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Media literacy and critical thinking: practical exercises for each lesson

Media literacy and critical thinking: practical exercises for each lesson
Media literacy and critical thinking: practical exercises for each lesson

Media literacy is an imaginary umbrella of information rain, under which you can hide. What exercises will help students actively develop this key skill of the 21st century? How to prevent the influence of media consumption on critical thinking? The framework of the Internet conference “Development of critical, logical and creative thinking”. We share with you the key points of the lecturer’s speech.

If educators want to teach student’s critical thinking and media literacy skills, they should choose exclusively modernized exercises. For example, 6 hats of thinking, a fishbone, associations, a basket of ideas, believe it or not, a tree of assumptions and predictions. It is important to realize that outdated exercises for Generation Z children will no longer be as effective as they used to be.

How to become media literate? You need to learn to detect certain manipulations in publications on online platforms. These are emotionally colored words, expressive headlines, images or something. Articles that cast doubt on the veracity of the data should not be reposted. The lecturer also reminded that teachers should not neglect to check the original source of messages. After all, adults who create or distribute manipulative media products teach and educate children by their own example.

Useful links to sites that fight fakes:

  • No lies.
  • On the other side of the news.
  • A selection of cases on unfair advertising.
  • Stop Fake.
  • Media detector.

At what age should children be taught to analyze the media? Already in junior classes, students should be able to determine the purpose and plausibility of the media text distinguish between facts and judgments, interpret media messages based on their own experience and explain their reaction to information in publications.

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How to teach media literacy based on educational material?

During the working hours of a regular lesson, students can learn to analyze any content.

Example 1. Invite the children to identify the purpose of the text.           

Why did the student create a media product based on the fables?

If you use media materials in addition to reflection, children will learn to analyze and compare different information.

Example 2. Teach children to distinguish facts from judgments that add expressive color and are biased:

  • Fact: Today is Monday. Judgment: Monday is the worst day of the week.
  • Fact: There are 25 students in the class. Judgment: we have a large class.
  • Fact: a girl in a pink dress. Judgment: a girl in a good / ugly dress.
  • Fact: it’s raining outside. Judgment: bad / great weather.

Example 3. Choose any audiovisual product (cartoon, movie, music video, video blog, etc.).

Then turn on the video without sound or do not show the video and let the children just listen. Students need to understand how they are affected by audio without video and vice versa: a single element cannot depict a 100% picture of a media product. If a person pays attention only to the title or only to the comment of a publication and immediately draws certain conclusions – this is not critical thinking.