Teacher Training Curricula
For Media and Information Literacy
Report of the International Expert Group Meeting
UNESCO House, Paris, 16-18 June 2008
Drafted by Penny Moore
Table of Content 2
Opening remarks 3
Expert Group Participants 4
Meeting objectives 4
Provisional Agenda 4
Building knowledge societies: Media and information literacy as the sine qua non of teacher training 5
What difference will MIL make to a teacher’s life? Will it help teachers engage with students? 9
Does MIL need to be included in teacher training? 10
Purposes of a Media and Information Literacy Curriculum 10
Introduction of MIL into teacher training curricula 11
Definition of relevant subject areas, syllabi and curriculum enrichment material for teacher training 11
A curriculum framework rather than a model 12
Media and information literacy model syllabi 13
Media and information literacy competencies required by trainee teachers 14
Learning outcomes for trainee teachers 16
Enriching teacher training curricula with MIL components 17
Appropriate processes for development, trial and introduction of curriculum enrichment materials to educators worldwide 17
Developing a working plan: Defining the scope of the initiative 21
A tentative working plan 24
Developing working methods 24
Annex I - List of Participants 28
Annex II - Project Outline 34
Annex III - Provisional Agenda 37
Annex IV - Key Concepts of Media Literacy 39
Annex V - Publications and Resources for the meeting 41
Annex VI - Further reading and web-links a sample of those identified during the meeting 44
Annex VII - UNESCO initiatives - synergies with teacher training curriculum development in media and information literacy. 45
In 2007 UNESCO’s General Conference at its 34th session invited the Director-General to explore new initiatives to further support media and information literacy with the overall objective to allow users to make informed judgments on information sources and broaden civic participation in the media. In particular, UNESCO sought to provide media and information users and consumers with tools leading to a greater understanding of the role of media and information channels in the democratic process, as well as background knowledge of structures, sources, values and the reliability of information.
UNESCO’s previous work in the media and information literacy field has been comprehensive and covers a range of activities: publications, including the development of manuals and tool kits for a wide variety of users, trainings and development of indicators in this area. Given both the extensive interaction of young people with media and ICTs and UNESCO’s global mandate in education, the importance of a coherent and definitive global initiative in media and information literacy within educational institutions was considered of vital importance and an issue needing urgent attention. As a consequence, this meeting was proposed to catalyze processes to introduce media and information literacy in teacher training.
The International Expert Group meeting opened with introductory remarks from Mr. Wijayananda Jayaweera, Director of UNESCO’s Communication Development Division, and Ms. Miriam Nisbet, Director of UNESCO’s Information Society Division. The co-ordinating manager of the project, Chief of Section, Communication Development Division, Mr. Vladimir Gai, chaired the session.
After extending a welcome from Mr. Abdul Waheed Khan, the Assistant Director-General for Communication and Information, Mr. Jayaweera outlined the role of the Expert Group in providing UNESCO with specific advice. He noted that participating experts were invited in their own professional capacity, not as representatives of organizations, and that many requests had been received from individuals seeking to be part of the process.
Mr. Jayaweera noted UNESCO’s 26 year history in media and literacy advocacy, dating from the International Symposium on Media Education held in Grünwald, Germany. The Grünwald Declaration recognized that “Media education will be most effective when parents, teachers, media personnel and decision-makers all acknowledge that they have a role to play in developing greater critical awareness among listeners, viewers and readers”.
While recognizing that the task of the Expert Group would not be straight forward, Mr. Jayaweera said that UNESCO, through consultation with the Expert Group, aimed to create a flexible, universal model syllabus for use in teacher training institutions, offering various components of media and information literacy that can be selected and adapted to the needs and capacities of each country.
In closing the introductory session, Ms Miriam Nisbet endorsed Mr. Jayaweera’s remarks, thanked the Expert Group and indicated the support of her Division in achieving the goals and objectives of the meeting.
Expert Group Participants
The meeting, held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris from the 16 to 18 June 2008, brought together 18 key experts specializing in teacher training, curriculum development, media education and information literacy from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America, Latin America and the Arab States, as well as UNESCO Education Sector, International Bureau of Education (List of participants at Annex I).
The participants were selected on the basis of recommendations from three divisions of UNESCO: Communication Development and Information Society, with the addition of Teacher Education.
Throughout UNESCO’s activities previous to this meeting, it has become apparent that the concepts underlying media and information literacy are inextricably intertwined. Thus it is appropriate to consider the synergies between them and to develop a teacher training initiative that is to be trialled in eight countries. Therefore the overall objective for this meeting was to discuss and agree a common approach or platform for the initiative and to prepare preliminary recommendations as well as a work plan and timeframe. Roles were also to be assigned to members of the Expert Group for future work.
That work includes follow up research which is expected to be at least partially done through online exchanges, and the drafting of a document Teacher Training Curriculum Enrichment on Media and Information Literacy to be finalised at another meeting in spring 2009. (The complete project outline appears in Annex II.)
For this meeting, the International Expert Group was asked to advise UNESCO on introducing media and information literacy to teachers by:
(a) identifying core competencies that teachers would need
(b) defining the relevant subject areas, syllabi, and curriculum enrichment material necessary for teacher training
(c) advising on appropriate processes by which such material can be developed, tested and introduced.
The Provisional Agenda of the two and a half day meeting envisioned five distinctive sessions, each with its own Moderator and lead commentator (see Annex III).
As its core text, the meeting used a comprehensive background paper1 authored by Mr. José Manuel Perez Tornero, International Association of Media Education, Barcelona. Discussions were wide-ranging and open. The five sessions were as follows:
Building Knowledge Societies – Media and Information Literacy as a Sine Qua Non of Teacher Training.
The Introduction of Media and Information Literacy into Teacher Training Curricula
Media and Information Literacy Model Syllabi
Enriching Teacher Training Curricula with Media and Information Literacy Components
Expert Group Work Plan and Working Methods
As previously stated, the concepts underlying ‘media literacy’ and ‘information literacy’ are inextricably intertwined. Indeed, it may be that this initiative is the first through which the synergies existing between them are systematically considered. Thus it is not surprising that the content of the presentations and the discussions that followed became similarly intertwined as issues were identified and concepts evolved. Further, participants took advantage of the opportunity offered to establish three break-out groups to focus on:
frameworks, modules and methodologies,
different profiles for trialling the curriculum enrichment materials.
In addition, discussion often referred to or elaborated points made earlier. To capture the richness of this dynamic and responsive process, this document attempts to synthesise concepts, concerns and the beginnings of solutions emerging across all sessions.