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The Society for Cinema and Media Studies (SCMS) conference will be in Toronto this year. Please come to the workshop I'm chairing on Wednesday, March 14 from 3-4:45pm: "Not Just Kidding Around: On Teaching Children's Media" considers the absence of children's films in film studies curriculum (despite the fact that they carry a 20% market share in the industry).

This is a problematic omission for understanding film culture, as children’s films have increased in market share from 5% in 1995 to nearly 20% in 2017. The assumption is often that younger audience equates to a simpler text, and professors must deal with the legacy of media effects research, which often leads to knee-jerk and oversimplified assumptions (“Disney princesses are bad!”) and the construction of a completely passive child spectator. Rarely, too, do we discuss how children’s media is designed with a bilateral address to both children and adults, serving as a meditation on what it means to be a parent as much as what it means to be a child. As a “low” or unworthy genre, professors may also have to deal with administrations unable to see the value in teaching a course on kids’ films. But by demonstrating the overlap with psychology, social work, or education, the case can be made to administration in logical (and financial) terms.

Pedagogy is a neglected subject in media studies, and this workshop promises a positive, collaborative, and supportive atmosphere. This will be a “best practices”-style workshop, and facilitators will cover several areas of course design and pedagogy (including film selection, assignments, discussion exercises, and working with administration) with sample materials and hands-on activities to demonstrate. This comes at an important time for our 2018 conference, as the “Children’s and Youth Media and Culture” scholarly interest group is merely a year old, and this workshop would aid in our community-building and recruitment efforts.

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