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Film Choices for Screening Literacy: The "Pygmalion Template" in the Curriculum as Contact Zone

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Journal of Curriculum Studies Volume 42, Number 4, ISSN 0022-0272


This study discusses the representation of (the) literacy (myth) in popular movies and a teaching and research project on cinematic literacy narratives. It attempts to reveal the existence of a powerful 'Pygmalion template' in contemporary movie culture. Focusing on a discourse or culture clash 'Pygmalion movies' simultaneously contribute to the discursive construction and deconstruction of the literacy myth. Because of their polysemic character, these films offer fertile grounds for inquiring into the problematic nature of literacy acquisition and discourse or culture clashes. Inviting pre-service teachers to reflect on these issues, the authors created a curriculum as contact zone in which films are used as a primary source of knowledge and insight together with students' movie analyses and interpretations, personal narratives, and theoretical readings. This exploratory study of on-line discussion groups revealed the students' contradictory and competing movie readings. Organizing the curriculum as a contact zone deepened the students' and one's own understanding of literacy as an ideological site of struggle in (movie) culture. (Contains 15 notes.)


Verdoodt, I., Rutten, K., Soetaert, R. & Mottart, A. (2010). Film Choices for Screening Literacy: The "Pygmalion Template" in the Curriculum as Contact Zone. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 42(4), 519-538. Retrieved January 27, 2023 from .

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