Tuesday, July 11, 2006

12 Basic Principles for Incorporating Media Literacy and Critical Thinking into Any Curriculum

12 Basic Principles for Incorporating Media Literacy and Critical Thinking into Any Curriculum

By Cyndy Scheibe and Faith Rogow

Media litearcay is the ability to access, analyze, critically evaluate, and produce communication in a variety of forms. At Project Look Sharp we define "media" very broadly to incllude books, newspapers, magazines, radio television, movies, videos, billboards, recorded music, video games, and the Internet.

Media literacy education began in the 1970s with an emphasis on protection (from the so-called "evil effects" of media) and discrimination (between so-called "good" and "bad" media content); most media literacy materials and initiatives were aimed at parents. Since then, there has been a shift toward an emphasis on media literacy as empowerment (stressing critical thinking and production skills); more materials are now aimed at schools and teachers. The empowerment model emphasizes the political, social, and economic implications of media messages and stresses the importance of using media effectively and wisely.

This information is designed for teachers and support staff at all grade levels who are interested in using media literacy in their classroom curricula. The principles are based on teh concept of weaving media literacy training into the curriculum whenever and wherever possible throughout the school year. We feel that this approach is much more effective than simply treating media literacy as a special, isolated topic and may better meet the needs of teachers who are already overwhelmed with teh demands of a full curriculum.

The following 12 principles are general guidelines for thinking about ways to integrate media literacy into any curricular area. For each principle, media literacy can be incorporated through the use and analysis of existing media content (as illustration material, material to critique, etc.) and/or through media production (creating new messages using print, audio, video or digital media). The activities listed for each principle are meant as examples only. Following the same general ideas, you may think of additional activities that meet the needs of your class or curricular area. We encourage you to share your ideas and experiences with us as you build media literacy into your classroom curriculum.

