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ERIC Number: EJ879830
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0013-1946
Representations of Teachers' and Students' Inquiry in 1950s Television and Film
Ryan, Patrick A.; Townsend, Jane S.
Educational Studies: Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, v46 n1 p44-66 2010
In examining images of the 1950s fictional teacher, scholars have discussed gender roles and stereotypes, but media analysis generally focuses on sociological and political trends, such as the Cold War and the cultural construction of meaning through audience reception. Television and film studies also include attention to teaching media literacy and the use of media as a means of instruction. By studying visual representations of fictional teachers in the act of teaching and the acceptance of these images through television ratings and box office earnings, one could determine expectations regarding educational purposes and their compatibility with professed public educational policy in the 1950s. Because, today, a similar policy environment has emerged with an essentialist accountability model of high-stakes testing with quantitatively measured standards while teachers still employ progressive, student-centered strategies, analyzing these postwar images can inform the understanding of public expectations about teachers' roles and students' learning environments in the twenty-first century. Using Judith Lindfors's definition of inquiry, this article evaluates depictions of the learning process to discover the extent to which progressive or essentialist educational models prevail in these media representations. Lindfors defines inquiry as the act of turning toward another for help in understanding. The purposes for inquiry include information-seeking, sense-making, and wondering, and forms of inquiry are not necessarily in interrogative sentences. In fact, although perhaps canonical, the interrogative form does not always embody true inquiry, but may, instead, create pretender events as a means for managing behaviors, for testing someone's knowledge, or for enacting other intentions. Because engaging in acts of inquiry involves turning to someone for help with explanations and explorations, this process can be an imposition, but knowledge is also co-constructed through multiple perspectives. Where lessons are guided by students' own inquiry and concentrate on their own information-seeking, sense-making, and wondering, the classroom environment aligns with a progressive approach. A more essentialist-informed classroom would focus less on student-initiated inquiry and adopt a transmission, "banking" model, where the teacher, as the source of knowledge, deposits information into students' minds. (Contains 28 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A