I am frequently asked “So how does somebody start teaching media literacy, anyway?”
The answer to that question is, ironically, a bunch of questions.
The Association for Media Literacy has a great website that includes core concepts with questions to ask yourself AND students.
Last semester, for example, I took a few of the core concepts and paired them next to different images from the media. The students were then encouraged to do a “turn & talk” with each other as they considered these ideas and how they related to the media image in question.
Certain concepts will get more attention in your class than others, depending on the media example that you choose. For this example, my students went into great detail about #5 and #6 because of the extreme stereotypes depicted on this front page.
But we kept going back to concept #3 in class: we all negotiate meaning differently, right? So how might others interpret this message?
You will find that once your students have examined these core concepts, it’s very difficult for them to consume media messages WITHOUT thinking of those concepts. And is there any better time than an election year for students to be critical consumers of media?