  1. Use media to practice general observation, critical thinking, analysis, perspective-taking, and production skills by encouraging students to think critically about information presented in any media message (including the information from their textbooks or the popular media they use at home) pointing out ways in which media messages might be interpreted differently by people from different backgrounds or groups fostering observation and general memory skills by asking students to look for specific things when they view videos or read print material, and then asking them about those things afterwards allowing students to go beyond the curricular issue at hand to identify and comment on incidental aspects of a media message (e.g., the characteristics of the people presenting the material, the techniques used to attract attention, and the ways in which advertising and product messages intrude into other types of media content) fostering creative skills through encouraging the production of media messages about a topic.
  2. Use media to stimulate interest in a new topic by showing an exciting or familiar video clip or reading a short book or story (fiction or nonfiction) about the topic having students work in small groups to read, analyze, and discuss a controversial magazine, newspaper, or online article about the topic using a short video, magazine illustration, or brief article to stimulate discussion, encouraging students to express what they already know or their opinion about a topic showing students how to search for information about the topic on the Internet encouraging students to plan and design a media product (montage of pictures, a video, a newspaper or magazine report) about the topic for other students to view.
  3. Identify ways in which students may be already familiar with a topic through media by giving examples from popular media content to illustrate what students might already know about a topic or things they might be familiar with that relate to the topic drawing links between the way a topic is typically treated academically and how it might be used in popular media (e.g., written poetry vs. song lyrics or advertising jingles) clarifying the way specific terminology related to the topic might be used differently in an academic sense than it might be in the popular culture building on the intuitive knowledge students have gained from media about the content area (e.g., about story and character development, problem solving, terminology, rhyming).
  4. Use media as a standard pedagogical tool by providing information about the topic through a variety of different media sources (books, newspaper/magazine articles, instructional videos, websites), comparing the usefulness of different media, and addressing conflicting information that may come from different sources using media to convey information more richly and effectively than would be possible with a standard classroom discussion or demonstration encouraging students to follow (and write about) current events reported in the media about a topic using media content as assigned homework (reading material, searching for information about a topic in newspapers or magazines, etc.) encouraging students to share information in class that they have gotten from various media sources (inside or outside of class).
  5. Identify erroneous beliefs about a topic fostered by media content by analyzing media content that misrepresents a topic or presents false or misleading information about a topic identifying misleading ways in which data are presented in the media (citing statistics incorrectly, drawing false conclusions from data, presenting unclear figures and tables, etc.) identifying false beliefs held by students about a topic that may have come from fictional media content encouraging students to create their own false or misleading media messages (PSAs, commercials, digitally manipulated print advertisements, etc.) and then having them present the message and "debunk" it for the other students in the class.
  6. Develop an awareness of issues of credibility and bias in the media by teaching how to recognize the source (speaker) of a media message and the purpose of producing the message, and how that might influence the objective nature of information clarifying the distinction between fiction and nonfiction in different types of media reporting on a specific topic identifying ways to decide what are credible sources about this topic within different types of media (e.g., books, magazines/journals, the Internet) emphasizing the importance of getting information from many different sources and how to give weight to different pieces of information (e.g., if the information is based on research or other evidence vs. personal opinion) producing media messages about this topic, emphasizing ways in which bias can be introduced through the words and tone used to present the topic, sources of information used, what is selected to be presented and what is left out, etc. exploring how media messages reflect the identity of the creator or presenter of the message, and how the same message might come across differently if it were presented or created by someone of a different background, age, race, gender, etc.
  7. Compare the ways different media present information about a topic by contrasting ways in which information about a topic might be presented in a documentary, a TV news report, a newspaper article, an advertisement, or an educational children's program about a specific topic (what is emphasized, what is left out, what techniques are used to present the information, etc.) comparing the amount of time/space devoted to a topic in different media from the same time period (and discussing why the difference occurs) analyzing different conclusions that might be drawn by people exposed to information presented in one medium vs. another discussing the strengths of different media to best get across a particular message producing reports about the topic using different forms of media, or manipulating the same information and visuals to convey different messages.
  8. Analyze the effect that specific media have had on a particular issue or topic historically and/or across different cultures by discussing the role that the media have played (if any) in the history of this topic (i.e., ways in which the media have changed the nature of this issue or topic) discussing how people of earlier generations might have learned about this topic, what sources of information were available to them compared to sources available to us now, and what difference that would make in people's lives exploring the level of knowledge about a topic in different cultures and how that knowledge is influenced by the media available identifying media forms that are dominant or available in other cultures that may be seldom used in the United States, and vice versa.
  9. Use media to build and practice specific curricular skills by using print media (books, newspapers, magazines) to practice reading and comprehension skills substituting excerpts from existing media content for standard story problems or practice examples (e.g., to practice math skills, to correct grammar or spelling, to identify adjectives or adverbs) using media production to practice specific skills (e.g., grammar, poetry, math used in timing and proportions of media messages, scientific principles involved in calculating size, distance, and lighting) preparing examples for practicing skills that include media literacy information (e.g., comparing the lengths of news stories about different topics, computing the Nielsen ratings for different shows, analyzing the ways in which two products are described in advertisements) fostering computer skills by encouraging students to search for information on the Internet, develop multimedia projects, and use computers to present information about a topic.
  10. Use media to express students' opinions and illustrate their understanding of the world by encouraging students to analyze media messages for distortions and bias issues of particular interest to them (e.g., messages about sex and gender, messages promoting harmful behaviors, race and age distortions in the "media world" compared to the real world, and advertising targeted to people their age) encouraging students to express their feelings and knowledge through media messages that they produce encouraging thoughtful critiques of various media productions promoting discussion of different points of view about popular media articles and productions.
  11. Use media as an assessment tool by having students summarize their knowledge about a topic in a final report that employs other forms of media beyond the standard written report (e.g., computer- illustrated reports, audio or video productions, photographic illustrations) encouraging students to work in groups to illustrate their understanding of a topic by creating mock media productions (e.g., newspapers, advertisements, news reports, live or videotaped skits) presenting, at the end of a unit, a media message (e.g., from a newspaper, magazine, or video) that contains false information about the topic and seeing if students can identify what is correct and what is incorrect in the message.
  12. Use media to connect students to the community and work toward positive change by finding collaborative possibilities for projects with community institutions (museums, libraries, galleries) that may involve students analyzing or creating media messages having students contact community service agencies related to the curricular area and offer their assistance with production (e.g., photography, video, design and layout, or computer skills) to help with agency projects encouraging older students to teach production techniques or media literacy principles to younger students in the same schoolusing media forums (e.g., local community access TV, newspapers, and magazines) to communicate messages or share research projects about the topic.

