Media Literacy in ELT Classroom

Media Literacy in ELT Classroom

Being media literate (the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media in a variety of forms) is an increasingly important thing in modern life. We need to be really very selective, we need to evaluate the information we hear or read in order to understand what information to trust. In other words, it’s more important now than ever before to teach media literacy to students of all ages. In this article, we will share some nice ideas on how to teach media literacy in an engaging and fun way. 

1.What is Media?

Students brainstorm definitions on the concept of media. Then, they watch this video and compare the given information with their opinions. In the end,  they do the task described in the video. As a sum up activity, they can make a classroom survey to find out the most popular means of media that they use to get information.

2. Fake vs Real News

Sometimes fake news spread more quickly than the real ones. Therefore, it is needless to mention that teachers need to teach students how to differentiate fake news from real ones. One of the reliable methods is searching for the same type of news in other resources to be sure of the validity of the information. As a classroom activity, students can design a newspaper that features either real or fake news, or some combination of the two, and have other students see if they can identify each type. Students can watch this video to find tips on how to recognize fake news. For being media literate it is very important to identify the difference between the fact, opinion and informed opinion. This lesson activity worksheet will help students to understand the difference between them.

3. Comparing and Contrasting

Usually, the same event is presented in various resources. Students can be assigned to compare headlines describing a particular news event from various newspapers. In this way, they will develop their critical thinking skills and will have the chance to have a closer look at the language used in the news and see different ways the same news can be presented to the audience.

4. Real-life Experience in Media Environment

Media literacy is also about being able to analyze the given news or information. You can implement analytical discussions in the lesson as well. 

  • Students visit local bookstores to find some articles from magazines. Each group can be assigned to look for articles related to different spheres such as sports, art, politics, etc. They present the information to the rest of the class. They can pre-teach some vocabulary to their peers, ask them to sort out the key information and tell how useful the information was for them. 
  • Learners can visit the local TV station to watch a live newscast. Later they share their emotions, tell which part of the work was the most interesting or boring.
  • Students examine some local newspapers, especially the letters written to the editor. They reply to those letters as an editor. This will develop their writing and critical thinking skills.

5. Shaping the Media

Knowing the way of creation or recreation of the media is also a part of media literacy. Here are some ideas for lessons:

Students list sources of news such as TV, radio, the Internet 

(YouTube, Viber, social networking sites, vlogs, blogs), printed press and discuss their advantages and disadvantages. 

For an assignment, have students create an entirely new set of laws around media use in society. Break everyone into groups and have them present their ideas to the rest of the class.

The teacher presents some news, then divides the students into 2 or 3 groups. Each group would use the same story or information but tell it through different means of media. Once all presentations are complete, the class would analyze how the information changed depending upon the media means.

6. Understanding Images 

To understand the visual messages in the media we need to analyze it on two levels: the immediate emotional level and as products meant to influence us. So, we need to teach students how to analyze the images on the second level. 

Students create “powerful” but misleading messages on posters with mismatched images and text. See how many students believe the text, or buy the visual product, and discuss similar examples they may have spotted online, on TV, in print, etc. .

Here is an example of a postcard with a misleading visual message.

All these activities will help the students develop a sense of media literacy and be more selective while reading some news. 
You can find some useful ideas of teaching media literacy here.

Лиза Мардоян

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