CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Walter Werner and Kenneth Nixon

London (Ont.), Althouse Press, 1990. 81pp, paper, $12.95
ISBN 0-920354-27-0. CIP

Reviewed by Irene J. Karasick.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

The Media and Public Issues originated from the Multicultural Education Materials Animation Project (MEMPAP). It was produced to provide practical support for teachers in their own initiatives to address issues related to multiculturalism in the classroom, and in that capacity, with its clarity of expression and workbook applications, it fulfils its purpose. This slim volume also provides a wide range of references in its generous bibliography.

The principals involved in the project agreed that the development of materi­als, such as this book, could be used by teachers to provide "pedagogical bridges among provincial curricula, multicultural materials and the class­room in order to encourage the imple­mentation of multicultural education." The Media and Public Issues, which addresses controversial multicultural issues and the way in which they are discussed and reported by media, is meant to be used as an approach for enabling students to develop critical mindedness - a skill pertinent for issues related to multicultural educa­tion.

The introduction of this volume points to "our dependence upon the mass media - television, radio, newsmagazines and newspapers - for understanding national and global issues." The media are powerful agencies vital to our information-based society. For this reason, concerns have been raised about how they present both national and global issues. "It has been said that the interests of visible minorities tended to be "either ignored, stereotyped, or portrayed only in troubled circumstances" as compared with white middle-class society. Such presentations may influence the atti­tudes of young people in negative ways. Through questions and exercises, the book offers students ways of counteract­ing media influence.

Teachers are encouraged to have their students analyze the content and politics of public issues and evaluate the ways in which those issues are pre­sented by the media. The exercises serve to clarify the issues by posing questions about what, when, where, how, who and why. Concepts useful for the analysis of issues together with suggested classroom applications are discussed in each chapter. The ques­tions are focused on the content of public issues as presented by the media and challenge the student to challenge the media interpretations.

Terms like "issues," "arguments" and "manipulation" are clarified by explanation and discussion. The variety of applications gives students an opportunity to test and develop their critical mindedness. For example, one application is designed as a framework for teaching students how to analyze the content of a public issue by learning to distinguish an issue from a non-issue. Then, presented with questions central to the issue, students clarify by identify­ing values and empirical and conceptual claims within arguments. Each chap­ter's topic is treated similarly.

The book is one of a series of books which originated from MEMPAP and complements one other recently pub­lished edition in the MEMPAP series, entitled Decoding Discrimination. Both books are important additions to curriculum development on multicultural education/issues.

Irene J. Karasick, Winnipeg, Man.
line indexes


1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995


The materials in this archive are copyright © The Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission Copyright information for reviewers

Young Canada Works