Mass Media Facilitates Acculturation of 'Literature Review' chapter

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The variables were in some instances, however, a bit too general and limited -- for example, in terms of social activity assessment both external and internal factors were measured, but this was too general to bring about any truly definitive results. The measurement of acculturation was also felt to be too general and did not include enough criteria and variables to be very effective. Nevertheless, the results of this survey in terms of the findings of the relationship between the media and acculturation were significant and noteworthy. It is also noteworthy that the measurement fro acculturation and the use of media was comprehensive and included a wide range of aspects, including exposure and media-related needs.

One of the significant findings from this survey was that the level of social knowledge was relatively low. The means score out a possible 10 ten points was 4.99 (Ryu, 1977, p. 9). Females were found to be generally lower than males in terms of cultural knowledge. Another finding that affects acculturation rates was that the results showed poor levels of relationships with American people. Less than three percent of respondents visited American people. This is also supported by the finding that there was a general ambivalence in terms of acculturation among the respondents. "…31.2 to 57.8% of expressed a neutral position" (Ryu, 1977, p. 9).

The above findings therefore place a great degree of onus on the media as an important part of the acculturation process. The study found that, " Most of the respondents indicated that they watched television when they had spare time" (Ryu, 1977, p. 14) It was also found that the media was used for information, education and entertainment (Ryu, 1977, p. 15). Television was found to be the most effective of the media in the needs list. In this regard one of the central conclusions of the study was that "…the mass media like television and newspapers serve surrogate function where immigrants tend to avoid direct contact with American people and culture" (Ryu, 1977, p. 16). Significantly, the study ends with a suggestion that there should be further research into the relationship between the media and the perception of the host people and environment.

An article that deals with the various media effects on both ethnic identity and acculturation is Media Effects on Ethnic Identity Among Linguistic Majorities

and Minorities (2005). This is a useful study in terms of some of the central findings that it makes. The research deals with media effects in the acculturation process. In terms of methodology the study make use of a longitudinal design. The respondents were from minority and majority groups who attended a bilingual university.

A fundamental issue that is addressed in the study is the view that "…the kind of information received from the media has implications for how we view our own culture, as well as other cultures" (Clement R. et al. 2005, p. 399). The study also notes that there is paucity in research into the effects of long-term intercultural media usage on group identification (Clement R. et al. 2005, p. 399).

The complex interaction between acculturation, ethnic and social polarity and confluence, and language, are explored on this study. The results of the study provide some interesting and valuable views and data. A central finding was that the minority Francophile students were not affected in terms of their ethnic identity by the predominantly English media exposure. An interesting result that affects the present study is that, while books and television were found to play a significant role in the acculturation process of foreign students, radio and music media were not seen to play the same role. This is a facet of this subject that can be compared to the study of music and acculturation that will be explored in the next section of this literary review.

One conclusion from the findings is that the media is responsible for both cultural and ethnic assimilation and polarity. More importantly in terms of the present study, it was found that media exposure and usage over time showed that the media, by influencing identity profiles and language confidence, "…promotes societal level changes in the ethnic composition of the population" (Clement R. et al. 2005, p. 418).

Specific Media Aspects and Acculturation

Media and its function in learning and acculturation are explored from another perspective in an article by Hsiu-Ting (2009) entitled Learners' Perceived Value of Video as Mediation in Foreign Language Learning. One of the advantages that the author notes of video learning and education is that it is "…often associated with qualitative methods and approaches which study phenomena in socio-cultural and naturalistic contexts" (Hsiu-Ting, 2009, pp.171-172). This implies that the potential that video has in learning in the acculturation process. This also refers to the "…rich…linguistic and contextual information" that this medium can provide to the foreign adult. (Hsiu-Ting, 2009, pp.72). However, the study also noted that there is a relative paucity of research on the way that video is used in the language classroom and its impact on learning (Hsiu-Ting, 2009, p.172).

The study therefore focuses on the value of video in the classroom and its effect on oral proficiency. A number of important theoretical views are taken into account -- for example, the view that there is a distinction between media and method in teaching and that it is not the media that instructs but rather the method that is embedded in the media. This also refers to the view put forward by other theorists that there should be a focus on the role that media plays in learning rather than the effects of media on learning (Hsiu-Ting, 2009, p 173). The author approaches these issues from a constructivist perspective, which emphasizes the stance that "…learning is a mental activity of meaning construction" (Hsiu-Ting, 2009, p 174). This is also explored in terms of the concept of the means of mediation and the relationship between tools, signs and actions.

The study is also useful in that it provides a brief but insightful overview of the history of the use of video in instruction. What is significant in the context of the present study is the view that there are results for many studies which stress that video can be used effectively to enhance the student's culture learning and therefore by implication the acculturation process.

The study also focuses on the important area of the way that video can be used to enhance education and culture learning through the creation of videos by students themselves. The actual study involved a sample of 26 Taiwanese EFL (English Foreign Language learners) and a number of video-enhanced reflection exercises. Data was created through a number of intensive methods which included classroom observation as well as the collection of journals and participative interviews. Therefore, although the data sample was relatively small, the methods of data collection were comprehensive and provided a useful range and depth of interesting results. On the whole there was a positive response from the students with regards to the learning potential of video. However, there were a few negative comments as well, such as the view that video increased the students sense of "stage fright" and therefore retarded the personal learning process. The view that visualization was a process that helped second -- language learners was also expressed. These results can also be fruitfully applied to the issue of acculturation.

Music is another form of media that is referred to in the literature that possibly facilitates acculturation. The article, American Music Immersion: Influencing Factors and Its Impact on Taiwanese EFL by Robert Beasley ( 2008) explores the factors that influence American Music Immersion or AMI in Taiwanese English as foreign language students. The aim of the study was to ascertain if and to what extent immersion and exposure to American music was a positive influence in vocabulary improvement among students as well as in literacy improvement.

The methodology was centered on the question of what demographic factors affect and influence American music immersion. Another question put forward was whether AMI was a predictor of changes in the vocabulary level of students as well as in their level of life-style literacy.

In order to deal with these central questions the respondents were given certain questions, which included the following: how often do you listen to American music; how often do you download American music from the Internet and how would you rate your familiarity with American music? (Beasley, 2008, p.31). This was linked to a website and to a research deign that examined different levels of exposure to American music. The web site was also designed to test the respondents in terms of learning activities related to the music

The issue of music as a mean of learning in the EFL classroom refers to aspects such as learning via the lyrics of songs. This means that common phrases and grammar used in popular music can benefit…

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