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Media and information literacy model syllabi


The small group discussion exploring frameworks, modules and methodologies suggested a range of topic areas that would need to be included in a programme for trainee teachers.

The Expert Group concluded that a number of key questions would introduce trainee teachers to the curriculum, e.g.:

  • Why focus on media ? - What makes it important?

  • What is media?

  • What is media literacy?

  • What is information literacy?

  • Why teach for media and information literacy?

The following subjects (un-prioritised) indicate the content that would need to be mastered to increase trainee teachers’ personal media literacy. An additional section outlines subjects enabling them to teach for MIL. (The component subjects of information literacy were discussed in relation to competencies and are explored later.)
Media and democratic discourses

  • Freedom of Expression, pluralism and diversity of media – The enabling environment

  • The level economic playing field and transparency of ownerships

  • Media as a platform for democratic discourse

  • Professionalism within media – journalism as a discipline of verification, media ethics

  • Infrastructural capacity to support media diversity and pluralism

Media and information texts - media analysis, e.g.:

  • an examination of the construction of texts – how are these texts made or produced?

  • what are the languages or the “grammar” of the media? – What codes and conventions are used? What is the structure?

  • representation – issues of identity and stereotypes

  • narrative - voice, issues of inclusion, exclusion

Understanding of the functions of the media, its potential and limitations, e.g.:

  • purposes underling media communications - verification, discourse, persuasion, propaganda, education, entertainment

  • evaluating sources, authority and accuracy of information given

Media audiences - spheres of influence, e.g.:

  • target audiences

  • active audiences – negotiation, interpretation of media texts (based on audience characteristics), evaluation, access, use

Media and production 1 - Strengthening the capacities, rights and responsibilities of individuals vis à vis the media.

  • ownership, industry, control - how the media sector operates

  • access, participation, creation, citizenship, rights and responsibilities

  • informed selection of media

  • freedom of expression

Media and production 2 - creating media and promoting autonomy in the use of media

  • creating and communicating one’s own messages

  • using information and communication technologies

  • ethics and values, personal autonomy, participation in a public sphere

  • promoting intercultural dialogue

Media and production 3 - media information technologies

  • using Information and Communication Technologies in education


To facilitate teaching of MIL, the framework should also include:

Instructional design for MIL

  • developing curricular activities appropriate to media and information education

  • adopting/adapting and developing school MIL resources and media

  • creating and developing communication and cooperative work settings through information and communication technologies

  • using authentic problem-solving and inquiry teaching methods

  • developing appropriate assessment activities


Changes in the education sector resulting from media

  • the changing role of teachers

  • curriculum implementation and change management

  • creating school environments that support development of MIL

This instructional design section of the curriculum is likely to be particularly important where institutional change from teacher-centred to student-centred perspectives are required, with the concomitant changes in a teacher’s authority and acceptance of many right answers to real-world problems.
Syllabi developed from this outline would depend on educational and institutional constraints and technology available - i.e. they would be tailored to regional and local needs.

Media and information literacy competencies required by trainee teachers


The small group that focused on competencies necessary to media and information literacy concluded that, as indicated in the previous section, teachers need personal MIL competencies as audiences/receivers and producers of media as well as competencies to facilitate MIL in others.

However, several questions regarding essential competencies were raised that remain unanswered at this point:

  • What competencies are unique to MIL and thus distinguish the teaching of media and information literate teachers from that of others?

  • Which non-media specific competencies are afforded rehearsal and consolidation because of the nature of MIL, i.e. what value do the discipline and learning activities of MIL add?

  • Are some MIL competencies best developed at the level of teacher training and others more appropriately developed in school-based professional development?

  • At what level of performance does a skill become a competency?

