English Language Arts 10-12 Overview

In 2016, British Columbia rolled out a redesigned English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum, one that is centered on teaching that “questioning what we hear, read, and view contributes to our ability to be educated and engaged citizens.” Designed around the six language arts elements (reading, listening, viewing, writing, speaking, and representing), the ELA curriculum places a heavy focus on digital media literacy, with a particular emphasis on critical literacy:

Critical literacy is a lens through which all text is viewed as being constructed for a purpose. Students should be taught to question text, challenge authorial authority, investigate an author’s beliefs, and detect bias in relation to others’ texts, as well as their own. Critical literacy also allows students to determine viewpoints that may be missing and to examine a variety of other perspectives.[i]

In order to engage in active citizenship, and to avoid manipulation by others, it is crucial that students be able to assess and analyze text. Teaching students to read critically is especially important in an era in which they are exposed to an almost continuous stream of media and information.”

Thus, many curricular expectations in B.C. English Language Arts courses relate to media and digital literacy. Media and digital literacy skills and concepts can be found in  many of the Big Ideas, Curricular Competencies and specific course content.

Media education in the English Language Arts curriculum

The English Language Arts 10 to 12 curriculum “is designed to empower students by providing them with strong communication skills, an understanding and appreciation of language and literature, and the capacity to engage fully as literate and responsible citizens in a digital age.” Thus, it provides opportunities for students to learn to use and appreciate language through a variety of communication forms in a variety of contexts, including mass media. Considering Big Ideas like “People understand text differently depending on their worldviews and perspectives” and “Texts are socially, culturally, geographically, and historically constructed,” and curricular competencies that focus on how “the exploration of text and story deepens our understanding of diverse, complex ideas about identity, others, and the world” through the lens of mass media connect these courses to digital media literacy.

The redesigned curriculum offers choice in ELA 10 to 12, with each course touching on aspects of digital media literacy in its own way. Select a grade level under English Language Arts 10-12 for a list of digital literacy-related outcomes and links to supporting resources from the MediaSmarts site. (Note: as many of our lessons can be adapted to suit different grade levels, specific lessons may be listed for more than one grade. Teachers should also note that individual lessons often satisfy a number of learning outcomes.)

[i] Booth, D. (2011). Caught in the middle: Reading and writing in the transition years. Pembroke Publishers Limited.