Putting Media Literacy In The Elementary School Curriculum

from the seems-like-a-good-idea dept

Since much of what we seem to focus on here is about the way various people and organizations “spin” stories to prove a point, I think it’s increasingly important that people learn (at an early age, if possible) to be skeptical about how ideas are presented to them, and learn to be more discerning in asking deeper questions and looking for additional context. That’s why it’s encouraging to find out that many schools are adding a “media literacy” component to their English programs, where students learn just how easy it is to manipulate or spin a message. While some complain that this is just teaching kids “pop culture”, I would disagree. It’s a way to help develop critical thinking skills at a very young age. In a world where everyone seems focused on only presenting their side of the story, getting people, at a very young age, to realize that there are many sides (not just two) to every story is important – and is likely to be a very practical skill for anyone to have. Of course, already, you do have to wonder who they get to teach these courses, and if they’ll have their own spin to put on it as well. Perhaps such courses should have multiple teachers with multiple points of view, just to prove the point. Found via JD’s New Media Musings.

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Comments on “Putting Media Literacy In The Elementary School Curriculum”

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Chris ODonnell says:

No Subject Given

I don’t think we need school teachers for this. Let them get the reading, writing, and arithmetic figured out first! However, there is no excuse for parents not engaging in this activity. We do it all the time- asking our kids what they think of a particular commercical, etc. Both of mine are extrememly skeptical of just about everything at first, but of course I can’t prove any connection between our efforts and that. They might just be natural cynics – like their father 😉

thecaptain says:

Re: No Subject Given

There may be a need for parents to be involved but it is my opinion that critical thinking has been so long out of the curriculum at a fundamental level that we NEED teachers focusing on this AS MUCH as reading and writing and math.

Parents these days cannot teach their children critical thinking…most of us have been raised (unintentionally or intentionally…you decide) to be consumer and political sheep. How else do you explain the success of reality tv shows? Or the vapid trends you see in advertising? Or how well “spin” works in most scandals and our 10-second soundbyte attention span?

You are exceptional by what you do with your kids, and I salute you sir. However, you have what 90% of people out there do not, you can think critically.

Teaching your kids to question what they are told is the first step in having them grasp true intelligence. We can’t ONLY trust parents to do this because no one has done it for them…you can’t teach what you don’t know.

Just hang around the water cooler and listen at times…before long you’ll catch how blindly a LOT of people listen to what media feeds us. We could USE a little more cynicism out there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Critical thinking is missing

Media critism and critiquing skills are extremely important in today’s world. My wife was a schoolteacher, and a good media critic. But none of her fellow K-6 public school staff members were remotely qualified to teach this. I can’t remember meeting a more naive group of people.
I’d say that at least college age kids have The Daily Show with John Stewart to poke fun at the media, and various biases. 🙂

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