Popular Media

Popular Media

The popular media plays an important role in raising the public?s awareness about exceptionalities. However, character portrayals of exceptionalities can also perpetuate stereotypes and occasionally present information that is blatantly false.

Your assignment is to select a fictional character from either television or a movie who exhibits one of the exceptionalities covered in class and critically analyze the character, identifying both pros and cons of the role played. Note the character does NOT need to be a child or adolescent ? it can be an adult as long as it is someone who displays an exceptionality we discuss in class.

The essay must rely on one academic research article.

Popular Media’s Portrayal of Exceptionalities

Learning Objectives:
1)    Gain an in-depth understanding of one child/adolescent exceptionality discussed in class
2)    Consider the popular media’s role in educating the public about exceptionalities
3)    Critically analyze one character’s portrayal of an exceptionality
4)    Demonstrate an ability to research exceptionalities by finding one research article from a journal in the area and identifying one reputable website.

Assignment:
The popular media plays an important role in raising the public’s awareness about exceptionalities. However, character portrayals of exceptionalities can also perpetuate stereotypes and occasionally present information that is blatantly false.

Your assignment is to select a fictional character from either television or a movie who exhibits one of the exceptionalities covered in class and critically analyze the character, identifying both pros and cons of the role played. Note the character does NOT need to be a child or adolescent – it can be an adult as long as it is someone who displays an exceptionality we discuss in class.

First, I strongly encourage you to confirm the appropriateness of your character choice with me by cuLearn– just email me the name of your character, the TV show/movie, and the exceptionality at your earliest convenience (e.g., TV Show Monk, character Monk, exceptionality Anxiety (OCD)).

Second, select one research article (i.e., a journal article that may or may not be a review article) and identify one reputable website that provides information on your chosen exceptionality beyond what is presented in your textbook. (Note that either a paper copy or PDF of the journal article you selected MUST be included with your paper when it is handed in).

Third, using your knowledge of the exceptionality, write a brief paper critically analyzing the character’s portrayal as follows:

1)    Describe the exceptionality in detail – 4 points
2)    Describe the character you selected in the context of the TV show or movie – 2 points
3)    Analyze the role, identifying two characteristics well portrayed – 4 points
4)    Analyze the role, identifying two characteristics poorly portrayed such as stereotypes, false information, etc. – 4 points
5)    Summarize, indicating whether or not you think the character’s portrayal is helpful to individuals with this exceptionality – 2 points
6)    Use correct spelling and proper grammar; include at minimum four references (your textbook, journal article, exceptionality website, and an internet reference for the TV show/movie of your choice from a site like the Internet Movie Database – IMDb.com –  or Wikipedia) – 4 points
Length of the assignment:
•    Maximum FOUR page analysis with a mandatory 12 point font size, double spaced (note that we will stop marking after four pages)
•    References in APA format
•    Attached copy of journal article referenced

Copy must include a copy of the journal article referenced unless a PDF has been uploaded at the same time as your assignment.

FAQ
1.     Multiple exceptionalities
Comorbitiy is common in real life and on screen. Remember that the goal of the assignment is to show your knowledge of ONE exceptionality…if your character meets criteria for more than one exceptionality, choose the most representative one or the one you are most interested in to discuss. Do not attempt to discuss more than one exceptionality – you only have 4 pages!
2.    If we choose a character who is an adult that portrays the exceptionality would the journal article then address the exceptionality in adulthood or should it still address the exceptionality of childhood?
The journal article can refer to the exceptionality in adults. Just be sure the reference is an actual research article (not a newspaper, magazine, internet article, etc).
3.    if we need to reference the information we share about the character and their exceptionality in the text or if we just list them on the references pages at the end of the essay
if you were writing a formal APA style research article, you always need to indicate where the information came from by citing it in the text of the document and formally referencing that citation in the back.
4.     I’d like to do my paper on a person who has been diagnosed with an exceptionality (like Becky with Down Syndrome on Glee). Can I?
Part of the assignment goal is to critique someone’s PORTRAYAL of an exceptionality. It will be impossible to critique the portrayal of an exceptionality if the person actually HAS the exceptionality (i.e., they are not acting). Not a good choice for the assignment.
5.    I found a great newspaper/magazine article, can I use that as my reference?
You can use it as a reference, but it won’t count as the research article you’ve been requested to find. The research article MUST be a journal article that may or may not be a review article. If you are not sure what a journal article is, please don’t hesitate to ask myself or your teaching assistants

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