of our system of education. When we visited school in Moscow one American delegation member asked: “What does the term “education” mean?”, explaining that there is no adequate notion of it in the English language. As a graduate of Lenin MSPU, I easily formulated, that education — is a system of actions, aimed at purposeful development of personality, etc. The American has listened to me with genuine astonishment and asked: “Are you taught this somewhere?” I answered, that for this aim we have a special system of pedagogical universities. And I heard the remark: “Very interesting! That’s exactly the thing teachers are sent away from our schools”. I was truly amazed. After thinking I understood, that purposeful impact on personality is violence. A personality should independently chose ways of development, and corresponding possibilities should be provided for that” [Commentaries to the report of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation “Education and Society: Is Russia Ready to Invest in its Future?”, 2007, p. 26]. In this sense it is rightful to say that made attempts to formulate definition of such basic category of pedagogical science as media education are not always successful, the role of influence of pedagogics is very strong. It is explained by a number of reasons of both objective and subjective character. Formulating the definition of media education, one should not forget about the idea of V. Bibler about “equality of the participants of educational process” [Bibler, 1993, p. 11] and also dialogical conception of education. The whole conception of the “dialogue of cultures” in educational process presupposes respectful, highly rating attitude to the personality of a school child/student, which is in compliance with the words “understanding the purpose of person-centered education is not to form, but to find out, support, develop a person in a person and activate in him/her the mechanisms of self-realization, self-development, adaptation, self-regulation, self-defense, self-education, original personality image and decent human life for dialogical and safe interaction with people, nature, culture and society” [ibid, p. 42]. Respectively media education should become not a form of purposeful influence over a personality in order to form it, develop, etc., but it should be the form, conditions, eventually occurrence of the need and desire to “SELF-” development, self-education media sphere, media education during lifetime. According to T. Stefanovskaya [Stefanovskaya, 1998] the need of self-cultivation and self-education in the context of media education inclusively is dictated by the connection between developing society and forming personality; brevity of social process (readiness to meet challenges in the conditions of increasing information stream in forming information society, extension of contacts among people in the Internet, emerging role of mediatized communication, etc.); responsibility of every single personality for its future (information society requires a highly qualified specialist, ready to work in new conditions of the XXI century, capable of processing big scope of information singling out the most important data, able to feel comfortable in information stream, possessing practical skills of work with media); development of public relations (with the changes taking place with the informational landscape of society, people, their interests, goals and aspirations in life with universal moral values remain unaltered).
Therefore, working with the problems of conceptual and terminological system with the account of modern paradigm of education is one of the most promising trends in pedagogical science. Thus, the distinction of terms in media education, analysis of the essence of their notions, denoted by definite terms, refusal from outdated ideas about them, revealing principally other senses has become an objective necessity. The necessity that is explained first of all by the fact, that a term should have a single meaning, and what is more important, should correspond to the tendencies of a modern developing Russian education and society. Alongside with that analysis of Russian and foreign theoretical works in the sphere of media education (Belgium, Great Britain, France, Russia) allows to conclude that theory of the phenomenon is not yet elaborated, there is no universal conceptual approach and the notion of “media education” is viewed from different positions. A uniform understanding of the essence and nature of media education is lacking. And in the  beginning of the XXI century “media education” is a still forming science, interdisciplinary by nature (the subject-matter is flexible, changing right in front of our eyes), that is why there is a multitude of  theoretical approaches. Such incompleteness and uncertainty is easily noticed in the articles of probably most authoritative media educators of early XX century. In fact conclusions about the main notion a practicing teacher has to synthesize on his/her own, which results in exertion and mistakes.
The analysis of theoretical works of Russian and foreign psychologists, educators and study of skilled educators’ thesaurus allows to infer, that issues of media education in the XXI are still viewed from diverse positions and aspects. Absence of uniform understanding of media education essence, united media education conception in theory and practice causes differences in approaches to media education in the world. Differentiation of media education term systems of theory and practice is an objective phenomenon. It arises due to several reasons. First, is that the spheres of scientific and practical pedagogical activity on media education are different in subject, means and results. Therefore the whole complex of terms and notions used by theoreticians and the complex of terms and notions of the professional discourse of media education teacher cannot completely coincide. Other reason is the complexity of the theory, stipulated by its integrated character. Integrated nature of theory is manifested in active functioning of terms and notions of different spheres of knowledge.
In conclusion it should also be stated that a great role in strengthening the positions of media education in Russia is played by Doctor of Pedagogic Sciences, Professor Aleksandr Fedorov, president of the Russian Association for Film and Media Education (http://edu.of.ru/mediaeducation), vice-rector for scientific work of Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute. In spite of comparative youth of this sphere of knowledge, a lot have been already done:
·     bilingual (Russian and English) sites on audiovisual media education were created  in 2000
– www.medialiteracy.boom.ru, www.mediaeducation.boom.ru, and also Russian language website www.mediaeducation.ru. A little later other sites appeared (multimedia library of “School sector” http://school-sector.relarn.ru/efim/ mainframe.html, “School multimedia library” www.ioso.ru/scmedia и др.);
·    in-depth monographs, study manuals were published, candidates’ and doctorate dissertation theses on media education were defended in Russia during recent years;
·     in September 2002 on the motion of А. Fedorov a new major for pedagogical universities was registered in the Ministry of Education of the RF – “Media education” and experimental study on this major began in Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute;
·    from January 2005 with the support of the Russian committee of UNESCO program А. Fedorov initiated the creation of Russian pedagogical journal “Media Obrazovanie”/ “Media Education” (from 2009 journal “Media Obrazovanie” is included in International registry of scientific journals DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals);
·    in 2008 due to the initiative of А. Fedorov Electronic scientific library “Media education” site was created on web portal of the Ministry of Education of the RF(http://edu.of.ru/medialibrary);
·     in September 2009 the All-Russia research school for the youth “Media Education and Media Competence” was held for the first time in Russia on the basis of Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute under the auspices of Federal Science and Innovation Agency, within the framework of realization of federal special-purpose program “Scientific and Scientific-Pedagogical Personnel of the Innovative Russia in 2009-2013”.
Russian achievements in the sphere of media education received proper respect abroad. All the above mentioned testifies that theory and practice of media education are at peak of their development and at the same time are exposed to intensive reconsideration in the aspect of conceptualization of media education positions, rethinking of methodological bases, giving it a character according to the current trends.
Meanwhile an attempt to answer the question “What is media education?” still comes across many difficulties. These include, from our point of view, polysemy of the term “media education” and insufficient development of categorical system of this sphere of knowledge. This is because media education as a science is in its infancy, and thus it has comparatively modest record of achievements. There exist ancient, young and incipient sciences. To mention for the comparison, “history of linguistics, for example, dates back to the works of Panini, written already in the в IV BC about phonetical and grammatical systems of ancient Indian languages – Sanskrit and partially Vedic”[Lyakhovitsky, 1981]. Media education as a science began to form in the end of the XX century. Having appeared short time ago and having undergone a lengthy period of “hardships” (for quite a long time the necessity to introduce media education into continuous education from preschool to college was in doubt, and media education itself remained the domain of few enthusiasts) in the first part of the XXI century this trend in pedagogics has been set in the form of a strict and articulate system of  scientific knowledge and has finally reached the stage, when it is possible to draw conclusions, discover regularities and define further ways of its development.
 
 
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