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Core Principles of Media Literacy Education as a Framework for Teacher Education

A giant stone face at The Bayon temple in Angkor Thom, Cambodia

source: Nat’l Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE)

In 2011, I wrote an article titled, “Building 21st-Century Teachers: An Intentional Pedagogy of Media Literacy Education” that was published in a special issue of Action in Teacher Education. The question I posed was, “Are we helping preservice teachers develop a repertoire of technical skills and pedagogical strategies in the service of democratic practice?” In response to this question, I aligned three bodies of what I as a teacher educator consider to be key sets of standards in education and teacher preparation: 1) Democratic IDEALS of education (Inquiry, Discourse, Equity, Authenticity, Leadership and Service); 2) the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T); and 3) the stages or cycle of media literacy (access, analyze, evaluate, produce, communicate) (See Table 1). This exercise in standards alignment illustrated how an intentional pedagogy of media literacy education enriches teacher preparation by contextualizing technological proficiency, promoting pedagogical excellence, and catalyzing democratic practices.

Despite more than a decade of NCLB-induced high-stakes testing and accountability, there are many that still believe the primary purpose of schooling is that of cultivating active citizens within a social and political democracy (Collins, Doyon, McAuley, & Quijada 2011; Kubey 2004; Leonard & Stewart 2009; Parker 2005; Sperry 2006). As I argued in “Building 21st-Century Teachers,” an intentional pedagogy of media literacy education provides teachers with a framework for aligning bodies of standards (including the Common Core) towards a more active and democratic ideal of education. The importance of this systematic approach cannot be understated in an otherwise demoralizing climate of standardized testing, high stakes teacher evaluation, and scathing criticism of formalized teacher preparation.

Since “Building 21st-Century Teachers” was published, the educational terrain has shifted: Common Core Curriculum standards have emerged and are currently being implemented, not without controversy. There has also emerged a more robust definition of media literacy education that realizes the essential nature of community engagement to the media literacy process. It is no longer sufficient to merely consume and produce media; we must act upon that which we create. The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) has also revisited their Core Principles of Media Literacy Education (2007) to reflect the evolving definition of media literacy as well as the changing landscape in education. As part of this roundtable discussion on the power and potential of media literacy education, I introduce an intentional pedagogy version 2.0 for building 21st-century teachers. [read the short paper]  I invite your comments below to further this thinking.

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