7 January 2007
“Media Education: A Kit for Teachers, Students, Parents and Professionals” has been published in English and French by UNESCO. The kit is partly a product of the MENTOR project initiated by UNESCO and supported by the European Commission.What should Media education be like? Who should provide it? How should it be included in a curriculum? Beyond schools, do families have a say in the matter? Can professionals be involved and how? What strategies can the public adopt to deal with the benefits and the limitations of media?
These are some of the questions addressed by the kit. It proposes a prototype of media education curriculum for the basic qualification of secondary school teachers, but it also extends its modular approach and key concepts (production, language, representation, public) to adults outside the school system, be they parent, media professional or decision-maker. In addition to a teachers’ manual and accompanying students’ handbook, the kit also contains a manual for parents as well as a handbook on ethical relations with professionals and one on internet literacy.
To extend the pedagogical process of questioning, a 'Frequently Asked Questions' section has been added as well as a glossary of media education terms. The responses provided are meant to introduce the debate and promote dialogue rather than being considered definitive answers. They are not recipes but suggestions for further explorations, both on- and off-line, with many references to documents, materials and websites offered in the final reference section.
Whatever the mode of entry and the viewpoint adopted, the kit takes into account the necessary skills needed to decipher the various types of messages as well as the various stakes relating to citizenship and sustainability, beyond school and family. What matters most is establishing connections between the different actors involved in the process of socializing children and young people. In a development perspective, solid and durable foundations for a large and systematic media education are fundamental to the current needs of shared knowledge societies and cultural diversity.