Five Key Concepts of Media Literacy

  1. All media messages are "constructed."
  2. Each medium has different characteristics, strengths, and a unique "language" of construction.
  3. Different people interpret the same media message in different ways.
  4. Media messages are produced for particular purposes, including profit, persuasion, education, and artistic expression.
  5. Media have embedded values and points of view.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Estetika, Seni dan A bundle of Perception

Estetika, seni dan persepsi sensual lebih merupakan a bundle of perception. Tidak lebih penafsiran yang bersifat relatif dan dinamis. Tidak ada interpretasi tunggal yang absolut.

17 tips: What A Peace Journalist Would Try To Do

The following notes are from Peace Journalism — How To Do It, by Jake Lynch and Annabel McGoldrick ( annabelmcg@aol.com ), written Sydney, 2000. See the two contrasting articles by Jake Lynch which illustrate some of these points.

Special Report:

Covering Conflict

Hot Topics Page:

Middle East Media Bias

1. AVOID portraying a conflict as consisting of only two parties contesting one goal. The logical outcome is for one to win and the other to lose. INSTEAD, a Peace Journalist would DISAGGREGATE the two parties into many smaller groups, pursuing many goals, opening up more creative potential for a range of outcomes.

2. AVOID accepting stark distinctions between "self" and "other." These can be used to build the sense that another party is a "threat" or "beyond the pale" of civilized behavior — both key justifications for violence. INSTEAD, seek the "other" in the "self" and vice versa. If a party is presenting itself as "the goodies," ask questions about how different its behavior really is to that it ascribes to "the baddies" — isn't it ashamed of itself?

3. AVOID treating a conflict as if it is only going on in the place and at the time that violence is occurring. INSTEAD, try to trace the links and consequences for people in other places now and in the future. Ask:

* Who are all the people with a stake in the outcome?

* Ask yourself what will happen if ...?

* What lessons will people draw from watching these events unfold as part of a global audience? How will they enter the calculations of parties to future conflicts near and far?

. AVOID assessing the merits of a violent action or policy of violence in terms of its visible effects only. INSTEAD, try to find ways of reporting on the invisible effects, e.g., the long-term consequences of psychological damage and trauma, perhaps increasing the likelihood that those affected will be violent in future, either against other people or, as a group, against other groups or other countries.

5. AVOID letting parties define themselves by simply quoting their leaders' restatement of familiar demands or positions. INSTEAD, inquire more deeply into goals:

* How are people on the ground affected by the conflict in everyday life?

* What do they want changed?

* Is the position stated by their leaders the only way or the best way to achieve the changes they want?

6. AVOID concentrating always on what divides the parties, the differences between what they say they want. INSTEAD, try asking questions that may reveal areas of common ground and leading your report with answers which suggest some goals maybe shared or at least compatible, after all.

7. AVOID only reporting the violent acts and describing "the horror." If you exclude everything else, you suggest that the only explanation for violence is previous violence (revenge); the only remedy, more violence (coercion/punishment). INSTEAD, show how people have been blocked and frustrated or deprived in everyday life as a way of explaining the violence.

8. AVOID blaming someone for starting it. INSTEAD, try looking at how shared problems and issues are leading to consequences that all the parties say they never intended.

