I described three teachers integrating film into their lessons in the previous post. The content of each film was connected to the unit that each teacher had developed and, presumably, the content standards that California wanted teachers to follow. The hardware they used were DVD players or teacher laptops connected to LCD projectors.
What they did not do was investigate the assumptions and biases in the films themselves or question the accuracy of the sources that writers, directors, and actors used in creating and making the film. Although California curriculum standards call for media literacy skills in English/ language arts and history/social science in K-12 grades, current high-stakes state tests contain no items that examine media literacy.
With state and federal officials pressing teachers and students to score well on tests media literacy lessons are down low on most teachers’ “to do” lists. So I do not criticize these three teachers for not helping students analyze the films they watched to acquire skills in media literacy. For the past half-century, most teachers have not integrated media literacy into their lessons even as little and big screens have come to dominate the lives of children and adults outside of school.
Having students become media literate across school subjects has been talked about since the early 1960s but has hardly made a dent in lessons that most teachers teach. In Britain, Canada, and European nations there has been far more talk and even some action (media literacy Europe/Canada ). Much less so in the U.S.
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