Lesson Resources – Pilot

While most of the resources in this case study are intended to help you train students, the resources listed below aim to help you think about what is important when you teach media literacy. They can also help your students think about their own perspectives on the media.

When we talk about media literacy, questions arise. Should media literacy train students to appreciate media, or to deconstruct where they come from critically? Does media literacy require students to produce media to understand them? Is production training enough to encourage critical thinking? Are students already learning enough about the media outside of class? Do students just take on the attitudes teachers want them to about television, movies, and the Internet in class, then leave those attitudes at the door when they leave?

All of these questions have been raised thoughtfully by promoters of media literacy. ReneĆ© Hobbs’s article Seven Great Debates In The Media Literacy Movement outlines major lines of thinking and disagreement in the field, and is a must-read.

While the ideas of media literacy outlets like the Media Education Foundation and books like Ben Bagdikian’s The New Media Monopoly or Robert McChesney’s Rich Media, Poor Democracy may appeal to you if you already gravitate to ideas about how the media negatively impact society, it is worth keeping in mind that your students may bring other ideas to class with them. David Buckingham has been critical in demonstrating the ways in which students do and do not adopt the ways of thinking about media presented by their teachers, and his examples are good to keep in mind as you try to get students to think harder about their favorite media properties.

Henry Jenkins and James Gee have described how students already teach themselves and learn from media properties outside of the classroom, shaping the beliefs they may bring with them. But are their engagements with media always as creative and rebellious as Jenkins suggests in Textual Poachers? Reading around a range of media literacy thinkers will help you come to your own conclusions about how people learn about the media, and what your role is in guiding that process.

The Media Show was created to be open to debate — to bring into some kind of agreement everyone’s inner Erna, the screaming fan who makes her own movies, webpages, and art about her favorite shows, and everyone’s inner Weena, who hates how manipulative the media can be. The girls’ arguments and unique perspectives are intended to sketch out each side of the debate, invite viewers to add their own perspectives, and prompt new media productions about these questions.