Media Literacy Required In Illinois High Schools | news
House Bill 234, approved by Governor JB Pritzker on July 9, requires all public high schools in Illinois to add media literacy to their curriculum during the 2022-2023 school year.
With this bill, Illinois will be the first state to require media literacy in public high schools.
Musonda Kapatamoyo, chairman of the mass communications department, said he believed the law would help the students a lot.
“I think it will help you [to] fundamentally understand what is going on in the media landscape. So right now there is a lot of confusion about the sources of information and a lot of confusion about how to interpret information, ”said Kapatamoyo. “Some training in media literacy basically helps everyone – students and society at large – to see what is a true story and what is not.”
For his department, Kapatamoyo believes the bill will have a positive impact on mass communication students and how classes will be taught in the future.
“I hope that in the future, in a few years’ time, the students who come here will have the opportunity to gain access to the media they want and to analyze them critically and also to communicate information that they want to communicate in a way that people understand and that is actually real information, ”said Kapatamoyo.
Kapatamoyo said he will try to work with local high schools like Edwardsville High School to prepare teachers for courses in media literacy.
“What we have done in this department is that we have created a certification program in media literacy. This certificate program includes nine credit hours, which means that it is three courses. A high school teacher takes this [for that] Certificate and when they graduate with it, they can teach the students media literacy much better because our certificate program is up to date, ”said Kapatamoyo.
Political science professor Laurie Rice said she believed media literacy is especially important at a young age to help people find reliable sources of information.
“Media literacy is an important skill, and despite the digital expertise of most college students, media literacy doesn’t come with it. I regularly have students who say they are not sure which news sources to trust or where to find good information.
Mass communications professor Gary Hicks said he welcomed the inclusion of media literacy in high schools but saw some limitations in implementation.
“I think media literacy is extremely important. Of course we talk about it at the university level … But it affects me on several levels. I think high school is just too late. We live in a society where children are commodities from a very young age and they are taught by companies – through the media – how to behave in a society and are not taught critical or analytical skills, ”said Hicks.
Rice said she believes the recent problems in finding reliable news sources have created the polarization America faces today.
“I think it has become clear in recent years that American media choices are helping to fuel polarization, and we have reached a point where at least extreme partisans have difficulty agreeing on a common set of facts . We see that in the news about the 2020 elections [and] We see this happening with COVID-19, masks and vaccines right now, ”Rice said. “People’s information decisions have an impact on what they believe to be true and how they see the world.”