Photo Essays – Caution

A powerful way to combine media literacy and writing is through the use of photo essays.

At the same time, however, as I look at the photo sites available on line, an alarm bell goes up. We have the responsibility to select photos for our various units and must be careful. In fact, we should be just as cautious about photos and paintings we choose to show as we are about readings that we include in our units. Otherwise we run the risk of perpetuating stereotypes.

Please, as we move into this era of instruction that encourages and, in some settings, requires diversity and multi-cultural images in our presentations, let’s strive to make ethnicity incidental to our selections, and if not incidental, balanced. We’re careful to ensure that our students are not led to assume that a writer from a particular socio-economic level, race, region, nationality or religion speaks for everyone in that specific segment of society; we also should choose a balanced range of images to portray the themes in the units we plan.

As often as we can, dear friends, let’s be sensitive to the diversity of the students in our schools and in our world. There are zillions of photos out there. Let’s do our best to portray different groups the way we’d like to be portrayed if our own photos were in the mix.

See TED talk by Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story someone else recommended in another thread.

Here are links to photo essay recommended by educators:

http://www.jamesmollison.com/wherechildrensleep.php?project_id=6&p=4

http://www.time.com/time/photoessays/

http://www.uri.edu/cels/cpla/marsh/cpl200/samplePhotoEssaysOnTheWeb.pdf

 

 

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Teaching English Language Arts