Media Literacy Through Critical Thinking
Media Literacy Through Critical Thinking by Chris M. Worsnop is an excellent introduction to assessment in media education. There are numerous exercises and examples that should prove interesting not only to those just beginning their assessment efforts, but also to experienced media educators. Teacher materials and student workbooks are available to aid in the exploration these concepts and processes.
The manual is presented in its recommended order. Each item is a set of Teacher Materials. When applicable, Student Workbooks can also be viewed.
Introduction and Overview
After an introduction to the basics of media education and literacy, teachers are provided with tools to help build a conceptual framework, including an extended overview of Media Literacy Through Critical Thinking; definitions, content and use of classroom models; connecting materials to EALRs; and media literacy terminology. Students are introduced to basic terminology and the five key concepts of media literacy in the accompanying Student Workbook.
Taking a Second Look
Teachers and students alike learn to probe more deeply into media texts to search for new meanings and interpretations. Teacher materials provide extension activities and resources for further exploration of the concepts introduced in the Student Workbook.
Media Texts Have Purposes and Target Audiences
Whether it’s to sell, entertain, or inform, all media texts have a broad purpose. This concepts is examined in conjunction with target audience, and explored through a variety of exercises and activities. Teacher materials provide extension activities to those in the Student Workbook.
Key Concept #1: All media are carefully wrapped packages
Deconstruction is the first step toward understanding the seamless appearances of media texts. The Student Workbook contains activities that require the deconstruction and analysis a variety of media texts, from cartoons to TV. Teacher materials provide extension activities, cross-curricular connections, and a method of assessment.
Key Concept #2: Media construct versions of reality
From image doctoring to special effects, media texts are often mistaken for reality. To facilitate the crucial exploration of illusion and reality, activities in the Student Workbook ask students to take a second look at a variety of media texts and how they construct a version of reality. Teacher materials provide extension activities, cross-curricular connections, and a method of assessment.
Key Concept #3: Media are interpreted through individual lenses
When it comes to media, interpretations may vary. To examine how different audiences respond to media texts, activities in the Student Workbook require students to give personal and “in role” responses, and to examine each others’ opinions. Teacher materials provide extension activities, cross-curricular connections, resources and a method of assessment.
Key Concept #4: Media are about money
The prevalence of ads in contemporary culture and product placement are among the concepts explored in the activities and discussions provided in the Student Workbook. Teacher materials provide extension activities, cross-curricular connections, and a method of assessment.
Key Concept #5: Media promote an agenda
The Student Workbook contains activities that require a broad range of critical and analytical skills to examine social, political and economic values, beginning with an in-depth deconstruction of an ad. Teacher materials provide comment on this complex concept, as well as extension activities, cross-curricular connections, and a method of assessment.
Personal Response to a Media Text
To begin analysis of any media text, a well thought out personal response is required. To help the moving beyond simple likes and dislikes, the Student Workbook provides examples of personal responses, plus a list of criteria and self-check questions. Teacher materials include a rubric for assessing personal response.
Practice Analyzing, Interpreting, and Evaluating Media Texts
After the concept is introduced, sample analytical responses are given in the Student Workbook. Teacher materials provide additional sample responses.
At this point, students are introduced to a project in which they will apply all the skills and concepts they have learned so far. The Student Workbook includes sections on of how to construct, present, and evaluate a project; how to “make” an argument; self-assessment and goal setting; scoring criteria for content of the presentation; and an analytic scoring guide. Additionally, teacher materials provide a project checklist to help students through the process.
After a primer that introduces student, program, and system assessment, this collection of teacher materials illustrates the difference between evaluation and assessment. Included are a form for peer evaluation, and scoring guides for both content and analysis to aid in the assessment of student projects.