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Concord’s media literacy course is a lesson in questioning assumptions

Concord High School’s media literacy class students have one complaint: they can’t watch a movie or television show without analyzing it. That’s the goal, according to the school’s English department–to teach students to question the media they engage with and become more informed media consumers, according to the Concord Monitor

When researchers began studying the impact of media literacy classes on students, they chose Concord High’s class. Researchers found that Concord students were better at critically analyzing news and other media compared to their peers. In fact, about 58 percent of young adults in a survey were unable to judge whether a news story was real or fake, according to a study by UC-Berkeley.

Media literacy is as important now as ever:

“You have to remember, they’re not adults yet,” said Kaileen Chilauskas, head of the high school’s English department. “With the election . . . they were so overwhelmed by the level of inaccuracy. They’re not sure who to trust, who’s going to tell them the right information?”

Students go through core concepts, considering who created a message, why is the message being sent, what information might be omitted from a message and how other might people perceive the message differently.

These concepts are repeated throughout the year. A common complaint among students taking the course is that they can’t watch TV or a movie without critically analyzing it. Their teachers say that’s a good sign they’re making the connections.

“It’s really cool to watch, even this early in the year,” said English teacher Cheryl Vaught.

It’s not just about media:

University of Rhode Island professor and media researcher Renee Hobbs said the goal of a good media literacy course is to get students to question the world around them – even if that means also questioning their own beliefs.

“Really, truly, that’s the foundation of a liberal arts education is to question your own assumptions,” Hobbs said.

Read the full article here.

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