Voices of Media Literacy: International Pioneers Speak : Neil Andersen Interview Transcript

DATE OF INTERVIEW: Friday, March 4, 2011
I invite my students to talk. In fact, I think talk is really underrated in school and I would have extended conversations with my students, whatever the issue or technology that we were discussing because, as they talked, they had to think through their relationships, their values, and their uses of things. So the talk was very useful and powerful that way, and it was also developing their ability to think and express themselves. It was a win-win in many ways.
So they would come to my class because they felt that they had an investment in it, that they were learning something about themselves rather than learning something about a subject. Those were the students, the disaffected students from the other classes that I had no discipline problems with and who enjoyed what we were doing and it was because they were inside the picture instead of outside looking in. 
Neil Andersen has taught film and/or media studies in high schools for over 30 years. He has been a computer resource teacher, helping teachers integrate technology into their curricula, and has given numerous educational keynotes and workshops across Canada, in the US, Asia, Australia and Europe. Andersen has taught media courses for teachers at the University of Toronto, York University and at Mount Saint Vincent University. He is an executive member of the Association for Media Literacy and on the Boards of the Media-Awareness Network and the Journal of Media Education. He has made movies and videos, authored student textbooks, teacher resource books including Scanning Television, journal articles, over 200 study guides, and designed interactive CDs, websites, programs, and posters. Currently, Neil is a presenter, consultant and writer. (http://cmns.athabascau.ca/featured_courses/mediaLiteracy/authors/)
Selected Questions:
Neil, why did you become involved in media education?
Earlier, you said it wasn’t so much that you found media literacy as media literacy found you. Can you elaborate?
As you became involved in media education, what were your goals?
What are some milestones that you’ve seen along the way in terms of the development of the field and how that’s affected you, your work, and vice versa?
What has surprised you as you’ve gone along?
How far do you feel the field has come and do you feel like it’s moved in the directions that you wanted to see?
Are there some steps that can be taken or are there some ways that you think this could be remedied?
Could you report a bit on your experience with students on media education through the years, what you’ve seen in terms of their responses, and how that affected your teaching?
You had mentioned that you really saw students engaged in media education who maybe weren’t engaged in school otherwise. Who are those students? What do you think the difference is?
Are there some thoughts that occur to you about the field, or observations that you’d like to share in terms of where you think the field is moving?

For complete text of interview go to PDF.