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Prof. Dr. Alexander Fedorov

Media Education: Opinion from Russia*

Short CV

Prof. Dr. Alexander Fedorov completed his Ph.D. thesis at Russian Academy of Education (Moscow) on the topic of media education (1993). He is currently the president of Russian Association for Film & Media Education and expert of IPOS UNESCO ‘Information for All’ (Russia) and pro-rector of Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute. He is also a member of Russian Academy of Film Arts & Science, Russian Union of Filmmakers, CIFEJ & FIPRECI.

Prof. Alexander Fedorov is the author of 10 books about media education & literacy and more than 300 articles (in Russian, American, Canadian, French, German & Norwegian media & education journals). Since 1997 he has received scientific research grants on media culture and media education topics from President of Russian Federation, Russian Foundation for Humanities, Russian Ministry of Education, Kennan Institute (USA), IREX (USA), MacArthure Foundation (USA), Open Society Institute (Soros Foundation, USA), DAAD (Germany), and others. He was guest professor and research fellow in Norway Association for Media Education, Oslo (1995), Central European University (Budapest, 1998, 2006), Kassel University (2000), Maison des sciences des homme, Paris (2002), Kennan Institute, Washington D.C. (2003), Humboldt University, Berlin (2005).

*this text created with support of the grant of the analytical departmental special-purpose program Development of the Academic potential of Higher Education (2006-2008) of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. Project RNP 21.3.491- The Development of Critical Thinking and Media Literacy of Students in a Pedagogical Institute in the Framework of the Specialization Media Education (03.13.30). The research supervisor of the project is Dr.Prof. Alexander Fedorov.

1. Introduction. Just like the education on the whole, media education in Russia resided under harsh ideological pressure for many years. Access to media information (press, television, films, etc.) was denied by censorship. However media education in Russia has existed for about 80 years.

Media education can be distinctly divided into 4 main directions:

- media education of future media professionals;

- media education of future media educators or school & university teachers (through special courses at universities, vocational training, web-sites, etc.);

- media education as a part of traditional education of pupils and students in primary schools, high schools, colleges, universities (through educational curricula), etc.;

– media education of all people categories in the culture centers, entertainment centers, clubs and others ‘additional’ institutions, including distance media education (for example with TV, DVD/CDROMs and Internet);

Media education in Russia is not compulsory for all schools & universities (except for some secondary schools on an experimental basis and media orientated universities and faculties). Media education can be integrated into informatics (Internet & computer application lessons), aesthetic (literature, art, music, artistic culture, aesthetics), linguistic (Russian and foreign languages), historical & philosophical (history, philosophy, law) and some other courses. Another variant: optional media education courses.

Russia has not got the compulsory General Curriculum in the field of media education. Some Russian teachers consider the basis of media training to be practical, hands-on studies of media materials, some teachers prefer theory to practice; some focus on the aesthetic value of media text.

The Status of Media Education is not strong in modern Russia. General National Curriculum for Media Education does not exist yet. As media education is not an obligatory separate course, pupils do not take final examinations in it. School inspectors basically seldom talk with Russian teachers about media teaching (because for the most part they do not know what media education is about). But some school principals encourage the application of media education.

Media education is a cross-curricular subject integrated in traditional subject (Languages, History, Arts, etc.). But media education is also an independent option for specific lessons in some Russian schools & universities. Russian teachers prefer audiovisual media to print media, but only less part of Russian teachers can use the Internet. Many Russian secondary schools have a special computer>

Many Russian teachers think that media literacy is a traditional education with the help of technical media resources. Media language is seldom a subject of school lessons. Russian teachers comment on the difference between traditional teaching and media teaching in this way: Media teaching is effective for the development of personality (20%); Media teaching is an effective means of communication & information (10%); Media teaching is a more effective means of education (20%); Media teaching is a more informative means of education (30%); Media teaching is effective for development of aesthetic perception (10%). Russian teachers see the long-term media education aims for their pupils in the development of pupils’ personality, critical & aesthetical point of view (I want to develop pupils’ critical thinking, The pupil must distinguish between the true & false information, The pupil must learn to use Internet , I want to develop pupils’ personality, including aesthetic aspects, I want my pupils to become more media literate).

Many Russian educational web-sites & CD-ROMs were created since the begin of 90s. But educational CD-ROMs don’t have a real big official market because of the abundance of media pirates. The number of Russian educational web-sites is very impressive now (about 1,000).

These are the sites for all kinds of problems of education & researches, special web-sites about distance education, the methodical web-sites for Russian teachers of different disciplines, the internet magazines & journals about media education:

Russian Association for Film & Media Education:






Media Education on the UNESCO Bureau in Moscow website:


The UNESCO Institute for IT in Education, Moscow


ICT Technologies in Education


Media Education Laboratory of Russian Academy of Education (Moscow).