9. AVOID focusing exclusively on the suffering, fears and grievances of only one party. This divides the parties into "villains" and "victims" and suggests that coercing or punishing the villains represents a solution. INSTEAD, treat as equally newsworthy the suffering, fears and grievance of all sides.

10. AVOID "victimizing" language such as "destitute," "devastated," "defenseless," "pathetic" and "tragedy," which only tells us what has been done to and could be done for a group of people. This disempowers them and limits the options for change. INSTEAD, report on what has been done and could be done by the people. Don't just ask them how they feel, also ask them how they are coping and what do they think? Can they suggest any solutions? Remember refugees have surnames as well. You wouldn't call President Clinton "Bill" in a news report.

11. AVOID imprecise use of emotive words to describe what has happened to people.

* "Genocide" means the wiping out of an entire people.

* "Decimated" (said of a population) means reducing it to a tenth of its former size.

* "Tragedy" is a form of drama, originally Greek, in which someone's fault or weakness proves his or her undoing.

* "Assassination" is the murder of a head of state.

* "Massacre" is the deliberate killing of people known to be unarmed and defenseless. Are we sure? Or might these people have died in battle?

* "Systematic" e.g., raping or forcing people from their homes. Has it really been organized in a deliberate pattern or have there been a number of unrelated, albeit extremely nasty incidents? INSTEAD, always be precise about what we know. Do not minimize suffering but reserve the strongest language for the gravest situations or you will beggar the language and help to justify disproportionate responses that escalate the violence.

12. AVOID demonizing adjectives like "vicious," "cruel," "brutal" and "barbaric." These always describe one party's view of what another party has done. To use them puts the journalist on that side and helps to justify an escalation of violence. INSTEAD, report what you know about the wrongdoing and give as much information as you can about the reliability of other people's reports or descriptions of it.

13. AVOID demonizing labels like "terrorist," "extremist," "fanatic" and "fundamentalist." These are always given by "us" to "them." No one ever uses them to describe himself or herself, and so, for a journalist to use them is always to take sides. They mean the person is unreasonable, so it seems to make less sense to reason (negotiate) with them. INSTEAD, try calling people by the names they give themselves. Or be more precise in your descriptions.

14. AVOID focusing exclusively on the human rights abuses, misdemeanors and wrongdoings of only one side. INSTEAD, try to name ALL wrongdoers and treat equally seriously allegations made by all sides in a conflict. Treating seriously does not mean taking at face value, but instead making equal efforts to establish whether any evidence exists to back them up, treating the victims with equal respect and the chances of finding and punishing the wrongdoers as being of equal importance.

15. AVOID making an opinion or claim seem like an established fact. ("Eurico Guterres, said to be responsible for a massacre in East Timor ...") INSTEAD, tell your readers or your audience who said what. ("Eurico Guterres, accused by a top U.N. official of ordering a massacre in East Timor ...") That way you avoid signing yourself and your news service up to the allegations made by one party in the conflict against another.

16. AVOID greeting the signing of documents by leaders, which bring about military victory or cease fire, as necessarily creating peace. INSTEAD, try to report on the issues which remain and which may still lead people to commit further acts of violence in the future. Ask what is being done to strengthen means on the ground to handle and resolve conflict nonviolently, to address development or structural needs in the society and to create a culture of peace?

17. AVOID waiting for leaders on "our" side to suggest or offer solutions. INSTEAD, pick up and explore peace initiatives wherever they come from. Ask questions to ministers, for example, about ideas put forward by grassroots organizations. Assess peace perspectives against what you know about the issues the parties are really trying to address. Do not simply ignore them because they do not coincide with established positions.

Jake Lynch is a correspondent for Sky News and The Independent, based in London and Sydney. He is a consultant to the POIESIS Conflict and Peace Forums and co-author of "The Peace Journalism Option" and "What Are Journalists For?"

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