Another voice from the Mediated Communication Theory course!
My senior capstone course, Mediated Communication Theory, combines both classroom learning, and community based learning. We not only learn in the classroom about media theories and media literacy, but we take our knowledge and apply it to real life by serving as media literacy facilitators at an after school program in Brockton. At Davis Commons, the after school program, we provide weekly lesson plans for young people revolving around topics we cover in class that same week. In class last week, we talked about media violence (i.e., research on the portrayals and effects of screen violence) and based our lesson plan on that topic.
On Thursday afternoon, my four classmates and I arrived at Davis Commons to present our lesson plan on media violence. When we first arrived the young people were doing all sorts of activities. Some were playing on the computer, others were cheering on a game of pool, and some were quietly working on their homework. Since last week was our third week at Davis Commons, the children were familiar with us and why we were there, and so were eager to hear what we had planned for them. My group presented our lesson plan on Thursday, and because the children had spent two days prior learning the content and effects of media violence with other groups from our class, our goal was for the children to apply what they learned to real life scenarios. In other words, since the media message kids see often resorts to violence to solve problems, we hoped to introduce the topic of conflict resolution. Our lesson plan about conflict resolution was twofold. The first part involved reading hypothetical situations and seeing how different children would respond to them. We filmed some of the children’s responses to these situations, and the kids really loved sharing on camera! One such scenario involved a fight between friends, in which one friend challenged another friend to a fight after school. The young people shared ways to solve this and four other situations without using violence, such as cool down before you try to resolve a conflict, and listen carefully while the other person is talking. The girls in the program especially loved sharing when it came to these topics. Everyone really came together to think of the best ways to solve each scenario with the least amount of conflict possible. After we had gone over five situations and talked about good ways to respond, we divided the young people into two groups, in which they would act out both a conflict and a resolution to that conflict. Both groups acted out successful ways of solving problems without using violence.
Because children are bombarded with violence daily in their favorite TV shows, movies, and video games, media violence is an important topic. The young people at Davis Commons really showed that even though they see violence in the media all the time, they can solve the different problems they encounter in their everyday life in a non-violent way. One girl from Davis Commons shared that she was recently in an argument with a friend regarding a boy they both liked. From our lesson, the young girl came to the conclusion that she first needed to cool down, and then have a respectful talk with her friend to try to work things out. The young people did a great job participating in our lesson plan and especially loved acting out conflict resolution scenes on camera. Thursday’s visit was both fun and successful!