My Journey Home Armando Pena Andrew Lam Faith Adiele
Your Journey HomeFor TeachersAbout the film
For Teachers
My Journey Home and Media Literacy
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WHAT IS MEDIA LITERACY?

Media is a term for anything that communicates such as books, magazines, computers, radio, film or billboards. Media literacy expands the definition of literacy from reading and understanding printed matter to examining and analyzing the components of other media, especially television. Media literacy is the ability to interpret and create personal meaning from the many verbal and visual symbols we take in. It is the ability to choose, to challenge and question, and to use the media actively and consciously for one’s own purposes.

THE NEED

For years, child-development experts and social critics have been studying the effects of television viewing on children. Their concerns are twofold: the violent and sexual natures of program content and the amount of time children spend watching television. Educators have begun to recognize the need to help children deal with the information overload and to find ways to steer them away from less desirable content. The Media Literacy workshop will help students become media literate, enabling them to sort through and find meaning in the daily media barrage.

CURRICULUM INFORMATION

The My Journey Home student multimedia project and competition allow teachers and students to take the basic fundamentals of media literacy and apply them to middle and high school curricula in Language Arts and Social Studies and television production courses at community colleges to produce their own print, audio and video essays.

In public schools, media literacy tends to be taught in the Language Arts or Social Studies curriculum. Let’s take a look at how each curriculum supports our efforts. Media literacy across these curriculum areas can foster better communication abilities from Language Arts/English and the fine arts to enable students to express their understanding of the concept in a personally meaningful way.

Language Arts Curriculum
Standard VI: Instructional Resources
Media literacy can empower youth to be positive contributors to society, to challenge cynicism and apathy, and to serve as agents of social change (ONDCP, 8). During the last decade, media literacy has shown substantial growth in several areas of the curriculum including health, English and Language Arts. In the Instructional Resources section of the Second Edition of The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (2002) English Language Arts Standards for ages 11 to 15, there is detailed information on media literacy skills to improve reading, writing and comprehension skills.

Teachers work to integrate media and technologies into opportunities for their students to meet learning goals in the classroom. Teachers also help students understand the practical applications of media and technologies by giving them opportunities to produce various "products" — newspapers, posters, skits, stories, videos and Web pages —that are meant to be shared with different audiences such as parents, peers and the community. Accomplished teachers know how to help select media and technological resources that aid students in the production of text. Teachers know that studying texts of many cultures is essential for all students. A goal of English Language Arts instruction is to prepare students to live in our increasingly diverse society; therefore, teachers familiarize themselves with texts from other cultures and traditions and expose students to a wide range of materials.

When selecting high-quality texts representative of world diversity, teachers affirm works by authors of both genders and a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. In evaluating the authenticity and value of the cultural aspects of texts, teachers may enlist the help of members of given cultures, seek the opinions of colleagues, or read the work of critics. Teachers are careful to present information about the culture and historical contexts in which texts were produced.

Teachers give students strategies to help them evaluate and question texts and to see how texts offer unique representations of the world. The rapid increase in the availability of information that can be accessed by teachers and students provides new challenges in selecting resources.

Standard V: Equity, Fairness and Diversity
Accomplished teachers are alert to stereotypes and to racist, sexist and other prejudiced content in written resources, works of art, media and current events. They understand the demeaning nature of such content, and they select instructional materials and experiences that promote positive images of people of different races, genders, religions, cultures, sexual orientations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and physical and mental abilities.

Teachers build, enhance and support the self respect, self-confidence and self-worth of children.

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