Please meet my former student--a teacher!--and one of the co-authors of Transparent Teaching of Adolescents, AnnMarie Dearman.
Secondary school. . . Technically speaking, it just means that it comes after primary school. But really? Secondary? The connotation of the word is that well, they’re done with us already. So it’s not that much of a surprise that there is such debate about what is and should be taught in the secondary classroom. The bigger issue, though, is what is NOT being taught in the secondary classroom… media literacy skills.
A concept I’ve recently stumbled upon is the more profound definition of “literacy.” Yes, it encompasses reading, writing, listening, and speaking, and all skills that need to be steadily built upon to improve. However, in Education, what sometimes we forget is that literacy in the real world is changing – so many aspects of our lives are based in technology, and our approach to literacy skills must incorporate this arena. The use of media literacy is an excellent strategy for teachers to use in bringing our content areas up into the 21st century.
Teaching students how to evaluate and analyze their literacy, which is a combination (a cacophonous barrage of data, really) of music, video, art, and severely condensed consumer information and news bites that they process in nanoseconds--if not simultaneously--is our responsibility. They process this information quickly, but do they process it wisely? How can we better help them navigate their literary world in every content area?
I know that it’s impossible to please everyone, but I encourage you to consider incorporating media literacy into your classroom in some facet, whether through applicable YouTube videos, tweets, movie trailers, commercials, Facebook posts, and texts. Any classroom, any level, any subject. Not only do I think you can get them more engaged and stimulate some in-depth cognitive thinking skills, instigating synthesis of the content, I think you’ll find that you enjoy your days a little more, too.
And I think students will learn to make a little more sense of their world.