Medial Critique

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Students are required to submit a media critique that’s based on a major report (e.g., The Sexualization of children in the Media), a film or movie, or a series of articles published in a national news outlet (e.g., the New York Times or the Washington Post, Newsweek, Science, etc.). The questions are primarily concerned with how accurate or misleading is the information that is presented in this form of media.

Purpose of assignment: To measure students’ ability to:

(1) Explain the child development event, or issue (i.e., child rearing practices, marital considerations, reproductive technologies, healthcare policies);

(2) Apply the concepts and major theoretical approaches to the assigned case in resolving a child development situation, i. e., mental or developmental disorder, psychosocial change or trauma, or a moral dilemma; which theorist

(3) Use research (journal articles, newspapers, movies and online sources) to evaluate and distinguish the influences of heredity, environmental context and cultural values in their case scenario;

(4) Apply ethical principles to “best” resolve or alleviate the problem in their assigned case;

(5) Use information literacy skills to locate appropriate research and other relevant community resources and materials to create an informative class presentation.


Suggested Topics

How are children’s representation of gender schemas shaped by media contributions?

How are children’s representation of emotional development shaped by media contributions?

How does the media misrepresent poverty in America, which reinforces stereotypes and biases of African Americans and other ethnic groups?

African American youth’s perceptions of racial discrimination?

Are African Americans and Latinos represented as lawbreakers more than Whites?

Film Review

To earn credit, ask students to watch one (or more) of the mainstream films listed below from the first 6 chapters and write a brief report (3−5 pages). Students should summarize the plot of the film in sufficient detail to demonstrate familiarity, but should focus their papers on the depiction of human growth and development. What errors or liberties did the filmmaker take? What is the message (implicit or explicit) concerning the manner in which different people develop? The paper should be in APA format.

Suggested Movies

Now and Then (1995)

Starring Christina Ricci, Rosie ODonnell, Thora Birch, Melanie Griffith, Gaby Hoffman, Demi Moore, Ashleigh Aston Moore, Rita Wilson

Directed by Lesli Linka Glatter

Four childhood friends gather together to prepare for the birth of a baby. While together, they reminisce about one memorable summer when they promised to be there for each other.


Stand by Me (1986)

Starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, Jerry OConnell, Kiefer Sutherland

Directed by Rob Reiner

A classic film based on Stephen Kings short story The Body, Stand by Me is told by the narrator, looking back on his preteen days when he and three friends went on their own to find the body of another kid their age who had gone missing and was presumed dead. Still struggling with the death of his older brother, the young boy is compelled to set out with his three best friends for an adventure none of them will ever forget.

Jack (1996)


Starring: Robin Williams, Diane Lane, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Cosby, Fran Drescher, Brian Kerwin

Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

This fun but dramatic film is about a boy with a unique aging disorder that makes him age four times faster than normal children. Various problems ensue such as going to school for the first time and trying to become friends with children his age, causing emotional stress,


and not just physical issues, for young Jack.


Little Man Tate (1991)

Starring: Jodie Foster, Adam Hann-Byrd, Dianne Wiest, Harry Connick Jr., David Hyde Pierce

Directed by Jodie Foster

It is discovered that a young boy is a genius. His single mother is determined to ensure that while her son has all the opportunities that he needs, he is not taken advantage of by people who forget that his extremely powerful intellect is housed in the body of a young and sensitive child.


Immediate Family (1989)

Starring: Glenn Close, James Woods, Mary Stuart Masterson, Kevin Dillon

Directed by Jonathan Kaplan

Married 10 years, an infertile couple turns to adoption. Through an agency, they meet a teenage single mother. They spend time together, eventually creating a bond, and she agrees to sign away custody to the couple. But things dont go exactly as planned, and they are all emotionally tested waiting for the young girl to do the right thing.


Mask (1985)

Starring: Cher, Sam Elliott, Eric Stoltz, Dennis Burkley, Laura Dern, Estelle Getty

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich

A boy with a massive facial skull deformity attempts to live a normal life. He is extremely intelligent, has a wonderful personality, and is an emotionally warm child. His mother lives a wild lifestyle but is determined that her son be given the same chances and happiness that everyone else takes for granted.

The World According to Garp (1982)

Starring: Robin Williams, Mary Beth Hurt, Glenn Close, John Lithgow, Mark Soper

Directed by George Roy Hill

Based on the novel by John Irving, this film chronicles the life of writer T. S. Garp and his mother, Jenny Fields. The characters take the viewer on a roller coaster ride from birth to death, with many life-altering and life-affecting events in between.

Awakenings (1990)

Starring: Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner, and John Heard

Directed by Penny Marshall

This film is based on a true story about neurologist Oliver Sacks, who has a ward full of comatose patients who have been in this state for decades. When Sacks finds a possible chemical cure, one patient bravely takes a leap of faith. The patient is now an adult, having gone into a coma in his early teens. The film delights in the new awareness experienced by the patients, and then the upsets that come when the doctor and his patients must face the consequences of the drug’s possible failure, both physically and emotionally.




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