Teaching Media Literacy

Assumption College Undergraduate

Assumption education students take courses like EDU 325 Literacy Development and Instruction, which includes a practicum in the field, where students study literacy from a development perspective and work through every stage. This may also include ideas, theory and practices on teaching research methods that promote finding the most reliable information and the best ways to cite sources.

Teaching media literacy — a person’s creative and critical abilities to analyze, consume and produce media — is an important piece in an educator’s repertoire.

If you are going to teach secondary education, and even at the elementary level, there’s no doubt the use of the Internet and data — whether it’s a mobile app or a webpage — is central to much of what your students will do in and outside of school.

There are a number of ways for teachers to share information with their students and explain to students the importance of media literacy, including the ability to read and evaluate a piece of information’s level of accuracy, bias and reliability.

The education resource blog Edutopia, assessed 770 seventh graders and found 70 percent of respondents suggested that:

  • Middle school students are more concerned with content relevance than with credibility.
  • They rarely attend to source features such as author, venue or publication type to evaluate reliability and author perspective.
  • When they do refer to source features in their explanations, their judgments are often vague, superficial and lack reasoned justification.

Edutopia writes about a few ways you can teach media literacy, including talking with students about the multiple levels of source evaluation (relevance, accuracy, bias, reliability), the importance of taking time to explicitly model ways to practice, and giving your students the opportunities to “seek multiple perspectives and new ways of thinking about content.”

Cyndy Scheibe and Faith Rogow have written 12 Basic Ways to Integrate Media Literacy and Critical Thinking into any Curriculum.

“The approaches are based on the concept of weaving media literacy training into the curriculum whenever and wherever possible throughout the school year. Routine integration is much more effective than simply treating media literacy as a special, isolated topic,” Scheibe and Rogow said.

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