Global Development Classroom Resources - Portal Page Lesson Plan

Lessons on Media and Global Development for Grades 7-12

Much of what we believe about the world comes from the media products we see and hear. This is especially true of places and things we might not have actually experienced, such as developing nations and global development efforts. Beyond Media Messages: Media Portrayal of Global Development looks at how the media influences our views of developing nations and global development efforts, how we can learn to read or view media portrayals critically and how we can become media authors to promote democratic citizenship.

To help educators address this issue in their classrooms, MediaSmarts has developed a series of lessons, in English and in French, to give students a better understanding of how media portrayals affect our view of global development issues. Beyond Media Messages: Media Portrayal of Global Development comprises the following:

Beyond Media Messages: Media Portrayal of Global Development (Grades 7-12)
In this three-day unit, students assess media coverage of natural disasters and their aftermath. Students explore how sensationalism plays a role in determining what is newsworthy, and how that can distort our perception of issues in developing nations. What makes a story newsworthy? What positive results follow the natural disasters and how, where and when are those reported in the media? How do distorted perceptions of developing nations affect our attitudes and behaviours toward them?

Celebrities and World Issues (Grades 7-12)
In this four-day unit, students will examine the role of popular culture celebrities in creating awareness of world issues. Students will debate whether celebrity involvement is important and positive, or whether such involvement brings too much attention to the celebrities themselves, overshadowing the central messages of a campaign, organization, program or issue.

Finding and Authenticating Online Information on Global Development Issues (Grades 7-12)
In this two-day unit, students learn strategies for using the Internet effectively to research global development issues. Students discover how to determine the truth and accuracy of online information and learn effective ways to obtain balanced sources of information. Students learn to ask, and search for answers to, the questions: Who is presenting this information and why?

Making Media for Democratic Citizenship (Grades 11-12)
In this five- or six-day unit, students create a video podcast to present balanced, unbiased perspectives on global development issues. They voice their perspectives through the language, codes and conventions of a visual medium.


Beyond Media Messages: Media Portrayal of Global Development was produced with support from:

  • Canadian International Development Agency
  • Canadian Teachers' Federation
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Regina School Division No. 4
  • Historica and Canadian Encyclopedia