Sunday, June 08, 2008


Filmmaker George Lucus has been interviewed discussing how we should rethink the way we teach communications skills to young people and that should not only be about grammar and punctuation, but other associated skills like interpreting art, color, and perspective. Lucus, who is also the publisher of Edutopia Magazine says, “Art and music are usually thought of as therapeutic or fun, but not approached as a very valid form of communication.”

An eight minute video by the George Lucus Foundation includes a segment on the
Greater Brunswick Charter School in New Brunswick, NJ where a teacher works with the class to analyze an advertisement. Voices of Hope Productions also interviewed numerous teachers, staff and kids at this school for the New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) short film, Invest in Change because NJCC helped to finance the school. The Jacob Burns Center in Pleasantville, New York is also highlighted for their work with 8000 children who can access communications classes. 4th graders are shown learning how to produce animated shorts.

Students and teachers throughout the country are not only making media, but are dissecting newspapers and advertising and critically analyzing the messages held within. This video illustrates that writing along with critical thinking skills and media analysis instructs young people on how to become well-rounded individuals. Hopefully in the future we will see this more consistently as the traditional classroom experience. One where the student will not only learn grammar and writing, but will also be exposed to graphics, cinema, illustration, animation and music--taught in a basic class called communications. As Lucus explains, communications should be taught as a language all its own and not as an “arty thing, but a practical tool to be used to sell, to influence people, get your point across and to communicate with other people, especially at an age where kids are using more and more multi-media.”

Read the
Edutopia article

Watch the Voices of Hope Productions’ video "Analyze this: Message in the Media"