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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Through a Critical Lens: Teaching Literacy and Social Activism Through Documentary Production in School and Community Settings

Steven Goodman.

A case study explores the problems and possibilities of using the process of community documentary production to teach low-income students in New York City inquiry and self expression skills across print, aural, and visual literacies. Participants will screen the students' social documentary and examine a portfolio of their written and video work including drafts of their interview questions, narration, edit plans, and rough edits of their video and journal entries in an effort to understand the critical and creative literacy skills they developed. Interviews with some of the high school students will provide additional insight into the changes in their capacity to question and imagine possible solutions to the social problems they encounter at home, in school and in the streets of their urban community.

A discussion will follow regarding the pedagogical methodology and conditions that support this critical media – and community-based approach to literacy and learning in the Educational Video Center, and the institutional changes that this research suggests are needed in the American system of schooling that have historically limited it.


Steven Goodman  (United States)
Founder, Executive Director

Educational Video Center

Steven Goodman is the founding director of the Educational Video Center (EVC), a non-profit media center in New York City that teaches teenagers to create documentaries on cultural and community issues of immediate concern to them. Trained as a journalist at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, he has produced independent documentaries and has written about media arts and education for numerous books and journals.

  • Civic Engagement
  • Critical Literacy
  • Documentary Production Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Multiple Literacies
  • Social Activism
  • Urban Youth
  • Video
  • Visual Literacy
  • Youth Media

(60 min Workshop, English)