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ERIC Number: EJ864092
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
Using YouTube to Teach Presidential Election Propaganda: Twelve Representative Videos
Journell, Wayne
Social Education, v73 n7 p325-329, 362-363 Nov-Dec 2009
One of the primary goals of social studies education in the United States is to prepare students for civically active, politically informed, and socially engaged democratic citizenship. Too often, however, the curricula fall short of this goal. Textbooks and state curriculum standards tend to portray citizenship as a static concept rather than an active process that involves awareness of, and participation within, a democratic political system. This is best illustrated by the way many teachers approach presidential elections in their classrooms, a topic Haas and Laughlin argue should be "the quintessential example of teaching social studies." Yet teachers often fail to adequately prepare students to understand the nuances of presidential politics, particularly with respect to political propaganda. Civics textbooks and teachers tend to cover the relationship between media and politics, but the majority of these units center on hypothetical scenarios and abstract concepts rather than actual examples. The Internet, in particular, is a wonderful repository for examples of both historic and contemporary political television advertisements. In this article, the author provides a starting kit for using YouTube to teach presidential propaganda by listing 12 well known political advertisements found on that website, along with a short description of how each represents a certain type of campaign propaganda. Each video represents a propaganda strategy that is evident even without knowledge of a particular election or candidate. The names of the types of propaganda are largely the author's own creations, influenced by his years as a high school U.S. government teacher and the various textbooks that he used. Using popular commercial websites, particularly ones like YouTube that allow community postings, may pose problems for some educators. In fact, many schools block access to YouTube on school property. Certainly, many of the advertisements described in this article can be found on other websites or through a savvy Google search. However, YouTube has the advantage of an easy-to-use search engine and a name brand that middle and high school students recognize. At the conclusion of this article, the author offers suggestions for minimizing any risks associated with using YouTube in the classroom. (Contains 8 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States