George Lucas on Teaching Visual Literacy and Communications
Articles,  Blog

George Lucas on Teaching Visual Literacy and Communications

>>The issue we’re discussing here
in terms of multimedia literacy is that we stress so hard learning
English and learning English grammar and then we shove music and art and most schools don’t
even get into cinema. We move those over into some
sort of artistic which means sort of therapeutic or fun thing. It’s not approached as a very
valid form of communication. Kids know this. When you take a five year old,
they can speak, they can use words, they don’t know how
to write very well and they may not know much
grammar, but they know how to speak, they also know music, they may
not know the grammar of music, they know cinema because they spend
a huge amount of time in front of the television so they
know visual communication, they know the moving image. They intuitively know
a lot of the rules, but nobody’s actually
taught them anything, anymore than they’ve taught them
anything about grammar in English. So we go through school
and then later on we start to learn the grammar of English, you
have punctuation, capital letters, you’ll run on sentences,
what a verb is. But nobody teaches anybody
about what screen direction is, what perspective is, what color
is, what a diagonal line means. Those are rules; those
are grammatical rules that appear in an art class. If you’ve taken art class, the first
thing you’ll do is get into graphics and you start learning well
a jagged line means this and a blue color means this
or red color means that. So if you’re trying to convince
somebody that what you want to do is excite them, then
you use red or yellow. If you’re doing it with music
then you use a fast rhythm, not a slow rhythm. You don’t have to teach them
necessarily how to read music and you don’t need to have to
teach them how to be an artist, but you do have to teach them how
to use the grammar of the language. Somehow we’ve gotten to the point
where the words have gotten way up here and these other forms of
communications, which all started out equal and at the beginning,
much more equal before we had words. Somehow in the educational system
they’ll need to be balanced out. So the kids could communicate using
all of the forms of communication, not just put it into little
categories and say you really need to learn how to use a verb;
that’s much more important than learning perspective or
learning screen direction. But it’s not really, especially in
this day and age where the power of multimedia is coming
to the children. It used to be like with cinema, only the very elite
professionals worked in this medium. But now anybody can work in it.>>Are we talking about
a new way of teaching?>>It is a different way of teaching in that I think English classes
should broaden themselves and my personal thing
I think we should rename English to be– I mean I know in some
schools we call it language arts, but I think it should be
renamed communication. It’s a communication class and
you learn the English language, learn how to write, you learn
grammar, but you also learn graphics. If you take graphics out of the art
department, take cinema and put it into the schools, take music
out of the music department. If you want to learn how to play an
instrument, if you want to learn how to be a composer, then you can
go to the music department. If you want to learn how to do
beautiful renditions of paintings and follow the great artists
then you go into art class. But if you really want to
just learn how to communicate, then what is the basic
grammar of communication then that should be taught basically
in the communications class, it shouldn’t be taught in
some esoteric arty thing, it should be taught as a very
practical tool that you use to sell and influence people and
to get your point across and to communicate to other people.

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