Media Library of School Sector


Media Center (Internet Journal)


Media Review (Internet Journal of Media Criticism & Media Education)


Federation for Internet Education (Russia)



Research Group School Media Library (Moscow).


YNPRESS Agency (Agency of Young People, Children & Press, Moscow).


Media Education Journal


Media Library Journal


Information and Education Journal


Journalism and Media Market Journal


Of course, Russian teachers can use all these web-sites and journals for educational purposes.

2.Something about Russian Media Education Associations

The history of Russian Association for Film & Media Education goes back to the Russian Association for Film Education. The first attempts to instruct in media education appeared in the 1920’s but were stopped by Stalin’s repressions in 1934. And a new history of Russian Association for Film Education began in the 1960s. The end of the 1950s - the beginning of the 1960s was the time of the revival of media education in primary & secondary schools, universities, children centers (Moscow, Petersburg, Voronezh, Samara, Kurgan, Tver, Rostov, Taganrog, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, etc.), the revival of media education seminars & conferences.

The first Russian Council for Film Education in Schools & Universities was created as the section of the Russian Union of Filmmakers (Moscow) in 1967. This Council was transformed into Russian Association for Film & Media Education in 1988. The number of members of Russian Association for Film & Media Education is about 300: primary & secondary level schoolteachers, high school, university, college, lyceum teachers & professors, leaders of film-clubs, etc. Russian Association for Film & Media Education includes also members of the Laboratories of Screen Arts and Media Education (Russian Academy of Education, Moscow).

Russian Association for Film & Media Education has not got the financial support of the State. But this Association initiated the number of successful projects (International media education conferences in Tashkent (1990), Moscow (1992) and Taganrog (2001), Russian-British Media Education seminar (1992, 1995), the special courses for media teachers, Internet web-sites, etc.

The basic directions of Association are:

- Media Literacy Practice in School & Universities;

- Media Education Projects & Presentations;

- Media Education School & University Programs,

- Teacher Training Programs; Media Education Conference & Seminars;

- Media Education Publications;

- Media Education Researches;

- Media Education Webs,

- Media Education Festivals, etc.

The webs of Russian Association for Film & Media Education are: www.edu.of.ru/mediaeducation www.medialiteracy.boom.ru

3. Teacher education and training (pre-service and in-service)

Pre-service teachers’ media education has existed in Russia (Pedagogical Universities in Kurgan, Tver, Voronezh, Rostov, etc.) since the 1960’s. For example, a course in media education has been offered in the Taganrog State Pedagogical Institute since 1981 (and since 2002 as official Media Education specialization – 03.13.30). Its students are trained to teach media education>

4. Some theoretical conceptions

I can generalize Russian models of media education into the following types:

1) educationally-informational models (the studies of the theory and history of media & media language);

2) ethical and philosophy models (study of moral, philosophical problems on the media material);

3) developing models (social & cultural development of a creative person in aspects of perception, critical thinking, analysis, imagination, visual memory, interpretations, etc.);

4) practical models (Internet & computer training, media practical use training, etc.) (Penzin, 1987; Sharikov, 1990; Usov, 1993, Spitchkin, 1999; Zaznobina, 1999; Fedorov, 2001; 2005).

I can distinguish also some of the Russian media education principles:

- development of the personality (the development of media perception, aesthetic consciousness, of creative capabilities, of individual critical thinking, analysis, etc.) in the process of study;

- the connection of theory with practice; transition from training to self-education; connection of training with life;

- consideration of individual peculiarities of students.

The main functions of media education are the following: tutorial, adaptational, developing and controlling.

The tutorial function presupposes the understanding of the theories and laws, the adequate perception and critical analysis of a media work, capability to apply this knowledge in other situations, logical capability.

Adaptational function manifests in initial stage of communication with media.

The developing function implies the development of creative, analytical and other capacities of personality.

Task controlling functions - the providing conditions for the analysis of media works (Penzin, 1987; Sharikov, 1990; Spitchkin, 1999; Usov, 1993, Fedorov, 2001, 2005, etc.).

Here are the main stages of my Media Education Model (Fedorov, 2001; 2005):

1) Verification module (the determination of the levels of students' media development and level of media perception);

2) Module of practical creation & perception (mastering creative abilities on the media material and the formation of the media perception of the structure of media texts (including Internet sites);

3) Module of analysis (the development of abilities of critical analysis in the sphere of media);

4) Module of media history (acquaintance with main events in the media culture history, with the contemporary social & cultural situation);

This model includes the cycle of creative practical exercises in the field of media:

1)writing of verbal texts (plans, scenarios, articles, including texts for Internet sites);

2) practical creation of audiovisual media texts (including Internet pictures and photos);

3) post-production works (Fedorov, 2001; 2005).

Classification of Levels of Media Literacy/Media competence

(by Prof. Dr. Alexander Fedorov)

Table 1. Media Literacy/Competence Levels>

Media Literacy/Competence Indicators:

Description of Media Literacy/Competence Indicators



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