Lost in translation

January 26, 2007

Your report on the University of Central England's research bemoaning media undergraduates' lack of critical readiness ("Students unable to cope with media studies' rigour", January 19) lost much in translation.

I attended the presentation of this paper and the discussion that ensued into the complexities of media study at GCSE and A level. The focus of the research is media literacy, which is just one (contested) strand of media education.

The apparent "disconnect" between what the UCE teachers want and their further education counterparts "deliver" cannot be understood in isolation from performance indicators, widening participation, the expansion of higher education, questions about theory and practice (and how they relate), the problematic Ofcom agenda for media literacy, the lack of teacher training for media teachers and the fact that English education has colonised media studies entirely on its own terms.

The way your report summarised the paper adds yet more weight to lazy assumptions about the "academic superiority" of higher education without bearing witness to the political context in which further education media practitioners labour.

Julian McDougall
Newman College of Higher Education, Birmingham

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