Voices of Media Literacy: International Pioneers Speak : Barrie McMahon Interview Transcript

DATE OF INTERVIEW: Monday, March 21, 2011
Over time, we’re asking students to be critical of everything and to constructively be critical of whatever they like, to search for how to make sense of the world. How do you construct meaning? That’s really the position in the various contests over the ideologies that were competing. I guess that’s the area that we reached eventually: The focus of media education is a sense-making process, or the making of meaning. And to me, as an educator, that was the critical factor, that was the connection between education and media. Because if it’s not rote learning, education is about how to make sense of the world.
Barrie McMahon has been a classroom teacher, media studies consultant and curriculum manager with the Department of Education and Training in Western Australia. Since his retirement he has taken up positions in the private sector and with Curtin University. He describes his current status as ‘author in search of a publisher’. His one-year fellowship in England in 1972 led to his long career focus on media education, and to his subsequent work in global media literacy. He began his career teaching English in a country town in Western Australia.
Selected Questions:
How did you become involved in media literacy?
What were some milestones for you along the way?
What were some surprises for you?
What do you see as the significance of media education?
Do you feel that the field has moved in the direction that you think best?
For complete text of interview go to PDF.