Media Education in New Brunswick

This section comprises a curricular overview (below), as well as information about professional development for media education, and about New Brunswick’s provincial media education association, the Association for a Media Literate New Brunswick (A-4-ML-NB) (in the left menu).

Also included in the sidebar are curriculum outcome charts from New Brunswick’s English Language Arts and Social Studies curricula. These charts include links to supporting MediaSmarts resources and lessons.

Last reviewed in July 2016

Curricular Overview

During the 1990s, New Brunswick continued moving toward the development and implementation of integrated curricula at the elementary and secondary school levels. Media education components can be found in several subject areas, but they are strongest in the English Language Arts and Social Studies curricula.

New Brunswick follows the English Language Arts framework developed under the auspices of the Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation (APEF), a curriculum consortium formed in 1995. The Foundation for the Atlantic Canada English Language Arts Curriculum was released in 1996.

Media literacy figures prominently in the APEFs English Language Arts curriculum. The curriculum builds on the concept that literacy means moving beyond competency in the written word, to the ability to use and understand visual and technological means of communication. Its goal is to create critical media consumers who can, and will, bring critical analysis to their use of the media.

In the APEF English Language Arts Curriculum Guides, the “Role of Media Literacy” is described separately from the roles of Drama, Literature, Critical Literacy, Visual Literacy and Information Literacy.

According to the guide for Grades 7-9:

Media literacy deals with the culture and lifestyle of students. They enjoy thinking and talking about what is going on in the media. For teachers, it is an opportunity to have students examine how they are influencing and being influenced by popular culture.

The guide also states:

How teachers choose to integrate media literacy into the English language arts program will be determined by what the students are reading and writing. On some occasions students might be involved in comparing (the print version of a story to the film version; ad images to the product being sold), examining (the use of images in music videos and newspapers, sexism in advertising), writing (an article to a magazine, a letter to an editor), producing (a pamphlet on an issue, a radio ad), and creating (a video, a school radio show, announcements for the school PA). Media literacy is a form of critical thinking that is cross-curricular. It is more about good questions than correct answers.

The guide for Grades 10-12 builds on those ideas and includes statements such as:

For teachers media literacy is an opportunity to examine the reliability, accuracy and motives of these sources

and

Media study allows students to investigate issues of power and control. Mass media information is being consolidated into the hands of a few people. There are relatively few decision makers or gatekeepers to decide what and who gets heard.

Media literacy also figures prominently in the APEF Social Studies framework, for which New Brunswick is the lead department. Social Studies curricula have been implemented at the secondary level and are presently being developed at the elementary level.

Since 1992, New Brunswick has offered elective courses in Media Studies and Journalism as part of the Grade 12 English Language Arts curriculum. These courses are still being taught - most often in the larger high schools. Presently, there are 31 media teachers listed with the Department of Education.