Graduated Scenarios to aid critical thinking for media production students

This source preferred by Mark Readman

Authors: Readman, M. and Moon, J.

Start date: 20 November 2014


This project was motivated initially by the observation, and anecdotal evidence, that media students find it difficult to engage analytically and conceptually with their own production work. There is a requirement in most media courses that involve some kind of production or practice, to produce a piece of writing (or exegetical work in another form) about the aims, intentions and success of such work, and it tends to be characterised by a failure to 1) adopt a sufficiently deep reflective mode in relation to the production process, and 2) attain critical distance from the final artefact; we might argue that a simultaneous ‘engagement and disengagement’ is required. Drawing on Moon’s earlier work in which graduated scenarios are used in order to model different depths of reflection and critical thinking (Moon 2009), this approach was applied in the creation of four responses to the same piece of production work – a short screenplay written by one of the researchers. These four responses draw on Baxter Magolda’s (1992) four domains of epistemological development, namely, ‘absolute knowing’, ‘transitional knowing’, ‘independent knowing’ and ‘contextual knowing’ and, in turn, Moon’s Generic Framework for Reflective Writing (2006). They also draw upon the learning outcomes and assessment criteria from media production units at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, that are used to guide the exegetical work that is required to accompany production work. The result, then, is a framework specific to writing about media production work that embodies different depths of critical reflection.

We suggest that this kind of modelling not only helps students to understand the kind of writing that is required for critical reflective analyses, but also can be used to stimulate new kinds of discussion and thought about the purposes and meanings of media production work, the relationships between practice and theory, and the relationships between student practitioners and their own work.

Keywords: theory, media practice, media production, critical analysis, evaluation, reflection, higher education

References: Baxter Magolda, M. (1992), Knowing and reasoning in college students: Gender-related matters in student intellectual development. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Moon, J. (2004), A handbook of reflective and experiential learning. London: Routledge.

Moon, J. (2006), Learning Journals: A handbook for reflective practice and professional development. London: Routledge.

Moon, J. (2008), Critical Thinking: an exploration of theory and practice. London: Routledge Moon, J. (2009), The use of graduated scenarios to facilitate the learning of complex and difficult-to-describe concepts, Art, Design & Communication in Higher Education 8: 1, pp. 57–70.

Readman, M. (2003), Teaching scriptwriting, screenplays and storyboards for Film and TV Production. London: BFI.

Readman M. (2013), Not 'philosophy of media education', but 'media education as philosophy': Working with 'Creativity'. In: Fraser P and Wardle J (eds) Current perspectives in media education: Beyond the manifesto. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 160-174.

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