Media Education in Quebec

This section comprises a curricular overview (below), as well as information about professional development for media education, and information about media education associations in Quebec.

Also included in the sidebar is a list of competency charts for elementary and secondary lessons available. These charts include an overview of each lesson, and related competencies from the English Language Arts curriculum.

Last reviewed September 2015.

Curricular Overview

Since 2000, Education Québec has undertaken its broadest reform in the last 30 years. At the heart of this reform has been the elimination of grades, which have been replaced by cycles. Under Quebec’s new education program, the first six years of schooling are divided into three cycles of two years each: Cycle One includes years 1 and 2, Cycle Two includes years 3 and 4, and Cycle Three includes years 5 and 6. At the secondary level, Cycle I includes Secondary I, II, III (years 7, 8, and 9) and Cycle II includes Secondary IV and V (years 10 and 11).

Quebec’s education reform stresses the following approaches: cross-curricular competencies and learning, interdisciplinary teaching strategies, collaborative student-centred instructional strategies, project-based learning and lifelong learning.

Media-related elements can be found throughout these approaches, particularly in cross-curricular competencies for elementary and secondary English Language Arts such as: Represents her/his literacy in different media: follows a production process to create media texts for specific purposes and audiences; deconstructs media texts to understand their meanings and messages; and explores the relationship between producer, text and audience.

The Québec Education Program also includes broad areas of learning, which deal with major contemporary issues young people will have to confront, both individually and collectively, in different areas of their lives. These five broad areas are integrated throughout various subject areas and have been chosen on the basis of their importance for society and their relevance for the students’ education. They include: Health and Well-Being, Career Planning and Entrepreneurship, Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities, Citizenship and Community Life and Media Literacy. Media-related elements can be found in each of these broad areas of learning, especially under Media Literacy, which aims to “develop students’ critical and ethical judgment with respect to media and to give them opportunities to produce media documents that respect individual and collective rights.”

At the elementary level, students:

…learn to measure the amount of time they spend consuming various media and to compare it with the amount of time they devote to their other activities. They can distinguish between different media, discuss the content of messages conveyed and compare the goals of different media. They explore the elements of media language, and become aware of the effects it has on them. They can distinguish between virtual situations, such as those presented in video games, and real situations. They learn to judge the place and role of the media in their lives and in society and become aware of their influence on their own values. In this way, they learn to maintain contact with reality and develop their critical, ethical and esthetic judgment.

Québec Education Program
Preschool and Elementary Education, 2001

While at the secondary level, the curriculum notes that:

In both cycles of secondary school, students are encouraged to look at media productions as constructions and “re-presentations” of reality, which express specific points of view, ideas, values or beliefs. They are encouraged to analyze media messages in terms of content, technology, language and target audience and to assess their aesthetic value. Through their subject-specific learning, they will observe the richness and diversity of possible interpretations of information presented in the media.

Québec Education Program
Broad Areas of Learning: Secondary Cycle Two

As a result of the above, the interest in media literacy in Quebec is increasing among many educators, especially within the English Language Arts sector, where “representing literacy in different media” is one of four key sector competencies. Key features of this competency include the student’s ability to:

  • apply appropriate strategies for constructing meaning
  • follow a process to respond to media texts
  • construct her/his own view of the world through the media
  • follow a production process in order to communicate for specific purposes to a specified audience
  • self-evaluate her/his development as a viewer and producer of media texts

Media literacy is also part of the competency for reading and listening, where “reading” is understood to include “listening to” and “viewing” texts.