The identification of competencies unique to MIL and those supported by other elements of teacher training would locate, associate and integrate this new subject in educational thinking and planning as well as allowing curriculum developers to focus on specific requirements of teaching for MIL. Answers to the third question have implications beyond the scope of this project. For instance, developing capabilities in meeting the needs of students with variable experience of technologies, or coping with those whose knowledge is greater than that of trainee teachers, may be a function of the development of communities of MIL understanding in schools. The fourth question raises assessment issues for teacher training institutions and accreditation agencies.
The break out group that began work on identification of competencies focused largely on information literacy as its component skills are a foundation for competency in media literacy. Its competencies include the orchestration of specific knowledge and individual processes in complex problem solving. For the moment, the content subjects, skills and competencies are listed together with additions from the wider group of participants.
Learning to learn / Know

  • Knowledge of available communication and information resources

  • Knowledge of media, communication, and information chain/structure/construction

  • Knowledge of basic principles such as freedom of expression and information

  • Ability to reflect on learning, metacognition

  • Ability to inquire and engage in research skills and processes


Learning to do / Use / Skills

Ability to:

  • Recognise and articulate a need for information

  • Locate sources

  • Retrieve sources from a variety of information systems

  • Evaluate / analyze / relate/interpret sources, messages and information

  • Select appropriate sources

  • Abstract, synthesise, and organise ideas

  • Use / apply / create / distribute

  • Communicate and participate

  • Read critically

  • Solve problems

  • Manage projects, especially in relation to inquiry and media production


Learning to be / Attitudes / Behaviour

  • Critical thinking

  • Pluralism of ideas / Respect of others opinions

  • Tolerance

  • Respect of authorship

  • Social responsibility

  • Wise use of information

In discussion, two further points were made. Firstly, there are some difficulties inherent in translating a competency framework to a training framework. These would need to be addressed in trialling the curriculum and its associated materials. Secondly, there is an opportunity to focus on competencies around analysis and communications of the strengths of one’s own community, thus strengthening identity and aligning with efforts to preserve indigenous knowledge.
Competencies in information and media literacy can be demonstrated with print-based media, such as newspapers, advertising flyers and billboards, as well as the ‘older’ technologies such as radio. Thus MIL is not the preserve of those with access to advanced technologies. Consequently, this project aims to introduce an MIL curriculum in developing countries where experience of educational use of technologies may be limited. The technological competencies required will be dependent upon the technologies available in the teacher training institutions and the schools they serve. The syllabi developed for the technological aspects of this initiative should build on the competencies identified in the UNESCO publication ICT Competency standards for teachers, by focusing on those specific to MIL (see Annex V for details).

Learning outcomes for trainee teachers


While a curriculum specifies what is to be learned and competencies detail essential abilities, teaching performance is assessed in terms of how these are orchestrated and the level at which they can be demonstrated. It was suggested that a broad set of learning outcomes be developed to describe the MIL content, processes, instructional design and pedagogical understandings trained teachers should ideally attain. The following outcomes are a first attempt to do this.
The trained teachers will demonstrate, at a level appropriate to the educational needs of their future students (8 to 18 year olds), critical understandings of:

  • the need for and purposes of media and information literacy education

  • key media literacy concepts including e.g. production, text (language is part of this broader category) and audience as applied to currently available and emerging media and technologies

  • instructional design (systematically planning, trialling, producing and evaluating instructional material) based on the tools of analysis for media and information literacy

  • instructional design based on the learning processes underlying development of media literacy (planning and teaching to ensure that students gain autonomy in applying effective learning processes)

  • information literacy and its implications for developing personal inquiry and problem solving abilities

  • the cognitive and metacognitive demands that underlie purposeful interactions with information

  • key concepts relating to ethical responsibilities with and within the media professions

  • a variety of assessment tools used in media assessment systems

And they will

  • adopt, adapt and/or create teaching strategies that will enable their students to develop thinking and inquiry abilities specific to media literacy

  • from evidence-based practice, develop a range of learning assessment tools appropriate to media and information literacy and related ethics-based learning activities

This list is deliberately open to interpretation in light of the different educational contexts in which it might be applied and the depth of knowledge deemed appropriate. For example, awareness of MIL would require demonstration of different depths of knowledge to having an operational knowledge of teaching with MIL or being able to transform teaching through MIL. Core and optional subjects and competencies would also vary accordingly.
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