Each Atlantic Province follows closely the Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation Framework for English Language Arts. In this Framework, media literacy is integrated throughout the English Language Arts curriculum under the general learning outcomes of Speaking and Listening, Reading and Viewing and Writing and Other Ways of Representing.
The Atlantic Provinces Education Foundation Framework for English Language Arts includes expectations that incorporate media education themes. The curriculum document Foundation for the Atlantic Canada English Language Arts Curriculum: English Language Arts (2012) includes a section that demonstrates the complementary relationship between media literacy and English language arts:
The use of technology, media and other visual texts as pathways to learning is encouraged. This allows students to develop information literacy – more specifically, accessing, interpreting, evaluating, organizing, selecting, creating and communicating information in and through a variety of technologies and contexts. It provides opportunities for practicing information literacy skills and critical thinking skills.
Media literacy refers to an informed and critical understanding of the role of mass media in society (television, radio, film, magazines, Internet, etc.) and the impact of the techniques used. It is the ability to:
- bring critical thinking skills to bear on all media;
- ask questions about what is there, and noticing what is not there;
- question what lies behind the media production (motives, money, values and ownership);
- be aware of how these factors infl uence content.
Most mass media is produced for general consumption and rarely reflects the culture of smaller groups and issues on a local level. It is necessary for individuals to see themselves and hear their own voices in order to validate their culture and place in the world.
Engaging students in recognizing the types of media they are interacting with (e.g., television, videos, electronic games, films and various print media forms) is an important part of media awareness.
They can examine the reliability, accuracy and motives of media sources. They can:
- analyse and question what information has been included;
- explore how information has been constructed;
- investigate information that may have been left out.
Media awareness also involves exploring deeper issues and questions such as, “Who produces the media we experience – and for what purpose?”, or “Who profits? Who loses? And who decides?”
Media literacy involves being aware of the messages in all types of media. It involves students asking questions such as
- Do I need this information? What is the message? Why is it being sent?
- Who is sending the message? How is the message being sent?
- Who is the intended audience? Who or what is left out?
- Who benefits from this message?
- Can I respond to this message? Does my opinion matter?
On the sidebar you will find outcome charts containing media-related learning expectations from the English language arts curriculum, with links to supporting resources on the MediaSmarts site. As many of our lessons can be adapted to suit different grade levels and abilities, specific lessons may be listed for more than one grade. Teachers should also note that individual lessons often satisfy a number of expectations.