Media Literacy: Learning Principles

By Hobbs, Renee | Nieman Reports, Summer 2011 | Go to article overview

Media Literacy: Learning Principles


Hobbs, Renee, Nieman Reports


Educators are discovering what works best to build critical thinking and communication skills when it comes to exploring news and information. These learning principles hold their own no matter what the level of education is and are an integral part of Powerful Voices for Kids, a Philadelphia-based program of digital and media literacy education for grade school students.

Start from the learner's interests. A news event as a teaching tool must be timely, local and relevant. Learners, not the teacher, select the topic to examine, exploring issues that are personally meaningful and relevant.

Connect comprehension and analysis. Learners build reading comprehension and analysis skills through close reading as a way of both understanding what the news is about along with appreciating its form and structure.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Ask critical questions and listen well. Practice asking questions, which is more important than having answers. Respect and value multiple perspectives that arise in the responses. Learners, not just the teacher, ask questions, and as students offer answers, they demonstrate reasoning and present evidence to support their ideas. The teacher is not the exclusive font of knowledge. The teacher listens carefully and helps to create a foundation of knowledge through questioning, searching for new information, developing ideas, and listening with openness, curiosity and respect. …

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