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IJC Organised the First Media Education Training for High School Teachers

20 September 2019
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Starting with the 2019-2020 academic year, Moldovan high school students have the opportunity to develop their critical thinking skills during the ‘Media Education’ elective course. After the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research approved the high school curriculum in August 2019, the Independent Journalism Center organised on 13-15 September 2019 the first media literacy training for this educational stage. Twenty female teachers and one male teacher working in high schools in different regions of Moldova attended. Therefore, the ‘Media Education’ optional course currently covers all three stages of school education – primary, secondary and upper secondary or high school.
 
At the opening of the event, Anastasia Nani, IJC Deputy Director, emphasised that media literacy has become a priority for IJC. “In recent years, we have managed to introduce the ‘Media Education’ course at the primary and secondary school levels and, with the approval of the high school curriculum, we are able to promote it at high school level too. You are the first high school teachers benefiting from this training”, said Anastasia Nani.
 
Oxana Jutes, Internews in Moldova, appreciated the importance of consuming truthful information, specifying that the new course will help high school students to make important decisions in life. “Through its initiatives, Internews in Moldova promotes quality journalism and encourages people to develop their critical thinking. We welcome you to this interesting world. My request for you is to promote this course and to explain media education means not only to students, but also to parents and grandparents. Media education means not only to be informed properly, but also to feel protected in the virtual environment. It is important to know how our children browse the Internet, what do they read or who do they interact with. Our goal is to guide them to do this correctly, so that we, the parents,  know they are safe”, said Oxana Iutes.
 
The course trainers were Loretta Handrabura, PhD in Philology, and Natalia Griu, Chief Consultant at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Research, both authors of the ‘Media Education’ textbook for X/XI grades.
 
During the three day training, the teachers developed their competences to teach the new course on the basis of the ‘Media Education’ curriculum and textbook (X/XI grades), which is to be printed and made available for teachers and high school students as soon as possible. 
 
“In our information society, students are a part of the generation of digital natives. In these circumstances, the natural question arise: how prepared are we, the teachers, to keep up with them? Is our digital competence as good as theirs? Are we losing communication with them, at some point, because of imbalances, generated by the fact that we are stuck in the interpersonal communication environment? Today’s students are digital natives, and that means they spend a lot of time in the online environment, which we unfortunately do not know so well. By not knowing it, we don’t understand it, respectively, we aren’t aware of its advantages and disadvantages”, warned Loretta Handrabura.
 
Therefore, during the training, the participants have studied mainly online safety related topics, practicing various techniques that would help students to behave properly in the virtual space in order to avoid dangers.
 
Together with Natalia Griu, the teachers analysed the components of an unbiased news, established how to find doctored photos, found out what fact-checking is and practiced new social media formats – live and gifs. “Give up the traditional papers while assessing students’ knowledge. With the help of the new formats, you will turn the assessment process into an extremely exciting and interesting one for the digital natives”, recommended Natalia Griu.    
 
Media researcher Aneta Gonta, who provided expertise during the development of the ‘Media Education’ textbook for the high school level, talked to the teachers about the pluralism of ideas in a democratic society. “The primary role of the media is to present as many opinions as possible, impartially informing citizens about the events taking place in the society. Only in this way media gives citizens the opportunity to create their own perspective about the world which they live in”, stressed Aneta Gonta.
 
The training helped the teachers to convince themselves of the need for media literacy in schools. The first teachers already announced their willingness to teach this course in the high school, starting with the 2019-2020 academic year.
 
“Media Education is an extremely useful course that helps both us and students to understand the media message correctly, to develop our critical thinking skills and to manage the dangers of the virtual space. I decided to teach the course starting with this year and I organised the first hour with the high school students on the basis of the ‘Media Education’ textbook for the secondary school level. During the training, we developed new teaching skills and we are better prepared to relay the new knowledge to the students. We are looking forward to the high school textbooks”, said Aliona Baidan, chemistry teacher at ‘Ion Pelivan’ Theoretical High School in Razeni, Ialoveni district.
 
According to Diana Mamaliga, Romanian language teacher at the Modern Languages and Management High School, “in these rushed times, the media space confirms its role and influence, sometimes positive and well-trained, sometimes negative and aggressive, especially when it comes to the development of consciousness”.
 
“In this context, a clear strategy that will support and guide students of different ages in this space that is not always safe and risk-free, is paramount. The media education training program builds on common parameters: problem – consequence risks – mechanisms of avoidance, protection – conscious consumer. Thus, the course has real chances of becoming a highly successful one”, said Diana Mamaliga.
 
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) will held the next training program on media education for high school teachers during 27-29 September 2019. Read more at: https://bit.ly/2kjrm8u  
 
The Independent Journalism Center has trained 124 primary school teachers and 101 secondary school teachers so far. ‘Media Education’ elective course has been taught in schools in the Republic of Moldova starting with 2017. In the 2018-2019 academic year more than 1500 primary and secondary school pupils from over 40 schools took this course either as their elective or master classes.
 
The training was organised by the Independent Journalism Center, as part of the ‘Media Enabling Democracy, Inclusion and Accountability in Moldova (MEDIA-M)’ project, funded by USAID and UK Aid, and implemented by Internews in Moldova.