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The teacher and the teaching screens: Transformations of instructional practice through film, television, and new media

, University of Southern California, United States

University of Southern California . Awarded


For the past half-century, media and technology have been consistently called on to provide a substantial portion of the learning experience for students. In effect, educational forms of film, television, and new media have in many instances supplanted the flesh-and-blood teacher as the primary source of instruction in both formal and informal educational settings. Using critical analytical approaches drawn from ethnography and film and media studies, this project explores the modes of instruction that have arisen from these new forms of media-based teaching: the teacher presented by, augmented by, and embodied by media screens. These modes of instruction are examined within the context of an expanded notion of educational discourse centering on the figure of the teacher and the notion of pedagogy distributed across bodies and media theorized as the "teacher function."

The core of the research focuses on exemplary instances of the three modes of screen instruction. First, Yale Professor Pierre Capretz and his onscreen role as teacher figure and curricular authority in the 1987 PBS French language and culture telecourse French in Action provide for an exploration of the teacher presented by the screen. Next, the author's own experience during the 1990s as a television production teacher at a Northern California high school and his use of critical media education to foster student autonomy allow for an investigation into the teacher augmented by the screen. Finally, the emerging field of pedagogical agents and the application of artificial intelligence and virtual environments to the needs of military training serve as a springboard for the study of the teacher embodied by the screen. The study concludes with an analysis of the figure of the beloved teacher and explores the desire on the part of many educational theorists to hold the physical presence of a teacher as essential to the performance of pedagogy.


Leopard, D.R. The teacher and the teaching screens: Transformations of instructional practice through film, television, and new media. Ph.D. thesis, University of Southern California. Retrieved October 14, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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