An investigation of critical thinking and media influence among Norwegian EFL learners: Media representations of class.
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This thesis is an exploration of practices, perceptions and media influence in one group-specific case. Adolescents’ involvement in digital technology and media is widely discussed today. One of the aims of this study is therefore to investigate how media actually contribute in shaping adolescents’ views on the world and the people in it. The current master’s thesis is intended for the field of English didactics and aims to investigate Norwegian secondary school learners’ perceptions of high- and low socio-economic class people in the United States. The thesis will explore whether or not the participants’ perceptions are influenced by media portrayals, and if they undertake a critical position when discussing the two socio-economic classes. The critical media literacy approach is relevant when exploring how critical adolescents are towards media portrayals. Research on media influence and critical thinking in relation to the EFL subject and the Norwegian educational program is presented and discussed in this thesis. The importance of the EFL subject and the Norwegian educational program to consider critical thinking in connection with media influence in Norwegian schools today is also emphasised. The new Core Curriculum and other white papers such as the Knowledge Promotion of 2006 (LK06), the English subject curriculum and The Framework for Basic Skills are central here. Both qualitative and quantitative data material have been gathered. The participants in this research are 24 pupils from a 9th-grade EFL class and their English teacher, located in a rural district of western Norway. The data is based on a questionnaire (pupils), an interview (teacher) and focus group discussions (pupils). The findings of this study indicate that several of the participants’ perceptions are influenced by media, and that some of the participants have acquired somewhat stereotypical perceptions. However, several participants do show that they are able to critically reflect upon the one-sidedness of media portrayals. These findings suggest that the participants are able to critically reflect upon media messages, but that they are reliant on being challenged in their perceptions.
Master in Education with English Didactics Department of Language, Literature, Mathematics and Interpreting Submission Date: May 15th 2019