'Like Shakespeare it's a Good Thing': Cultural Value in the Classroom'

Bragg, Sara (2006). 'Like Shakespeare it's a Good Thing': Cultural Value in the Classroom'. Media International Australia Special Issue on Media Literacy: Value, Identity, Authority, 120 pp. 130–141.

URL: http://emsah.uq.edu.au/mia/issues/miacp120.html


Questions of cultural value, aesthetics and evaluative judgments have vexed media education since its inception. Whilst they continue to count heavily both in teachers’ conceptions of the work they do, and in students’ responses to it, they have become increasingly problematic in contemporary society. The diverse environments of contemporary schools and the capacity of new media technologies to foster different taste communities have contributed to the dispersal of cultural authority and undermined traditional judgments. This article addresses how we might approach cultural value through a case study approach, exploring multiple value judgments deployed by teachers and students in post-16 classroom practice. It shows how current pedagogical thinking about cultural value does not take into account the complexity of classroom life, particularly its social relations and young people’s awareness of the valorised identities and ‘supervisory discourses’ that circulate there. It explores specific educational practices that might make it possible for students to enter into debates about value, taste and preference.

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