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Media Literacy

What will Illinois students learn in media literacy courses?

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That summer, Illinois became the first state to require a media literacy unit for all high school students.

Why it matters: Media literacy can help young people to critically question the information they have consumed. Researchers in suburban Chicago found that teaching news literacy on other courses caused some students to read sideways – or consult another source – which helped them identify misinformation.

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The basics: According to the law, the media literacy section should help students analyze things like:

  • The purpose of media messages and how they are created.

  • How media influence behavior and which perspectives are included.

  • The importance of processing multiple media sources.

What you say:Fearing that classes would be taught with a bias against conservative media, MP Adam Niemerg called the bill “anti-Trump, anti-conservative” and an attempt by the left to “invade our school systems at a young age” over the Illinois radio network .

The other side: Proponents of the law tell Axios that this is not about politics, but rather providing tools for students to develop their own BS ​​detectors.

  • “I would use the analogy with financial education courses,” says lawyer Maaria Mozaffar, who helped draft the law.

Details: The lesson will be designed as discussions, according to Yonty Friesem, professor at Columbia College who is taking down the teaching framework.

  • “We don’t want to dictate how it’s taught,” he tells Axios. “Instead, we want to show how valuable it is to ask questions and think about how the media affects us.”

  • “This is not about making the teacher wise on stage, but about facilitating discussions in which people can have different opinions … civil debate and reflection.”

What’s next: Educators and state officials will be developing the teaching framework in the coming months and invite every Illinois educator to contribute by emailing Friesem at YFriesem@colum.edu

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