Media literacy

Q&A: Speaker discusses LAUSD’s new media literacy requirement

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In March, the Los Angeles Unified School District School Board unanimously passed a resolution calling for critical media literacy learning from elementary to high school. The decision, led by LAUSD Board member Jackie Goldberg and supported by UCLA Teacher Education Program speaker Jeff Share, signals recognition in education of the need to teach students from an early age the basics of critical thinking to navigate the vortex of media, fake news and disinformation.

Goldberg and Share had a recent conversation with Ampersand about LAUSD’s goals of integrating critical media education into common core learning, their own experiences with media, and how critical thinking skills around media will prepare them. generations to come as informed participants of democracy.

How are young people today able to analyze the news and the media when they are bombarded with information 24/7? Do you think that families today have the capacity to discuss this with their children?

Goldberg: I think some kids, when they’ve developed critical thinking skills in English or history lessons, are probably doing well. But there are a lot of kids who in my opinion have no idea who could benefit from [online information], what could be the motivation for having written it, how [they] could verify the facts. A lot of students as early as elementary school see things on YouTube, believe things on TikTok to be true – they just believe it’s true because it is the.

There are all kinds of questions that I would like to see young people [address] with media that I don’t think most of them do. And I’m sure their parents weren’t either, because they hadn’t had a more critical media education than I did, and I had none, except those things that taught me to think. critically, not with the media, but in general.

Parents, even if they watched the media with their kids – which most of them don’t have time to do – wouldn’t do better than their kids, except … parents are pretty clear about people who are trying to sell something.

I think they’re going to need a lot of help figuring out that people are putting things right [online] to sell stuff, to make money, to convince you that the top is the bottom and the inside is out … [messages] who are racist, who are homophobic. I am not saying that everything is wrong. But a lot of it is motivated by more than “I just wanted to share factual information that I discovered”.

To share: It’s so hard to know what to believe these days because there are so many people creating information, disseminating it, and it takes work to be able to sort the weeds and understand what is coming from a credible source. , what are the biases and what is based on data or scientific facts. … It is not an easy process. It has never been easy, but today, with so much technology and information constantly reaching us, it certainly takes a lot more work.

Goldberg: Now we have at our board meetings, under public comment, people telling us vaccinations are dangerous, don’t wear masks, they wear the virus on your face and make sure you fall. sick. And they call and they say this to the world watching us [livestream]. It’s horrible.

To share: You have other people supporting this. You have right-wing think tanks, like the Heartland Institute, that promote quasi-science to disseminate blatantly false or subtly misleading information. It confuses people. And when people are misled into doubting the evidence, the facts, and the science, they don’t know what to believe and then they’re like, “If I’m not sure, I won’t do anything.” Unfortunately, some people think, ‘We shouldn’t be doing anything about climate change because we’re not sure’, when in reality we have known for many years that human-made CO2 emissions heat the atmosphere and create a climate crisis. The ability of a few people and organizations to disseminate disinformation that confuses the public, solely for their own economic benefit, is extremely dangerous.

Are you going to participate in the development of the program for that?

Goldberg: I hope Jeff will be. I put it in relation with the [LAUSD] director of instruction [Alison Yoshimoto-Towery]. We are going to start very slowly because, first of all, everyone is “all on the bridge” for the reopening of the schools. I told her when I passed [the resolution] that I wasn’t expecting much at the moment. What I had hoped would happen, and she agreed to do so, was that we would get some feedback from some of our elders from the students, before they left us, on what they think we were doing. ‘they got and what they needed and should have got.

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