What we see – and don’t see – in media affects how we view reality. Media works can be imagined either as mirrors that reflect an audience’s own experience, windows that give them access to experiences they otherwise wouldn’t have known, or in some cases both.
In this lesson, students learn about the ways in which news coverage of an event or issue can be biased, focusing on the aspects of the medium and industry that can lead to bias. They read an article that examines the coverage of mental illness in the news and then participate in an interactive activity that lets them compose their own article. Finally, students find and analyze a recent news story on a mental health topic and write a letter either praising or critiquing it.
Students begin by viewing a slideshow that explores common stereotypes of mental illness and mental illness treatment in media. They read a prepared analysis of the portrayal of mental illness in a TV show popular with teens, then in a small group analyze another text of their choice. Finally, students create an annotated version of a scene or excerpt from a text in which they analyze and evaluate its portrayal of mental illness.
Indigenous people remain highly stereotyped in most mass media, in ways that are sometimes less remarked upon than stereotypes of other groups. This section examines how Indigenous people are represented, and participate, in various media and how media education can help both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth understand the impact of stereotyped representations.
For generations, Star Wars has captured the hearts and imaginations of so many. Parents can now share the past stories with our own kids, and experience new ones together as new media from the Star Wars universe, like comics, television shows and more movies come to life.
In this lesson students learn about the systems used to classify films, TV programs and video games. Students are asked to take a critical look at the criteria applied to classify these media products, and then take into account and discuss the underlying social and political aspects arising from those systems.