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Media Education in High Demand in Schools. Lower Secondary Education Teachers Claim that Pupils and Parents are Increasingly Interested in This Course

27 June 2019
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On 18 June 2019 a group of 20 teachers teaching and trained in Media Education participated in a follow-up activity, organised by the Independent Journalism Center (IJC) under the Strengthening Freedom of Opinion in the Republic of Moldova Project.

The participants talked about the tools used in the educational process during the Media Education classes and about their impact on educating the younger generation. Teachers concluded that the optional course of Media Education for the 7th and 8th grades helps develop their critical thinking, making media consumers informed and responsible. The activity was attended by the author of the curriculum and textbook, Loretta Handrabura, and Deputy Director of Internews in Moldova, Oxana Iutes.

Svetlana Bors, teacher of Romanian language and literature at ‘Mihai Stratulat’ Theoretical High School in Boscana village, Criuleni district, underlined that although Media Education was a new course, it generated great interest among pupils and parents, especially since October 2018, when manuals were brought to schools.

“After parents saw the book, they became interested in this elective course. Thus, we found that parents also need media education. Accordingly, we held a series of meetings with parents, where we discussed current topics of media education. The high school administration welcomed this idea, all the opportunities were used to the full. The most important thing is that we managed to make parents our allies”, the teacher claims. In her opinion, Media Education is not only a school subject, but also a way to design a more interesting life, to learn how to select the essence and truth from the information turmoil.

Another follow-up participant, Lacramioara Caisin, teacher of Romanian language and literature at Magdacesti Theoretical High School, Criuleni district stated that Media Education was useful for the development of younger generation’s critical thinking.

“Attending this course, pupils are guided to independently discern between truth and untruth, between information and misinformation from media sources. For today’s pupils – digital natives, technology is the preferred environment for information, networking, fun, and so on. Therefore, the need to know all opportunities and risks of information technologies became imperative. Teachers, regardless of when they studied, must overcome their technophobia, accompany pupils in online environment and guide them correctly”, Lacramioara Caisin says.

Tatiana Catanoi, teacher of Romanian language and literature at Ursoaia village secondary school, Causeni district, has taught Media Education since 1 September 2018. Moreover, she organised training for her 22 colleagues from the secondary school, they implemented certain modules of ‘Media Education’ subject and other subjects, but also during some extracurricular activities. “During master and personal development classes I focused on a number of topics, including those related to trolling, bullying, online safety and netiquette. After these lessons, young people became more attentive to online posts, discussions and information published in the virtual space. They found out what are the first steps to differentiate between a fake and an accurate news and how to protect themselves from possible online dangers”, the teacher said.

According to Tatiana Catanoi, media literacy lessons had an impact thanks to the informational support provided by IJC – the Media Education Platform, where a range of relevant videos, tutorials, textbooks, quizzes and games can be found.

Ina Grejdeanu, IJC Deputy Director for Strategic Development, moderated the discussions during the event. She mentioned that more and more teachers and parents would like to have Media Education subject brought in their schools.

“It is gratifying that IJC trainings for lower secondary education teachers, focused on media education, determined them to choose this subject and bring it to their schools, providing many pupils opportunities to discover what media education is and most importantly, why would they need such education. Today we had the opportunity to learn first-hand how this experience was for them, how pupils were taught this course and what parents thought about media education. The impressions we heard once again convince us that media education is in high demand. Since 2014, IJC has been promoting this concept through various projects, and two years ago it also brought the subject to schools”, Ina Grejdeanu said.  

At the event, Deputy Director of Internews in Moldova, Oxana Iutes also urged teachers present at the follow-up to “not hesitate to teach media education in school, to engage parents and grandparents”. ​

For those present, the follow-up activity also meant an exchange of experience. Participants revealed their own techniques of teaching the optional course of Media Education during the 2018-2019 academic year, highlighting the most successful teaching methods and tools they used. This will be very helpful in the new academic year.

The activity took place under the Strengthening Freedom of Opinion in the Republic of Moldova Project, supported by the Deutsche Welle Akademie and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany.