Media Education in British Columbia
This section comprises a curricular overview, as well as information about professional development for media education, and British Columbia's provincial media education association, the British Columbia Association for Media Education (BCAME), in the sidebar.
The left menu contains curriculum charts for Grades K-12 that feature media education outcomes for BC English Language Arts, Social Studies, Information Technology and Health and Career Education curricula, with links to supporting MediaSmarts resources and lessons.
Last updated August 2023
British Columbia is a member of the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol for Collaboration in Education (WNCP), which also comprises of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories.
The curriculum framework for English Language Arts and Social Studies contains a strong media education component.
British Columbia's English Language Arts curriculum and accompanying Integrated Resource Packages (IRPs) were completed in 2006. The aim of the curriculum is "to provide students with opportunities for personal and intellectual growth through speaking, listening, reading, viewing, writing, and representing to make meaning of the world and to prepare them to participate effectively in all aspects of society." To this end, media education outcomes have been included throughout the curriculum within the curriculum organizers Reading and Viewing and Writing and Representing.
The Social Studies curriculum recognizes that “much of the information that the public receives about issues and events is received through media messages – in newspapers and magazines, on television and radio, and on the Internet”. Analysis of media messages is identified as a valuable component in the curriculum as it “allows students to think critically and independently about issues that affect them.” The Social Studies curriculum and accompanying IRPs were completed in 2006 and is scheduled for full implementation in 2008.
In British Columbia, media education is also cross-curricular, integrated into all IRPs for Grades K-12, especially in subjects such as Visual Arts, Health Career Education, Drama and Information Technology.
A Cross-Curricular Planning Guide for Media Education
In 1994, the British Columbia Association for Media Education was contracted by the Ministry of Education and Training to produce a framework to inform the development of the Grades K-12 IRPs, with regard to media education content.
The following summary from "A Cross-Curricular Planning Guide for Media Education," which is derived from the BCAME framework, details how media education has been integrated into the BC curriculum.
Media education is a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to the study of media. Media education deals with key media concepts and focuses on broad issues such as the history and role of media in different societies and the social, political, economic, and cultural issues related to the media. Instead of addressing the concepts in depth, as one would in media studies, media education deals with most of the central media concepts as they relate to a variety of subjects.
Value of Integrating Media Education
Popular music, television, film, radio, magazines, computer games, and information services--all supplying media messages--are pervasive in the lives of students today. Media education develops students' ability to think critically and independently about issues that affect them. Media education encourages students to identify and examine the values contained in media messages. It also cultivates the understanding that these messages are produced by others to inform, persuade and entertain for a variety of purposes. Media education helps students understand the distortions that may result from the use of particular media practices and techniques.
All curriculum areas provide learning opportunities for media education. It is not taught as a separate curriculum.
The key themes of media education are:
- media products (purpose, values, representation, codes, conventions, characteristics, production)
- audience interpretation and influence (interpretation, influence of media on audience, influence of audience on media)
- media and society (control, scope)
Examples of curriculum integration include:
- English Language Arts - critiquing advertising and examining points of view
- Visual Arts - analyzing the appeal of an image by age, gender, status and other characteristics of the target audience
- Personal Planning - examining the influence of the media on body concepts and healthy lifestyle choices
- Drama - critically viewing professional and amateur theatre productions, dramatic films and television programs to identify purpose
- Social Studies - comparing the depiction of First Nations in the media over time
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