The Afterlives of Images- Responsible Citizenship through Media Literacy

Gloria J. Brinkman, Visual Arts, Harding University High School

Final Unit (PDF)

Implementing Common Core Standards

200 Word Synopsis

As public citizens, students need to be aware that messages they encounter through media texts can and do have a great influence on the way they think and interact with each other.  Students have a civic responsibility, therefore, to learn how to read media texts closely to determine meaning.  Images of everyday experience have become the foundation of identity in students’ media rich lives.  Not only is their cultural “age” being defined by how and when they interact with media, their very histories are being made by the social and aesthetic power of images.  Though students in today’s society have become conditioned to receive communications visually, an aesthetic sensitivity toward those visual impressions is so often lacking and the messages misinterpreted, or missed altogether.  Subsequently, it becomes a valuable and necessary personal skill for the 21st century learner to know how to read the messages of others more closely that their lives may be lived more responsibly.  This unit examines the pivotal role of the iconic photograph as a communicator of civic responsibility.  Though enraptured with the present, and its copious adolescent quandaries, this unit will ask students to look to iconic visual texts of times past to discover in their eloquence a message for tomorrow.