What Will Illinois Students Learn in Media Literacy Classes?



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

Why is this important: Media literacy can help young people to critically examine the information they consume. Chicago suburbs researchers found that teaching information literacy in other classes prompted some students to side-read – or consult another source – which helped them identify misinformation.

  • In addition, a well-informed electorate is essential for a healthy democracy.

The basics: By law, the media education unit must help students analyze things like:

  • The purpose of media messages and how they are made.
  • How the media influences behavior and what views are included.
  • The importance of digesting several media sources.

What they say :Fearing that classes would be run with a bias against the conservative media, Representative Adam Niemerg called the law “anti-Trump, anti-conservative” and an attempt by the left “to enter our school systems at a young age “by Illinois Radio Network.

The other side: Supporters of the law tell Axios it’s not about politics, but about giving students tools to develop their own BS ​​detectors.

  • “I would use the analogy of financial literacy classes,” says lawyer Maaria Mozaffar, who helped draft the legislation.

Details: The lesson will be structured in the form of discussions, according to Columbia College professor Yonty Friesem, who co-wrote the teaching framework.

  • “We don’t want to dictate how this is going to be taught,” he told Axios. “Instead, we want to show the value of asking questions and thinking about the impact the media has on us.”
  • “It is not a question of making the teacher the wise on stage, but to facilitate discussions where people may have different opinions … civil debate and deliberation. ”

And after: Educators and state officials will set the teaching framework in the coming months and invite any educator in Illinois to make their contribution by emailing Friesem at [email protected]

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