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Student Research Guide WQ23/ The Teaching Power of Fictional Television


Throughout history, fictional television has become a teaching tool and nurtures an inclusive society.


The Teaching Power of Fictional Television

This is a student created research guide for English 102 & Library 201 Learning community


Research Thesis: Throughout history, fictional television has become a teaching tool and nurtures an inclusive society.

The research questions are...

  • What stereotypes do we see throughout history?
  • Do stereotypes change over time?
  • How is fictional television an educational medium?
  • How does fictional television create an inclusive environment?


In a world where television is a part of our daily lives, the plots and stories viewed on the screen become dear to those who watch them. Because of the closeness these stories become, their influence on the world can go unnoticed at first. From the characters to the setting, to the decade in time, these factors and the way they are presented influence how things they represent are perceived. In this way, fictional television leads by example instead of words, which is harder to recognize. However, it is important to be able to do so because this ability can be used for both good and bad. It gets to decide whether it reinforces positive stereotypes or negative ones. Fictional Television has become a teaching tool and nurtures an inclusive society, but it didn’t always do as good of a job as it did now and was even harmful. So what did fictional television do to change, and was it for the better? The research was done by using keywords in databases like Google Scholar, university websites, Credo Reference, and ProQuest. As the research progressed, hyperlinks from article to article became very useful and led to both credible and legitimate sources. The researching process helped mold a stronger thesis and understanding of the history of fictional television. Fictional television presents characters in specific ways to appeal to the audience. At the beginning of its history, creators were much more ignorant of its effects on the people watching, some even hostile. As both technology advanced and people developed a stronger need for change fictional television adapted too. It will be necessary to continue being aware of the consequences of what is put on screen and how to utilize it for better inclusion and community education. Passive consumption of fictional television has become more active and continues to call for higher standards.

Background Information

When television began to gain popularity, there was a lot to learn about the impacts it would have on the public. Throughout history, the responsibility required of creators and directors of television increased. This increase was caused by the real-life impact of shows and movies that supported or emphasized negative traits or behaviors directed at specific groups of people. Startin from the earliest minstrel shows to the most recent movies, it can be seen how different portrayals of characters and settings teach people about what they might expect or should be expecting. These imposed expectations can be harmful. Daniel Thomas Cook, author of Children and Childhood Studies discusses this, “The media visibility of the series, of their characters, and of their interpreters is an attractive factor for any brand. It benefits from the strong complicity existing between a specific television series and its audience. However, such a managerial leverage poses ethical questions” (Cook, 2020). The relationship television and its stories have on people can take effect on their views of others, for better or worse. The visibility and popularity of television series is impactful and utilized in several ways to have specific effects on the audience. 


This video shows how fiction is meaningful, and how it can be a teacher and shapes our lives. It teaches a lesson on how fictional media influences the minds of people and their perspectives, serving as inspirations and a place for teaching about the real world in their everyday lives.
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