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Communicating Power Youth Radio Arts in the Multilingual Classroom

TO THE TUNE OF THE FIRST AIM, MEDIA PRODUCTION, WALKER SHARES SEVERAL EXAMPLES OF COMPOSITIONS STUDENTS PREPARED, EDITED AND DELIVERED FOR AND ON THE RADIO, LIKE THE TRANSCRIPTS OF STUDENTS’ STORIES FOR THE RADIO.
THE USE OF AND INDEXING OF MULTIPLE LINGUISTIC CODES SERVED TO VALIDATE SPANISH AS AN APPROPRIATE FORM OF COMMUNICATION, ALLOWING PARTICIPANTS TO EXPERIENCE SPANISH AND SPANISH SPEAKERS FROM A NON-DEFICIT PERSPECTIVE.
STUDENT CONFIDENCE, THE THIRD AIM, IS WELL DOCUMENTED BUT PERHAPS CAPTURED BEST BY WALKER’S HUMBLE CLAIM: 'IT IS POSSIBLE TO ARGUE... THAT YOUTH RADIO PROVIDED A ‘THINKING SPACE’ FOR REFLECTING ON AND REPRESENTING THE YOUNG PEOPLE’S QUESTIONING AND THEORIZING, FOR SPEAKING UP AND ACTING OUT AGAINST WHAT FREIRE HAS CALLED THE 'CULTURE OF SILENCE'".
THE FOURTH AND FINAL AIM, OF LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT, IS CAPTURED BY AN IN-DEPTH EXPLANATION OF HOW ONE STUDENT GAINED “A SENSE OF POWER OVER HER ORAL LANGUAGE PRODUCTION, WHICH IS SIGNIFICANT FOR A PERSON POSITIONED AS LESS-THAN-COMPETENT IN THE DOMINANT LANGUAGE”
In her conclusion, Walker writes that “[t]his study suggest[s] that to break the cycle of remedial ESL instruction that reproduces the marginalization of poor and immigrant students, we must shift our attention from language skills and exercises in communicative competencies to creating the conditions for a pedagogy of powerful communication” (167).
Sounds like a good book for any educator or youth services worker for learning tools to support ELs find their voice through radio production activities. - Pam Steager

Belanger, J. (2016). [Review of the book: A Pedagogy of Powerful Communication: Youth Radio and Radio Arts in the Multilingual Classroom, by Dana Walker] Journal of Media Literacy Education 7(3), 96 – 99.

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Pamela Steager
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