The Critical Reading of the Images Associated with Science-Related News Reports: Establishing a knowledge, skills, and attitudes framework

Ruth Jarman, Billy McClune, Eric Pyle, Gangolf Braband

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    For the majority of adults, the media constitute their main source of information about science and science-related matters impacting on society. To help prepare young people to engage with science in the media, teachers are being exhorted to equip their students with the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to respond critically to science-related news reports. Typically, such reports comprise not only text, but also visual elements. These images are not simply adjuncts to the written word; they are integral to meaning-making. Though science teachers make considerable use of newspaper images, they tend to view these representations unproblematically, underestimating their potential ambiguity, complexity, and role in framing media messages. They rarely aim to develop students’ ability to ‘read’, critically, such graphics. Moreover, research into how this might be achieved is limited and, consequently, research-informed guidance which could support this instruction is lacking. This paper describes a study designed to formulate a framework for such teaching. Science communication scholars, science journalists and media educators with acknowledged relevant expertise were surveyed to ascertain what knowledge, skills, and attitudes they deemed useful to engagement with science related news images. Their proposals were recast as learning intentions (instructional objectives), and science and English teachers collaborated to suggest which could be addressed with secondary school students and the age group best suited to their introduction. The outcome is an inventory of learning intentions on which teachers could draw to support their planning of instructional sequences aimed at developing students’ criticality in respect of the totality of science news reports.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)103-129
    Number of pages27
    JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
    Volume2
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

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