PROFESSIONAL REVIEW: “Media Literacy the K-12 Classroom”

Jonathan Friesem’s review of Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom is an overall positive comment on the work of Frank Baker. Friesem notes in his review the functions of Baker’s book: to provide initial knowledge of the media literacy field for beginning teachers, and to provide new resources in media literacy for seasoned teachers. He compares Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom to the work of professionals Hart and Potter. He writes “Baker puts more emphasis on the theory and resources than on the practice” (Friesem, 395). Breaking down the chapters, Friesem discusses Baker’s research and examples of media importance and the easy application of media in the K-12 classroom. He determines that Baker gives a clear outline of his own media literacy sequence: visual literacy; analyzing advertisements and motion images; and recognizing representation, bias and stereotypes in the media. Friesem distinguishes that Baker’s book does not prepare a teacher to deal with controversial discussions or teach extensive media classes; rather, he feels the book is better suited for a foundation in theory and simple practice, a starting point for lessons and a resource guide. In other words, Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom is a useful supplement for those working with media literacy.

While reading through this quick review, I found Friesem writing in circles. I have little doubt that he thinks Baker’s book is useless, but his argument is a little confusing. He begins with a tone which suggests Media Literacy in the K-12 Classroom is suited for only experienced teachers. However, when I read further, he expands on the foundational nature of the book. I finally gained a clear reading when Friesem wrote “On the one hand, the book is rich and resourceful, but on the other hand, it does not address pedagogy and class climate” (Friesem, 396). The review could have been made clearer if Friesem initially suggested the book functioned well as a supplement rather than main text of a classroom.

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